Now in its 10th year, The Radio Awards continues to recognise outstanding achievements in the radio industry, and sets a benchmark for all radio stations and professionals to strive towards. The Radio Awards programme is a credible, well-judged transparent programme that promotes and recognises excellence in South African radio, with the objective of ensuring that radio remains one of South Africa’s foremost media choices.

It’s about rewarding those individuals and organisations who combine talent, hard work and skill to ensure that their listeners are compelled. The Radio Awards seeks to motivate radio people and organisations to constantly strive for greatness in terms of their performance, with a firm focus on keeping their listener engaged and happy.

This secures the station’s future with the advantage of knowing that they are amongst the best of the best in an increasingly competitive landscape. Since the inception of these awards in 2010, there has been substantial growth in the number of entries and participating stations. Industry feedback has played an important role in the progress of these awards.

We are proud to continue recognising and honouring South Africa’s outstanding radio talent, from in-front-of-the mic presenters to behind-the-scenes producers. In doing so, we hope to inspire people wishing to enter this dynamic industry and encourage stations to enter the 2020 awards programme.


Organised by Tiso Blackstar Events, the Radio Awards include 31categories and cover all areas of radio broadcasting. Judges for the Radio Awards are selected each year on the basis of their relevant experience and expertise.  Each year the handpicked judges contribute countless hours of their time to review the station entries. From the judging, a number of entries are shortlisted as finalists for each award category. The overall winner of that category is selected from those finalists and announced at the prestigious Gala Dinner.

With most of the adjudicators emanating from the radio industry, organisers have ensured that categories and tasks are allocated in such a manner as to ensure that no conflicts-of-interest arise (for example, no judge with a vested interest in a commercial station will be allowed to judge commercial station entries, and the same refers to PBS, Community and Campus). In addition, no single adjudicator has the ability to influence the results. Each judge enters their scores online and has no view of the score that any other adjudicator is allocating.


The Bursary Award is a proud initiative of the Radio Awards that aims to build talent within the radio industry for the future. The bursary award affords a deserving individual with the right aptitude, who would otherwise not be able to afford the course, to complete the Advanced Radio Certificate programme offered at Wits Radio Academy.

Tyroline Franks is an up-and-coming host on community radio Eldos FM.  Just 22 years old, Tyroline hosts the afternoon prime-time show Fast Lane. Her ability to connect with young listeners while impressing older listeners with her “well spoken, gracious,  well informed and well prepared” style prompted the station’s programmes manager Shaldon Ferris to call her one of the best DJs Eldos FM has ever seen. Besides her central involvement on radio, Tyroline has acted in the SABC’s Now or Never series, worked as a modelling coach and as community ambassador and much else. She is also a proud graduate of the YFM Academy.  She says about her chosen field: “The beauty of radio is it connects people and their similarities every single day.” We are sure she will go far!

2018’s winner, Adadume Magadlela has shown great tenacity in pursuing his goal of a career on the airwaves. He was determined to obtain a National Certificate in Versatile Broadcasting from Walter Sisulu University, and had to find a job to raise the fees, putting aside two thirds of his income to do so. He then worked at several community radio stations in the Eastern Cape, focusing on presentation, content production and music compiling. He has worked as a content producer at the SABC, and is now on the team of Voice of Wits. In the long run, he wants to work on one of the biggest stations in SA, but also make a difference in individual listeners’ lives “by giving hope, love and care”, he says. With his natural talent, determination and a willing nature, Ada will certainly go far! The Radio Awards proudly presents Adadume with this opportunity to study further and we look forward to watching him grow in his radio career. The Advanced Radio Certificate draws students from public, commercial and particularly community radio. Offered at NQF6 level, it is taught by leading experts and runs on a modular basis. It covers everything from sales to production and news.

Bongani is a presenter and production assistant at Emalahleni Community Radio in Witbank, where he has worked since 2010. After a tough childhood in a single-parent family that struggled to make ends meet, he matriculated in 2008 and sometime later found his niche in radio. “I have learned that radio is a powerful medium of communication where one voice can speak to many and can change the lives of many,” he says. Among the things he has learnt are “the importance and value of time in radio”, that all departments of a station contribute to the success of the on-air product, and the need to understand and respect your listeners. Working in production, “I have learned the beauty of working with sound and understanding the technicalities of sound.” The course he has enrolled for will formalize this learning and give him a valuable qualification. In time, he hopes to move into public radio and become a programme manager on one of the SABC’s stations. The Advanced Radio Certificate draws students from public, commercial and particularly community radio. Offered at NQF6 level, it is taught by leading experts and runs on a modular basis. It covers everything from sales to production and news.

For Palesa Tau, winning the Radio Awards Bursary Scheme indicates that she has supporters who believe in her as much as she believes in herself. Viewing radio as her destiny, winning this bursary means she is able to pursue radio unreservedly. “I grew up knowing that I had a purpose to fulfil, and from the first time I got behind a microphone, I discovered what that purpose was,” she explains. Tau’s journey in radio began when she joined community station Westside FM on Johannesburg’s West Rand in 2013, working as a content and technical producer, as well as hosting a weekend show.Although it was presenting that made Tau fall in love with the industry, it was her experience in producing that cemented her ambition to pursue radio as a career. It is, after all, the production of great content, she maintains, that is the foundation of connecting to audiences. Following her time at Westside FM, Tau was accepted as an intern into the Y Academy, where she gained experience in commercial radio in marketing and events, production, sales, news, copywriting and presenting. She simultaneously worked as a freelance voiceover artist and content producer. “I have always wanted holistic knowledge of the radio industry, and this forms part of my journey in learning and absorbing in order to grow within my chosen career,” Tau asserts. The foundation in both community and commercial radio, combined with the Advanced Radio Certificate, will give Tau the edge in achieving her future goals – in 10 years, she predicts, she will be a decision-maker within the industry, as well as a mentor to those who share the same passion for radio that she does. “It is my goal and hope to become a prominent and respected figure within the industry, as well as to create fresh perspectives, in order to give those who come after me the inspiration to chase after what they want to achieve,” she concludes.

Sidali is no stranger to the air waves. A well-known voice on Motheo FM, he has presented the popular hip-hop show ‘The Joint’, which takes place on Friday evenings between and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. He has also worked on the station’s breakfast show, as a sports presenter. Moreover, Sidali also does work as an MC for events, a voice-over artist, and does jingles for radio commercials. “It all started when the station gave me the opportunity to co-host the Saturday afternoon chart show, The Urban Experience,” Sidali recalls. “After matriculating in 2009, I took a gap year. At the time, I was playing provincial rugby for the Griffons Rugby Club. I ultimately made the decision not to pursue a career in rugby and instead started working towards a degree in media studies at the University of the Free State. After giving the matter some thought, I withdrew from my studies and took a chance, opting instead to gain some practical radio experience. I went to speak to the station and before I knew it, I was co-hosting on Motheo FM,” he continues. For Sidali, radio has always been a passion. “Radio is always there. As a boy, I can remember listening to radio dramas, and enjoying the process of creating a picture behind the voices I heard. Radio truly is the theatre of the mind. It’s also a platform that allows one to reach millions of people and provide them with content that keeps them informed and in touch. It’s the ability for one person with a microphone to form connections and build relationships with multitudes of listeners. Ultimately, Sidali hopes to be heard on South Africa’s major commercial radio stations and has aspirations towards presenting sport on television shows such as e.tv and SuperSport.

Lonwabo Miso hails from Kwa-Thema Township in Springs. She graduated from Willowmoore High in Benoni in 1998, where she demonstrated her leadership capabilities at an early age, becoming Deputy Chairperson at her school. She is currently completing her Radio Studies course at the Wits Radio Academy which gives her a firm grounding on various aspects of the radio industry. Lonwabo describes winning the Radio Awards bursary as an amazing, overwhelming experience, also stating, “I smile every time I think of it. A bursary is not easy to get, and to get one from Radio Awards is a tremendous achievement and truly inspiring.” Lonwabo is currently a News Reader and Reporter at the Voice of Wits campus radio station, and co-host of its sports show entitled Sports Hub. She has been at VOW for over a year and describes her experience there as “AMAZING”. Director of Wits Radio Academy, Prof Franz Krüger is confident the abilities of this year’s bursary winner: “Lonwabo impressed us with her dedication to radio, and to learning. She is a sharp student with a range of talents, who I’m sure will go far.” Her undeniable talent, fiery passion for radio and her burning desire to be the best places her head and shoulders above the rest. She states, “I want to be the woman that younger and older females look at and see endless possibilities. I want to take the Radio Industry in South Africa and make it as big as the BBC if not bigger. Simply put, I aspire to be an inspiration.” Lonwabo believes that radio is a beautiful medium that touches lives in immeasurable ways. Her inspirations are Xolani Gwala from SAfm and Susan Comrie from Carte Blanche. In five years, she sees herself working at one of South Africa’s larger radio stations as well as reading the evening news or sports bulletin on either the SABC, e.tv or SuperSport channel. She offers strong advice to those interested in pursuing a career in radio, “If it truly is where your passion lies, then GO FOR IT! No, it will not be easy. It will not be all glitz and glamour, but the fulfilment of hearing yourself on air and seeing your piece of work come together is beyond great.”

Mfanafuthi Khumalo is the true definition of an achiever. He is a focused individual who is clearly dedicated to his craft, a well-deserved winner of the 2012 Radio Awards bursary. Transcending his humble beginnings in Georgedale Township, he followed his passion for radio, which placed him in the hands of his mentor and role model Vela Xulu at Ukhozi FM where he worked as a freelance radio drama artist, just a year after high school. His passion and determination for radio was so strong that he returned to the medium after five years of working as a freelance cameraman at SABC to reclaim his previous position as programmes manager at IzwiLomzansi 98.0 FM.Khumalo describes winning the Radio Awards bursary last year as being one of the greatest achievements in his life, and which has opened many doors for him. He states: “Since being awarded the Radio Awards bursary my capabilities have improved dramatically. It has also afforded me with a lifetime study opportunity at the prestigious Wits University’s Radio Academy which has given me the edge over my peers.” There is no rest for the wickedly talented, as Khumalo plans to pursue his masters degree at Wits. His sincere dedication to education and upliftment through radio is yet another remarkable feature that makes us proud to have chosen him as a winner. Since winning the award he has managed to establish the RadioKTL Broadcast Academy where he teaches the fundamentals of radio broadcasting and producing to aspiring radio talent. This is juggled with his job as programmes manager at IzwiLomzansi 98.0 fm.
He says that he is eternally grateful for receiving the award and emphatically says, “This bursary has changed my life.Thank you very much to the Radio Awards for the great idea of recognising the need for recognition in our craft. I really appreciate the bursary, and may you not retire in doing such great work.” His advice to the future award-winner is, “Take this opportunity with both hands. No one can take it away from you.It will improve your life depending on how you utilise it.”

Nontokozo says the bursary has opened great doors for her and as a result she is currently interning with the BBC. Ngcobo says, “There is no doubt that being awarded [the] bursary in 2011 has had a positive impact in my life.” She explains that the accolade has inspired and motivated her to become more proactive and creative in her thinking, and has also made it easier for her to tap into other media related opportunities outside of radio. “My internship with the BBC has linked me with the Warwick University in London for their Africa Project in Maths and English, and my experience with the BBC has been very nourishing, and I am excited to see it through to the end.” Apart from her BBC experience, Ngcobo is currently involved with the Soul City Institute for Health & Development Communication’s training and research. “It is an exciting opportunity, which is about individuals and communities focusing on human development and the Soul City experience is adding so much value to my media career. I am also continuing with my Business Degree with the London School of Business.”Her advice to the future Radio Awards bursary winners is to treasure the golden opportunity given to them, by making use of it, seizing the time and giving it their all. “Especially with Wits, it requires a lot of sleepless nights and dedication to your work, and with that, only the sky is the limit.” I am very humbled, honored and excited about the opportunities that I have been presented with by the Radio Awards bursary and I’m looking forward to using it to its full potential.

It has been a real privilege to be given this rare opportunity, but with privilege comes responsibility and I certainly have felt under obligation to perform beyond expectations, and to give my studies my all. It meant so much to me that somebody had faith in me and in my potential, somebody believed in me to the extent that I was awarded this bursary. Without it I would have been like thousands of other job seekers pounding the pavement looking for employment. The course has really opened my eyes and broadened my horizons. The academic environment has been incredibly stimulating. I have always had a passion for radio, as not only is it the most effective medium in terms of addressing the masses, but whether you’re interested in politics,current affairs, traffic, business, the weather or music it delivers it all. I’ve been listening to radio ever since I was a child.  My dream, ultimately, is to present my own show: either current affairs or music on either 702 or SAfm. I would love to work for an organisation where I could grow and be allowed to be myself.