Iconic radio station Capital Radio 604, which broadcast to audiences in KwaZulu-Natal and beyond in the politically turbulent 1980s and 1990s, may soon be back on the medium-wave dial after being off air for the past 17 years.
A group of investors, which includes former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni and broadcasting industry veterans Mark Williams and Kevin Savage, made oral representations to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Thursday as to why Capital Radio 604 (Pty) Ltd should be granted a licence.
Capital Radio, whose original studios were on Transkei’s Wild Coast — in Port St Johns — wants to use the same medium-wave frequency at 603kHz that the station used to broadcast on between 1979 and 1996. It plans to erect a transmitter in Cato Ridge to serve audiences in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
The station had a loyal following in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s as the only source of independent radio news. To this day, it has a loyal fan base, with websites, a podcast and a Facebook page dedicated to it.
If Capital Radio is relaunched, its shareholders will be Mboweni Brothers Investment Holdings (40%), Mark Williams (30%), Kevin Savage (10%), Nick Megen (10%), Tsidi Bishop (5%) and staff (5%).
The station plans to revive the Independent Radio News brand. Music will be centred on the 1980s, though it will broadcast current hits as well as songs from other decades. The audio mix will be “multi-generational”.
In peak times, between 6am and 7pm, it intends offering 65% music and 35% talk. During off-peak hours, music will make up 85% of the mix. Current affairs shows are planned for midday and 6pm, with all-round, seven-minute-long hourly news bulletins during peak times.
Savage says Capital Radio 604 intends offering an AM service and is also keen to launch digital broadcasts using a technology known as digital radio mondiale, or DRM. It will also be available as an Internet radio station at launch.
Content will consist mainly of music, but it will also have a strong news component. It will come up against East Coast Radio, a highly successful, Durban-based commercial radio station owned by Kagiso Media.
Mboweni says the company has already begun talking to potential funders. “As soon as the licence is awarded, we will be able to proceed with efforts already under way to procure the capital that is required.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media