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OFM turns 35

───   10:40 Mon, 15 Feb 2021

OFM turns 35 | News Article

Central South Africa’s number one radio station, OFM, celebrates its 35th birthday this year.

From its humble beginnings in 1985 as a SABC evening broadcast of Radio Highveld in Bloemfontein for the Central South African region, to the Northern Cape and Free State eventually having their own station, Radio Oranje in 1986, to adopting its current name and format in 2002, OFM has had a remarkable journey thus far.

In 1996, Radio Oranje became the very first SABC radio station to be privatised. Sold for R11-million to a consortium of investors, it would pay back its purchase price within 18 months.

The station underwent a radical presenter line-up shift in 2002. This signalled the end of the Radio Oranje sound (and name – though this started gradually from as early as the late 1990s). According to former OFM CEO Gary Stroebel, “the audience initially reacted with derision, but audience numbers started to swell, and the station never looked back as the new sound reflected modern trends, not only in broadcasting but also music”.

OFM launched a new logo, look and corporate identity in 2006. This finally put the past behind it, and the change in focus saw the station appealing to a broader base of listeners. As a result, audience numbers surged past the 500 000 mark, and have continued to grow ever since, especially in the lucrative SEM 9 and 10 grouping. The bright logo allowed OFM maximum visibility with its various sports sponsorships. Yellow and red, as opposed to orange and purple, also dropped the ‘Oranje’ association. It heralded a new era of media professionalism and a brand that appealed to its diverse audience in its footprint.

The station has been involved in major events, including the annual OFM Classic Cycle Race in Bloemfontein, the Image Plus roadshow, and the annual Radio Oranje Song Talent Competition (similar to the Idols concept, but preceding it by many years).

The community has always been close to the station’s heart, and according to the Central Media Group CEO (parent company of OFM), Nick Efstathiou, there have been innumerable fundraising and charity projects over the years, such as when a tornado hit Welkom in 1990, and when a mining-related earthquake wreaked havoc in Stilfontein in 2005. The radio station also created an emergency fund for victims of the Merriespruit mining dam disaster in the Free State Goldfields in 1994. Moreover, there were music concerts, golf days and blanket drives – all organised to assist those in need.

OFM has also won its fair share of awards – at the Artes, Loeries, Pendoring, South Africa’s radio industry awards, and many others. The station’s various departments, including news and advertising, have shown that they can compete with the best in the business… and win.

Although it is impossible to mention all the memorable voices who gained a loyal following among OFM’s audience over the past almost four decades, long-time listeners will remember legendary presenters such as Manie Kitching, Bruce McEwan, Anton Smith, Jeannette Geldenhuys, Eddie Goldberg, Pieter du Bois, Eloise Pretorius, James Kilbourn, Angie Khumalo, Riva Schoeman, Tim Thabethe (the current programme manager), Pieter Möller, Darren Scott and Rian van Heerden. Another well-known name, although behind the scenes, was the beloved Afrikaans musician, Lucas Maree, who was the music compiler.

According to Albé Grobbelaar, former OFM MD, “I think one of the main reasons for the station's success over the years, and the listeners’ and clients’ loyalty towards the station, has always been the fact that the station is from this region and for this region, with a focus on local music. In addition, OFM, with talented people on the programming, news, production, technical and management sides, has been able to constantly face and adapt to new challenges. The station can be very proud of the number of people who had reached great heights in broadcasting (radio and television) in the national market, all over the country, based on the foundations laid and what they had learned in their careers at OFM.”

ENDS

For more info, please contact Lindiwe Mtwentula on 051 5050 900, 082 416 1665, or lindiwe@ofm.co.za.


OFM WORD 35

Sentraal-Suid-Afrika se nommer een radiostasie, OFM, vier vanjaar sy 35ste verjaardag.

Van ‘n nederige begin in 1985 as 'n SAUK-aanduitsending van Radio Hoëveld in Bloemfontein vir die sentrale Suid-Afrikaanse streek, tot die Noord-Kaap en Vrystaat wat uiteindelik in 1986 hul eie radiostasie, Radio Oranje, gehad het, tot sy huidige naam en formaat in 2002, het OFM tot dusver 'n merkwaardige reis gehad.

In 1996 het Radio Oranje die heel eerste SAUK-radiostasie geword wat geprivatiseer is. Verkoop vir R11-miljoen aan 'n konsortium van beleggers, kon die stasie sy koopprys binne 18-maande terug betaal.

Die stasie het in 2002 'n radikale verandering ten opsigte van sy aanbieders ondergaan. Dit het die einde van die Radio Oranje-klank (en naam – alhoewel dit geleidelik van so vroeg as die laat 1990s begin het) aangetoon. Volgens die voormalige OFM uitvoerende hoof, Gary Stroebel, het "die gehoor aanvanklik nie positief gereageer nie, maar luisteraarsgetalle het begin groei, en die stasie het nooit weer teruggekyk nie want die nuwe klank het moderne tendense weerspieël, nie net in die uitsaaiwese nie, maar ook in musiek".

OFM het in 2006 met 'n nuwe logo, voorkoms en korporatiewe identiteit gespog. Die radiostasie het die verlede vaarwel geroep en, met die veranderinge het die stasie meer aantreklik geword vir 'n meer diverse groep luisteraars. As gevolg hiervan het luistersgetalle verby die 500 000-merk gestyg en het dit sedertdien nog verder gegroei, veral in die winsgewende SEM 9- en 10-groepering.

OFM se helder logo het ook maksimum sigbaarheid onder sy verskillende sportborgskappe bevorder. Geel en rooi, in teenstelling met oranje en pers, het ook die verbintenis met 'Oranje'- laat vervaag. Dit het 'n nuwe era van media professionaliteit ingelui, en dit het 'n handelsmerk geword wat gespreek het tot sy diverse gehoor.

Die radiostasie is betrokke by allerlei geleenthede, insluitend die jaarlikse OFM Classic Cycle Race in Bloemfontein, die Image Plus Roadshow en die jaarlikse Radio Oranje Song Talent-kompetisie (soortgelyk aan die Idols-konsep, maar wat dit voorafgegaan met baie jare).

Die gemeenskap lê die stasie na aan die hart, en volgens Central Media Group (die moedermaatskappy van OFM) se uitvoerende hoof, Nick Efstathiou, was die stasie oor die jare heen betrokke by verskeie fondsinsamelings- en liefdadigheidsprojekte, soos toe 'n tornado Welkom in 1990 getref het, en toe 'n mynverwante aardbewing in 2005 verwoesting in Stilfontein gesaai het. Die radiostasie het ook in 1994 'n noodfonds gestig vir die slagoffers van die Merriespruit-ramp op die Vrystaatse Goudveld. Boonop was daar musiekkonserte, gholfdae en kombersinsamelings – almal van stapel gestuur om mense in nood by te staan.

OFM het ook ‘n groot gros toekennings gewen – onder meer by die Artes, Loeries, Pendoring, Suid-Afrika se radiobedryftoekennings, en vele ander. Die stasie se verskeie departemente, insluitend nuus en advertensies, het getoon dat hulle kan meeding met die beste in die bedryf... en kan met die louere wegstap.

Alhoewel dit onmoontlik is om al die onvergeetlike stemme te noem wat die afgelope byna vier dekades duisende lojale luisteraars gehad het, sal jarelange luisteraars legendariese aanbieders soos Manie Kitching, Bruce McEwan, Anton Smith, Jeannette Geldenhuys, Eddie Goldberg, Pieter du Bois, Eloise Pretorius, James Kilbourn, Angie Khumalo, Riva Schoeman, Tim Thabethe (die huidige programbestuurder), Pieter Möller, Darren Scott en Rian van Heerden onthou. Nog 'n bekende naam, hoewel agter die skerms, was die geliefde Afrikaanse musikant, Lucas Maree, wat die musieksamesteller was.

Albé Grobbelaar, ‘n voormalige besturende direkteur van OFM, sê "ek dink een van die hoofredes vir die stasie se sukses oor die jare, en die luisteraars en kliënte se lojaliteit teenoor die stasie, was nog altyd die feit dat die stasie uit hierdie streek en vir hierdie streek is, met die fokus op plaaslike musiek. Daarbenewens kon OFM, met talentvolle mense in programme, nuus, produksie, tegnies en in die bestuursspan, voortdurend aanpas by nuwe uitdagings. Die stasie kan baie trots wees op al die mense wat groot hoogtes bereik het in die uitsaaiwese (radio en televisie) in die nasionale mark, regoor die land, gebaseer op die fondamente wat gelê is en wat hulle in hul loopbaan by OFM geleer het."

EINDE

Vir meer besonderhede, tree in verbinding met Lindiwe Mtwentula by 051 5050 900, 082 416 1665, of lindiwe@ofm.co.za.


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