By Samantha Cook
There’s something intrinsically strange about attending an awards evening where the majority of the guests are household names. From commercial radio personalities like Sam Cowen and Gareth Cliff to industry legends Andy Rice and Pietie Lotriet (who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award
), walking through the crowds all decked out in black tie dress felt somewhat surreal. Despite the prolific yellow branding from MTN (the company is the main sponsor, after all), there was a definite air of glamour – which made it that much more difficult to remember that this awards ceremony is only in its third year.
Having grown from small beginnings in 2010, the awards show has managed to almost double the number of entries received year to year, and is increasingly being recognised as an important event on the national radio calendar. The awards has not been without its hiccups, however, which have led to small changes being introduced with each new year, particularly in response to objections regarding the exclusion of non-commercial stations. As a result, 2011 saw the inclusion of non-commercial stations (albeit without any further distinctions), a move that was taken one step further in 2012, as the main awards were sub-divided into public broadcasting service (PBS), community and campus categories.
There were few major surprises when the winners were announced at the ceremony, which was hosted by the incorrigible pairing of radio and television personality Jeremy Mansfield and 94.7 Highveld Stereo
presenter, Anele Mdoda, who recently left rival station 5FM
. As has been the case since the inception of the MTN Radio Awards
, the Primedia Broadcasting stable (Talk Radio 702, 567 Cape Talk, 94.7 Highveld Stereo
and 94.5 Kfm
) took home armfuls of accolades, cumulatively winning 12 awards, while the top winners of the night were Ukhozi FM
(eight awards), Radio Islam
(eight awards), Tuks FM
(five awards), SAfm
(five awards) and Lotus FM
Addressing the crowd-filled ballroom, both awards chairperson Rich Mkhondo and MTN Chief Ayobaness Officer, Serame Taukobong, emphasised the importance of radio in the media mix, as well as the importance of encouraging excellence in this broadcast space. They also praised the quality of the entries.
Stepping away from the headline award categories, a number of promising radio workers were also commended and named as members of the Bright Stars Club: Amoré Truter (PUKfm 93.6
), Motseki Mabuya (Thetha FM
), Zaid Bhoola (Lotus FM
), Zeenat Abdool (SABC Radio Channel Africa) and Tim Zunkel (OFM
). In addition, industry veteran Pietie Lotriet was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award
, while Stan Katz, Peter de Nobrega, Robin Alexander, Cocky ‘Two Bull’ Tlotlalemaje, Martin Rattle, Cyril Mchunu, Lindi Nthuli, Bob Mabena, Dan Setshedi and Dumile Mateza were all inducted into the Hall of Fame.
While the formal proceedings continued late into the night, the evening was punctuated with dinner and entertainment from musician and radio presenter Thabo Mdluli and Afrikaans singer Juanita Kruger, backed by the enthusiastic Ayoba Swing Band. With the general feeling of glamour and fun extending to chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert and an impromptu bout of line-dancing, it was a thoroughly well-planned and well-executed event and, as far as I could see, enjoyed by all that attended.
For some extra reading on the MTN Radio Awards
, have a look at my interview with Mkhondo and awards CEO Lance Rothschild in COUP magazine
, or check out my editorial desk article
on Ukhozi FM
and Radio Islam
, and their secrets to MTN Radio Awards
success. A full list of the winners can also be found here