Eventually having its own station Radio Oranje
in 1986, it adopted its current name and format in 2002. In 1996, Radio Oranje
became the very first SABC radio station to be privatised. Sold for R11-million to a consortium of investors, it would pay back its purchase price within 18 months.
The station underwent a presenter line-up shift in 2002. This signalled the end of the Radio Oranje
sound (and name, though this started gradually from as early as the late 1990s).
According to former OFM
CEO Gary Stroebel, "The audience initially reacted with derision, but audience numbers started to swell and the station never looked back as the new sound reflected modern trends, not only in broadcasting, but also music". OFM
launched a new logo, look and corporate identity in 2006. This saw the station appealing to a broader base of listeners. As a result, audience numbers surged past the 500 000 mark and have continued to grow ever since.
The station has been involved in major events, including:
- the annual OFM Classic Cycle Race in Bloemfontein
- the Image Plus roadshow, and
- the annual Radio Oranje Song Talent Competition (similar to the Idols concept, but preceding it by many years).
The station says that the community has always been close to its heart and, according to the Central Media (parent company of OFM
) CEO Nick Efstathiou, there have been innumerable fundraising and charity projects over the years, such as when a tornado hit Welkom in 1990, and when a mining-related earthquake wreaked havoc in Stilfontein in 2005.
The radio station also created an emergency fund for victims of the Merriespruit mining dam disaster in the Free State Goldfields in 1994. Moreover, there were music concerts, golf days and blanket drives all organised to assist those in need. OFM
has also won awards at the Artes
, South Africa's radio industry awards and many others. The station's various departments, including news and advertising, have shown that they can compete with the best in the business.
According to Albé Grobbelaar, former OFM
MD, "One of the main reasons for the station's success over the years, and the listeners' and clients' loyalty towards the station, has always been the fact that the station is from this region and for this region, with a focus on local music."
"In addition, OFM
, with talented people on the programming, news, production, technical and management sides, has been able to constantly face and adapt to new challenges," adds Grobbelaar.
"The station can be very proud of the number of people who had reached great heights in broadcasting (radio and television) in the national market, all over the country, based on the foundations laid and what they had learned in their careers at OFM
," conlcudes Grobbelaar.
For more information, visit www.ofm.co.za
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