Powerful women in the media and training avenues for broadcasting

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After her popularity last year, it’s no surprise that The Future Is Female is returning to Radio Days Africa in style this year. Renowned journalist Claire Mawisa returned to speak with a panel of female broadcasters and media professionals, mainly about their journey to where they are today, as well as the challenges they have had to overcome in the process. of road.

Panelists Joanne Joseph (media personality and author), Motshidisi Mohono (SuperSport presenter), Nongcebo McKenzie (Ukhozi FM presenter) and Rorisang Setlogelo (Roth Media CEO) didn’t hesitate, jumping straight into the subject of the performance. female in their respective fields.

Joseph was asked about her departure from the 702’s Afternoon Drive show last year, which she referred to in line with a management decision to shift to programming that favors men. She began by saying that “it was a brave choice for them to put a woman on Drive,” but Mawisa was quick to ping the statement, asking if that should still be a big deal in 2021. A collective sea of ​​understanding smiles swept across the panel in response, and the stage was set for each contributor to share their experiences one at a time.

Setlogelo spoke of the under-representation as something that drove her to create and make her advertising agency – which is now celebrating its tenth year in business – one of the best on the continent. “I had a huge problem of under-representation [of women], “she said.” One of the biggest challenges was finding myself in the room to present our services.

She remembered that she had felt like begging for a very long time. Things have changed since then, and these days she is happy to deal directly with more female decision-makers across the range of agency clients.

Mohono may not have dealt with too many female colleagues in her journey to become one of Supersport’s most popular rugby presenters, but she knows all too well the challenges of being a black woman in this. which has traditionally been an area dominated by white males. “High school already taught me that you have to play twice as much to be noticed,” she began. “I didn’t know it then, but it prepared me for the job I do today.”

As someone who has a lot of experience talking to millions of people on the radio, McKenzie is also someone who is well prepared for the job she does every day. She continues to make waves as one of the leading women in the African broadcast space.

She spoke less of her own rise, choosing to focus more on the responsibility of being able to influence a large group of people. “Respect every listener you talk to,” she said. “Be with them as much as they are with you at this time.” She claims that you are only as good as your last link, and the same could apply to your last post online, which can be taken at face value by a young person with their own dreams and aspirations.

The session was filled with so many amazing pearls of wisdom, it’s worth going back and listening to the podcast recording if you missed it. A last thought from Mohono ended the discussion so delicately. Speaking about ways for women to “take it to the next level” in their own fields, she mentioned the importance of watching and learning from people. [women] you love and revere. It comes with a slight caveat, however. “Don’t imitate,” she added. “You are you, after all”.

QBE against the classroom

The afternoon session on Day 3 was titled QBE vs. The Classroom, with Neil Johnson, Trainer and Media Consultant, moderating an interesting discussion on the different training paths that lead to a career in broadcasting, and whether enough is being done in modern boardrooms to prepare adequately provide students with the skills they need to have sustainable careers in the field.

The panel for this conversation included Grant Nash (Head of Creative Solutions at Primedia Broadcasting and Head of Radio Knowledge at Boston Media House), Alan Finlay (Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Wits University) and Mzoxolo Jojwana (Head of Programming at 702).

Johnson was quick to set the scene, noting that the discussion would focus on the human resources, education, training and development elements of broadcasting.

A hot topic in this space is the continued prevalence of layoffs and restructuring due to station revenues not meeting targets. Naturally, there is a ripple effect on training and development, and Covid-19 has presented a whole new layer of challenges for resorts around the world.

“It’s been a while since it’s been coming,” said Jojwana. “It’s a continuous conversion, and you assess where you are at every turn.” Nash echoed those sentiments. “Our American counterparts experienced the advertising slowdown ten years ago, and we are somewhat in the same space now.” According to him, the only way out is to continue to innovate as much as possible.

While unable to comment on the broadcast landscape, Finlay shared information about the decline in print sales across the continent. While this has led to the increase in juniorization in the industry, he was quick to mention that all was not bad news.

He described the key changes in the transformation as a big bright spot in recent years. “At the level of editors and staff, there are significant changes,” he said, referring to the fact that there are more black editors in place than ever before. These changes signal a move towards better alignment in a multi-faceted market, although it must be said that there are still low levels of transformation in general at the board level, particularly in the mainstream media. country.

The panel was eager to discuss their views on ‘skilled by experience’ training versus formal education in journalism or broadcasting. Jojwana actually studied journalism, and despite his advocacy for on-the-job training, he credits this degree to what allowed him to gain a foothold in the industry. Nash made his debut at TUKS FM, mentioning that he often tells people that the experience earned him a “college radio degree” (in addition to a formal qualification in English).

“I am a strong supporter of community stations as our best friends, not our adversaries,” he told the panel and the delegates in attendance. Finlay was quick to add that these stations “attract a large audience” and that campus radio is an important training ground for anyone looking to enter the industry.

Nash is so passionate that he co-wrote and published a manual with Justine Cullinan to deliver a mature and context-specific radio training program to radio stars in training. “We need more books written locally and adapted to the local market,” he added. “There are fundamental cultural differences in the way stories are told here, compared to the rest of the world.”

Jojwana agrees and wishes to see radio at the forefront of the media in South Africa for many years to come. According to him, we must also contribute as industry practitioners keen to tell stories by South Africans, for South Africans. The same should be true for the African continent as a whole.

“The job is also to enrich the young,” added Jojwana at the end of the session. “I don’t think we’re doing enough. It’s our job, as people already in the industry, to really focus on closing that gap ”.


Conrad Schwellnus is a freelance writer specializing in content, ghost and fiction projects.


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