Radio Awards 2021 Finalists: Who and What stood out for Me


One thing that dominates a lot of conversations when media is placed on the spotlight is the regressing or perceived decline of interest in radio by South Africa as a nation. I still maintain that radio is not going anywhere and if done right, radio should not even be threatened by new audio media platforms. If I were to talk about radio as a medium in general, the entire direction of this article will lose its plot and the focus will definitely shift gears.
This week, on the 15th of June, the South African Radio Awards released the 2021 finalists and it soon sparked quite a number of interesting conversations amongst the radio circles. One thing is certain, Radio is still very much a boys club and it is quite imminent when one looks at the list of finalist who are standing by to hopefully be announced as winners at this year’s ceremony.It seems on the surface that a lot of women are occupying the space and important slots, but is that really the true reflection of the industry? or is it once again a front that we have witnessed in the industry over the past decade or two?
Anyway, we are still far from reaching a point of emancipation in this amazing industry that chose us and continue to choose us even when we seem to want to escape from it. Let me start with good news and names that made it into the finalists and warmed my heart. Khomotso Mabelane of power 98.7 got a nod as a finalist for field reporter of the year and if she doesn’t snatch it, I might have to dig deep for my puma silwe character to make its way to the surface, Khomotso is immaculate in her work and has grown immensely in her field over the past 5 years. A huge congratulations goes to Ntombi Phiri and Nthabiseng Mamabolo whose show “Better Together” on Radio 2000 scored a music show nomination, while the host, Ntombi has been nominated for best presenter, I did mention in my youtube video that this show is definitely one for the boys.
Andy Maqondwana was released from 94.7 earlier this year and the universe was not going to let her celebrate her milestone of 10 years in the industry without a huge a pat to remind her how amazing she is on the airwaves.
Year in , Year out there is no transformation in the “Traffic Presenter” category. Okay maybe it hurts me because I was nominated in the same category 3 years ago and to this day it refuses to recognise some vernac speaking brilliant traffic reporters/presenters. congratulations to Gagasi FM’s talented Clarrisa Mfeka and I am crossing all my toes and fingers for her to take it home.
Another congratulatory message goes out to Nthabiseng “Mat Elle” who is a multiple award winning presenter. She joined Metro FM last year and in her first year of the “4am Club” has gotten a great nod as her show scored a nomination, if there is anyone who takes awards home, is definitely this girl.
The Podcast Category is quite an interesting one to watch unfold, honestly I admire that the radio awards are recognising this as a big part of the radio movement, initially this category catered to podcast series, campaigns etc that radio stations would develop and implement as stand alone content or extensions of on air highlights and important content. This year I see that they have included independent podcast and YFM’s Tshepi Mabe has her podcast “The AirPods with Tshepi” nominated as an independent platform. This is very progressive and I hope that the committee with look into ensuring that in the next radio term they put a lot more emphasis on the entry mechanics of this specific category, I have a feeling there is going to be an influx of interest seeing how much growth we are experiencing in the podcast environment in South Africa.
Those are some of the nominations and nominees that really made me smile when I saw the list, oh wait …before I go, I must say that besides probably getting the most nominations of all commercial radio stations, year in and year out, KFM 94.5 must be the most innovative radio station in South Africa our land. they have all their shows nominated under “Radio Innovation” while Breakfast with Darren, Sibs and Sherlin also scored a nomination in the same category, does this mean the breakfast show is not part of “All Shows” or is it nominated twice in the same category?
Also, I have a bone to pick with the Sports Presenter category, but I will choose peace because apparently if one still has aspirations to work in the industry, one must watch their mouth, their fingers and how they step.

Finalists in the special nomination categories – Station Manager’s Choice, the Bursary Award, Bright Stars and Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the Station of the Year category, will be announced on Wednesday, 23 June 2021.

 The Radio Awards virtual winners’ announcement will stream via digital channels on
16 July 2021 at 3pm. you can view the full list of finalists HERE

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