Afrikaans radio celebrates 80 year on air.

10 November 2017

On 27 October 1937 a new era dawned for Afrikaans, when the “B-side” of the SABC’s radio service took to the air. 2017 marks the 80th birthday of Radio Sonder Grense, as it is known today. A lot of changes took place over the last 80 years, not only in the media landscape of South-Africa, but also in the political, socio-economic and technological spheres. Living in South Africa, one can never really escape the Afrikaans language, and many an English listener have also come to love and enjoy RSG.

The festivities.

For their birthday celebrations, RSG decided to take a look at the sound archives of the SABC and listeners could enjoy listening to old favourites. According to station manager, Magdaleen Kruger the reruns of old programmes showcased the changes RSG has undergone throughout their 80 years. “Not everything about Afrikaans Radio was good. Some of the older programmes would cause major upset in today’s world. However, I have come to the conclusion that radio in 2017 is different, but not necessarily better or worse.”

Readers who would like to take a trip down memory lane can download some of RSG’s 80 year Birthday Celebration podcasts here: www.rsg.co.za.

Do you remember?

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Fanus Rautenbach, one of South Africa’s icons in the radio industry.

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Fanus Rautenbach and Leon Schuster, well-known actors, writers and media personalities.

Gerhard Viviers, sports commentator and legend of the Afrikaans radio world.

What makes RSG successful?

RSG’s adaptability and the fact that they always put their listeners first is one of the reasons for their success. RSG places high emphasis on interaction from their listeners. “Listeners must feel at home when listening to RSG, we want to provide them with information in order for them to make good decisions and feel empowered,” says Magdaleen.

How have things changed over 80 years?

Technological advances have brought the most changes for radio as medium. Cell phones, computers , the internet and social media all changed the way RSG interacts with its listeners. “Technology have made RSG global, a lot of expats are dependant on Afrikaans radio for their only connection to ‘home’,” says Magdaleen.

Other changes include:

  • RSG sounds different. It reflects a lot of different forms of Afrikaans
  • The content is more inclusive
  • Music and playlists have become bigger and better
  • Censoring because of ideologies of politics is no longer an issue.

How does today’s RSG look?

RSG caters for a very diverse listenership and have listeners from all imaginable ages, races, genders, level of education, political and religious views. RSG prides itself on being a radio station for all members of the family, from the youngest member to the oldest. According to Magdaleen RSG tries to be “a friendly lady, an entertainer, an university and a well mannered guest in your home, car or gym.”

Although the station still values Christian beliefs, it has shifted from strict Protestant views to accommodate believers from all dominations. It even caters for Muslim listeners
Younger members of the family can listen to a variety of programs. From stories for younger children to advice and music for teenagers.

Music lovers can also find programmes for any and all tastes. From Opera to Boeremusiek.

RSG also has a wide array of Arts and Culture programs, and programmes with input from listeners is very popular.

Few other stations cater for such a broad listenership and for an Afrikaans radio station to ranked as 7th biggest station in the country, when only 13% of the population speak Afrikaans is truly a magnificent feat.