DURBAN – EAST Coast Radio’s new Afternoon Drive presenter, Bongani Mtolo, has replaced controversial jock Phat Joe. Mtolo, who began his radio career in 2015, said he was ecstatic about the opportunity. He has been promoted from an evening radio slot to the peak afternoon traffic show after growing the show’s ratings.
“I want to bring conversations to the radio, the same conversations you have with your friends. I plan to bring that to life on air,” said Mtolo, who studied sports management at DUT.
Asked how he would deal with sensitive listeners as his predecessor had struggled with this, Mtolo said: “We are not here to try to please everyone; you simply can’t. The show, with Bongani and Mags, is about the listeners. We want them to feel part of the team through the conversations on air and interaction with them.”
The Richmond-born, Maritzburg College old boy and co-host Mags van Der Westhuizen replace Phat Joe and Zaba Simbine, who have left ECR.
Programme manager Zane Derbyshire said the changes were intended to draw a wider audience.
“We always try to invest in young talent,” he said. “We have been able to promote one of our own guys into a drive time show and what’s really great about that is that the hard work and the effort, time and dedication he put into his development as a presenter is paying off.”
He described Mtolo as “incredibly talented” and said he had made the most of his previous evening show, East Coast Urban.
“He managed to make the show become the third-biggest at the station and that was a huge achievement because evening shows are usually your fifth or sixth biggest as your daytime shows are bigger. He is clearly popular among our listeners,” said Derbyshire.
Darren Maule will remain in his breakfast slot and has signed a new contract that runs until 2019.
Maule is the first and only ECR DJ to have received a long term contract at the station as DJ’s normally work on a 12 month contract. The station said the decision was prompted by the success of the show and they wanted to make sure they keep him.
Maule said the breakfast show remains at number one in the station because it’s fun and lighthearted.
“People feel as if they are part of our team by being part of our caller topics or by sharing their opinion. Breakfast Radio is an entirely different beast to anything I have ever done before. It takes about 2 – 3 years of trial and error before you can really call yourself a semblance of a radio person.
“On the third and fourth year I was a lot more confident and really beginning to love radio – not just survive radio! And now the bug has bitten – you could quite literally say that I am completely infected with Breakfast Radio! I have a great team around me, a fabulous understanding with my management, great trust with my listeners all of which frees me up to continue being innovative and experimenting and playing within my radio sphere,” said Maule.
The whole line up will be unveiled on Monday.