Power to the people, says head of new Gauteng radio station

2011-12-17 10:22

Commercial radio stations Kaya FM and Radio 702 will finally get a run for their money after a black consortium this week won a ­licence to run a private radio station in Gauteng.

The new Gauteng-based Power 98.9 FM is expected to go live on air next August and is owned by MSG Afrika Investment Holdings – which beat 13 companies, including industry heavyweights Primedia and Kagiso Media – to clinch the broadcasting rights.

MSG Afrika already runs Limpopo’s commercial radio station Capricorn FM.

MSG chief executive Given Mkhari, the chairperson of both stations, said Power FM will concentrate on Kaya FM and Radio 702’s upmarket black listeners to try and attract lucrative advertising revenue.

Mkhari, whose partners include accountants Andile Khumalo and Simphiwe Mdlalose, said Power FM will zoom in on talkshow audiences with at least a living standard measure of six.

“We believe there is a particular audience profile to whom we will deliver consistent talk radio programmes.

The station will be relevant to our listeners’ experiences, informed by our history and inspired by a South Africa we all hope for,” said Mkhari, after MSG was awarded the broadcasting rights by the Independent Communications Authority SA on Thursday.

“Power FM will aim to celebrate many success stories of black ­people while simultaneously challenging areas where black people have not made it.”

“We will cover politics, social issues, education, health, business, sport and a bit of music. The ­station will reflect the complete ­experience of black people living in major cities in Gauteng,” he said.

MSG Afrika is willing to break the bank to win listeners.

“We anticipate investing R70 million in the launch of Power FM as Gauteng is an extremely competitive market.

“In addition, talk radio is expensive to run as we will be required to employ expensive, talented people,” said Mkhari.

He said MSG anticipates Power FM breaking even in its third year of existence but admitted that launching the station will not be child’s play.

“We recognise that we will be competing with established brands and it is not going to be an easy task,” he said.

“But we believe we have a competitive product in the making that will be compelling for listeners.”
MSG Afrika’s Capricorn FM boasts 1.5 million listeners daily.

“This amount of listenership makes Capricorn FM the fourth largest commercial radio station in SA,” said Mkhari.

“MSG Afrika invested R15 million inthe launch of Capricorn FM and the radio station broke even within 14 months,” he said.

Capricorn FM is aimed at youth, but Power FM will be a different ball game for MSG because the station will target upmarket adult listeners who care more about current affairs than being entertained with music.

Mkhari will draw on his experience as a widely respected talkshow host on Metro FM to assist Power FM become a powerful force in the industry.

“We believe that advertisers are after a quality audience and we will deliver that to our advertisers,” Mkhari said.

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