It’s a funny thing. I don’t know what it is about Cape Town, but politics seem very far away — even the big politics. In Joburg I’d bang my head on the door at every bad ripple in the political landscape, but somehow, in someway, it doesn’t get to you as much down south in the fishing village. I need to analyse this some more to work out what exactly is going on here. Maybe it’s just me.

They say you can tell quite a bit about a place by listening to the people who call in on talk radio shows. So it’s been interesting to note the differences between the two sister news and talk radio stations, Cape Town’s Cape Talk 567 vs Johannesburg’s Radio 702.

The country was rocked this weekend by the sudden resignation of its president, so on my way to work I switched on Cape Talk 567 at about 8am, hungry for more news, reaction, insight and analysis — looking for the kind of hard-hitting, pacy stuff that I’m used to getting on 702. Well, I didn’t really find that:

  • I turned on the radio to find a rather light, relaxed show featuring a call-in, where listeners were phoning in to describe how they felt about the news. It was short of the expert commentary and interviews with major players you would expect with what is the biggest political event in this country’s history since the fall of Apartheid. Not even a special broadcast or show this morning? Hell no!
  • One caller changed the subject entirely, wanting to talk more about a recent airshow than the country’s sacked president. The presenter, Aden Thomas, obliged and himself went off on a short tangent about this particular airshow. Another then phoned in to tell us about his plane flight the other day. And another guy followed up with his contribution to the crisis, telling us about a poster which had been vandalised, saying Cape Town mayor Helen Zille should be the new president. Not too much then about the biggest political event in this country’s history since the fall of Apartheid?
  • The presenter, Aden Thomas, seemed friendly and jovial enough — but in comparison to 702’s John Robbie, just lacked the serious, incisive punch that the morning news needs, especially when it comes to covering the biggest political event in this country’s history since the fall of Apartheid.
  • In amongst the relaxed, jovial laughter, there was also mention by Thomas about how the presidential change was affecting Capetonians in particular, because that of course is the nub of the issue. Then a light-hearted “Joburg vs Capetown” comment with regards to the weather. On 702, it’s interesting how I rarely hear comparisons to Cape Town or mention of 702 as a Joburg station — stories and news always have a national feel.

It was a light salad, with no salad dressing. I was after a thick juicy fillet, that needed dissection and consumption. A reflection perhaps of two different cities? Or just a reflection of two different radio operations? Oh well, another day in Cape Town, back to the beautiful mountain scenery then.

7 Responses to “Cape Talk 567 vs Joburg's 702”
  1. His name’s “Aden”.

    Content at 567 isn’t determined only by the presenter, so it’s the station’s collective leadership that drives programming.

    I left SAFM because I got tired of listening to aggressive black men and complaining white men. Their topic “slots” are also too long.

    Most of the 140 000 Cape Talk listeners are white and conservative. I would rather hear their “human interest” stories than their reactionary views on political matters.

    Cape Talk’s choice is to stay cerebral and not grow, or shrivel to the 90 000 and less they were 5 years ago, or they can grow into the brown/black/women catchment. That means more human interest stuff, and less of the political stuff – more entertainment and less pseudo-cerebral chattering (which is what all party politics is).

    I’m a very political person, and I’ve been a community “activist” for decades. What happens in the ANC may be newsworthy, but I’d rather hear about the air show, as the political stuff is carried on the Web, TV and newspapers, anyway. I’m more interested in civil servants being fired, than in a President being fired.

    What you call “big politics” is just parochial jostling for power, and places at the feeding trough. I agree that radio documentaries would be great – I can only take talk radio up to 9am, and after 4pm till 6pm.

    I also prefer BBC for news. But where does one buy a portable SW or MW radio? I can’t pick up the BBC in Stellenbosch, where I work (next to La Colline).

    –Henri

  2. Matthew that is why we in Cape Town are happier and live the good life, we focus on whats important, i am sure you will find out soon enough.

  3. You were after a juicy fillet?

    Sounds like you were looking for something with a little more backbone…

  4. Wha?
    Bru?
    Politics, hey?
    Ja, sjoe.
    Nooit, man.
    Analyse the reaons?

    Cape of Good Dope.

  5. the age old divide between northern mentality – when it is industrial and southern mentality – when its coastal = two different worlds really – not surprising at all!

  6. In my experience in Cape Town the only radio station with half decent content (and I must stress the word HALF there) is the Afrikaans station RSG. I really despise these phone-in radio stations. Who gives a monkeys about what Joe Bloggs in the street thinks about anything? I want to know what the clever people are saying. Which is why I still listen to BBC radio online on a regular basis. In fact I bet if you could tune in to the Today programme on BBC in your car this morning, you would have found exactly what you wanted… even though it is based in London.

    And while I’m on a rant, why can no radio station in SA be bothered to make documentaries? Why must we always be listening to Eddie from Ficksburg ranting on about banalities?

  7. Bear in mind that this weekend Cape Town had it’s first weekend of really fantastic weather, so most of Capetonians were busy with being outside, enjoying the weekend.

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