The shackles of radio thrown off a Cliff

2014-04-13 15:00

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Sex workers, racists, bergies and extreme left- and right-wingers will be among the voices welcomed on to the airwaves in ex-5FM breakfast jock Gareth Cliff’s new “unradio” project. was set to launch on May 1 and had 37?000 subscribers 10 hours after the domain was registered, Cliff said this week.

On March 31, Cliff (36) announced that he was leaving 5FM, where he has led the morning show for the past seven years. Fans hoped his exit announcement was an April Fools’ joke. It wasn’t.

“The problem with South African radio is that it is trying to be everything to everyone. So mostly, presenters are these middle-of-the-road people who try desperately to appease everyone. It is just too dull for words, really.

“For CliffCentral, I want presenters with real personality and points of view. Outrageous people: prostitutes, extreme right-wingers, extreme left-wingers, racists, you know, a homeless woman who sleeps under a bridge. This is what listeners want,” he said.

“For example, people want to hear a prostitute’s take on Oscar Pistorius and the missing plane.”

In the marketing campaign for his new venture, shot in Cape Town this week, Cliff is pictured on a psychologist’s leather couch in a dimly lit wood-panelled room. He is recalling a nightmare involving the “shackles of radio”.

Props include a stuffed meerkat, a warthog and a stork, a towering model of a skeleton and a straitjacket.

Cliff said he’s been too busy to sleep in since quitting 5FM’s breakfast show.

“Usually I like to stay sane by occasionally bingeing on tequila with friends, but I haven’t even had time for that. But hey, a lack of sleep really isn’t the worst thing when you’re pursuing something you love,” he said. would be available via online streaming with hour-long slots on a local TV station daily, he said. Cliff is also working with mobile messaging platform WeChat.

Brett Loubser, managing director of WeChat Africa, said: “A mash-up of functionalities will be available on the CliffCentral official account on WeChat. Think voice and video clips available for download, polls, vouchers, chat groups etc. This is unradio, not radio as we know it.”

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