THE award-winning Umhlobo Wenene FM breakfast show presenter, Putco Mafani, recently bid the SABC station goodbye as he will be following his lifetime dream of owning and managing a radio station. Mafani, who has been the presenter of the popular Breakfast Eyondlayo Ekuseni (BEE) on Umhlobo Wenene FM, will be pursuing his interests as both station manager and breakfast show presenter with the first 100% black owned commercial radio station of the Eastern Cape.“This has been the most exciting, but difficult time for me to leave Umhlobo Wenene FM, a station that for the past 9 years I have called home and achieved a lot with, including being inducted into the SA Radio Hall of Fame and winning multiple Best Breakfast Show Presenter awards,” said Mafani. “It is also good that at this time in my life I get an opportunity to lead, influence and manage a group of – what I envisage will be – the most talented, dynamic and innovative young broadcasters of the Eastern Cape as the station manager - something I have been wanting to do in a long time.” The station, which will work closely with the MSG Africa Group, will be based in East London.Given Mkhari, the CEO at MSG Africa Group said, “we are very excited to be going into this venture with Putco, as he is a seasoned broadcaster and with him at the helm of power at Rhythm FM, the station will grow exponentially.”Putco recalled the time when former Umhlobo Wenene Station Manager Nada Wotshela and then Programme Manager Phumzile Mnci got him to rescue a breakfast show that was not performing well and urged him to save a sinking ship. In 2010 the station’s breakfast show had just under 800 000 listeners but since “Bhutiza”, as he is affectionately known, took over the show, the BEE now boasts over 3 million listeners, more than 60% of the entire station listenership. “Having been behind the mic for more than 20 years is sweet on its own, but having done it with great radio stations and broadcasters is the sweetest. These include Radio CKI, Radio Xhosa, Channel Africa worldwide, Kaya FM, and back to Umhlobo Wenene FM,” said Mafani. His other achievements include television shows he has presented, such as CCV TV- Cosmo Life, SABC 1-Indwe, SABC Topsport, SABC TV News (Indaba ZesiXhosa). Mafani will be conducting auditions around the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and other provinces scouting for fresh talent for the radio station.