Umhlobo Wenene and TruFM experience spike in listenership

The business manager of Umhlobo Wenene FM and TruFM, Loyiso Bala.

Loyiso Bala, the business manager of Mhlobo Wenene FM and TruFM, is pleased that both of his radio stations have increased their listenership.

According to figures released by the Broadcasting Research Council (BRC), Umhlobo Wenene gained 2,000 listeners and TruFM gained 7,000.

This increase in numbers comes after Umhlobo Wenene lost a significant amount of audience and fell to third place as South Africa’s largest station last fiscal year.

This station has over four million listeners, trailing Metro FM in second place with nearly five million, and Ukhozi FM in first place with seven million.

Bala is pleased to see Umhlobo Wenene and TruFM growing in numbers since the programs were restructured in April.

“Every success, no matter how big or small, belongs not only to me, but to all the managers and employees who work tirelessly to keep our listeners happy,” Bala told I’solezwe lesiXhosa.

He said that the number of their programs nominated for the SA Radio Awards demonstrates the positive steps taken by these two Eastern Cape stations.

Bala also said that Umhlobo Wenene will reclaim its position next year.

“By the middle of 2023, we hope to have reached five million people and regained our footing. We believe this will occur by developing programs that our audience desires and reaching out to them where they are.

“We also made sure that we are visible and always in the minds of our audience,” said Bala, adding that while the numbers fluctuate, they are optimistic because their audience has increased from 35% to 37% in the last three months.

“We will continue to see growth in the number of listeners in the coming months,” Bala predicted.

He also revealed that the program changes made earlier this year were intended to reach a different audience.

He stated that the audience is becoming accustomed to the new programs, as evidenced by the numbers.

“The SABC has begun a number of research projects that will benefit the station. We have begun to implement some of them in order to improve our processes and marketing.

“We believe this will have a positive impact on our station in the coming months,” said the manager.

In response to criticism, he received after making decisions such as firing some radio presenters, Bala said that the SABC’s policies should be prioritized.

“It is unfortunate to lose any radio presenter, especially when it was not in our plans for the year. When we make those decisions, we must put the SABC first in a neutral and unbiased manner, following the SABC’s guidelines, and we do so without putting our feelings first.”

Bala said that he hopes that over time, listeners will understand that the decisions made are for their station.

He also revealed the station’s future plans, stating that after the story competition, the annual song competition will take place in December, followed by a talent search at the start of the year.

“Listeners can expect programs prepared for the holiday season and Radio Day,” he concluded.