Kaya FM launched in August 1997, where it was one of the first new frequencies to be approved for private commercial radio. Thebe Investment Corporation is a founding shareholder of Kaya FM.
The station broadcasts both music and talk and it reflects the lives of the predominantly black, urban listener between the ages of 25 – 49 living in Gauteng now dubbed, Afropolitans. Kaya FM broadcasts in English, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has a current listenership of 622 000 per average day.
As Kaya FM celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we asked Managing Director Greg Maloka a few questions:
- Give us a snapshot of Kaya FM 20 years ago.
My view of Kaya FM 20 years ago was as an outsider, where I was working for YFM. I’ve always admired the many incredibly talented individuals at the station, most of all though, I recognised the enormous potential it had since day one. In fact, I had what I referred to as a secret love affair with Kaya. Lawrence Dube, Nicky B, Sibongile Khumalo, Hugh Masekela and many others were a superb combination that ensured Kaya was rooted and had a purpose. Kaya was the first to bring the idea of an African Renaissance into mainstream culture, in the process benefitting many artists and commentators with a similar view. The launch of Kaya signalled the start of what is now the Afropolitan Revolution.
- What is the biggest lesson the company has learned?
Our most significant lesson which is ongoing, is the need to observe love and respect in everything we do. Love and respect for the listener, the environment, society, clients, and shareholders but most of all – of self. As a post-apartheid brand, ours is a mission of driving the ideals of Black Consciousness into mainstream culture and business, and bringing to the fore co-existence among all people of Gauteng and hopefully the continent, through unrivalled content and the delivery thereof. A deep understanding of our role in society beyond commercial success, especially given our history and desired future, is pivotal.
- What achievements at Kaya FM are you most proud of?
When I joined Kaya we had 80 employees, we now boast 120. This means more employment, fuelling the growth of our economy and Kaya. We have evolved from just being an FM business into a content business, with FM as but one channel through which we disburse content. We now have a multi-channel platform with TV and audio capabilities. We have launched successful culture-shifting lifestyle projects such as Kaya Travel and will be rolling out more to further Blue Ocean the Kaya brand. Commercial growth over the past ten years has also been phenomenal.
- Is there anything you think should have been done differently?
Yes, 1652, but I can’t do much about that now, can I? I am a big believer in hard work, luck, self-created luck and timing of the stars. So my short answer is that things are as they should be.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the industry?
Lack of quality research, lack of significant revenue commitment by advertisers particularly to black audiences, and limited quality skills in the field of media are for me significant challenges.
- Where do you want Kaya FM to be in 20 years’ time?
At a place where we can look back and point out our contribution to positively changing our listener’s environment. The fact that banks only started speaking to our audience ten or so years ago, for instance, means that there are considerable gaps in knowledge and specialised products for our market. These gaps illuminate our inability to build wealth, purchase property, run successful businesses and participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy of our country.
- On a personal level, describe what Kaya FM means to you.
Managing Director: Greg Maloka