YOH is off air, for now

2019-01-29 06:00
Local YouTube sensation, Devon Saunders (left) hosts the Breakfast Show with Gavin Arends (right) - who hopes that one day, YOH Radio will be a permanent fixture in Mitchell’s Plain.

Local YouTube sensation, Devon Saunders (left) hosts the Breakfast Show with Gavin Arends (right) - who hopes that one day, YOH Radio will be a permanent fixture in Mitchell’s Plain.

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YOH Radio has made its final broadcast on the airwaves, for now but will still be available via live streaming until further notice.

On Thursday last week the station did their final broadcast on their 90.7fm frequency as its temporary events broadcasting license expired.

The station has reapplied for the frequency, with the goal of supporting voter education in the run-up to the national elections in May. This process could take up to six weeks.

Gavin Arends, the force behind YOH Radio said in a statement: “While we had hoped for an extension, this has not been possible. We will therefore, continue broadcasting via online streaming via http://yohradio.radiostream.co.za. However, for now, our terrestrial frequency will be disconnected and may only be available if we apply to support events that take place in and around Mitchell’s Plain – which we will keep doing.”

YOH Radio needs help from the communities it serves, to get back on the airwaves. This could be done by signing their petition or writing a letter of support, which will be sent along with the application to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

The radio station was launched on Tuesday 11 December last year, the culmination of a five-year long dream of Arends (“YOH! A station for ‘Plain”, People’s Post, 11 December).

“Even though YOH Radio has only been live for six weeks, we were able to make a notable impact in our community. I believe that we were able to achieve this, because the station’s programming is geared to the core of the community we service. In mid-December, we kicked-off with our Father Christmas competition, and our Back-to-School bonus not only helped out a few deserving people from the community, but also gave us a chance to get to connect with them more personally,” said Arends in the statement.

The brainchild of radio veteran, Arends, the station is brought to you in partnership with the Cape Flats YMCA with one goal in mind: to uplift the communities of Mitchell’s Plain and the wider Cape Flats, and through facilitated action, improve their overall life experiences. “I grew up in Mitchell’s Plain so I have a very personal attachment to the area. I am a data analyst by nature and I have done my own research on the radio landscape over the last 20 years. What is standing out is that the closer, smaller and more defined a radio station is in terms of geographical location, the better they tend to do,” Arends told People’s Post.

There are around one million people – if not more – living in a compact area. That gives you a really good scale to start with. Also, it is the second largest township in South Africa and it hasn’t had a radio station since the advent of our democracy, which to me did not add up. It was a no-brainer to do this for Mitchell’s Plain.”

They started broadcasting on an event permit, as the Icasa is not issuing full radio licensing at this time. The conditions of their events licence was that they must partner with an event, and for this reason, they have decided on a safety focus, with the majority of their content centering around safety issues for the residents of Mitchell’s Plain and surrounds.

“This licence allows us to broadcast for 45 days. Coupled with this there is a moratorium on licensing by Icasa,” said Arends. “By us going live now, we are building a track record that will assist us in applying for permanent licensing next year.”

The station broadcasts predominantly in English, with around 27% Afrikaans and 2-3% isiXhosa.

“Our defined service area is Mitchell’s Plain but our signal will reach into the Cape Flats. Our positioning statement is ‘everything the Cape Flats loves’. We deliberately said this to reach far into the Cape Flats. The socio-economic conditions and issues that are relevant to Mitchell’s Plain are also relevant to other areas around Mitchell’s Plain. Yes, we focus here, but a solution that works here could also work in Delft, Athlone or Belhar. We are defined for Mitchell’s Plain but our reach will be all over the Cape Flats,” he told People’s Post. “YOH”, was chosen as the name of the radio station as it resonates with many in Cape Town as an emotive term, acceptable in many circumstances, said Arends.

Arends says local businesses were particularly keen to leverage the benefits of having access to a locally-based, locally-specific radio station, with requests to advertise and offers to sponsor the competitions, and other activities, just starting to pour in.

Ricardo de Reuck, Director of the Cape Flats YMCA says that the partnership between the two organisations has been strengthened over the period, and both parties want to keep it going.

“Both YOH Radio and CF YMCA are concerned with uplifting and inspiring our communities, to facilitate action towards a better life experience. And, with more time, YOH Radio programmes could be launched and promoted to reach our target communities and facilitate that action,” de Reuck says in the statement.

To request a template letter of support or to find out more about how you can help, contact YOH Radio Station Manager, Gavin Arends on 082 971 2762, email info@yohradio.com or send a WhatsApp message to 0820 944 706. You can also visit them on Facebook: YOH Radio.


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