Shakeup at SABC as Robert Marawa finally returns to radio

09 March 2018 - 14:10 By Mninawa Ntloko And Mahlatse Mphahlele
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Radio and Television personality Robert Marawa.
Radio and Television personality Robert Marawa.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali. 30/01/0. ©201 Sunday Times

Popular sportscaster Robert Marawa is set to join Radio 2000 next month as the host of a new two-hour sports show between 5pm and 7pm on week days that will take the fight to his former employers Metro FM.

Insiders told TimesLIVE that news of Marawa’s decision to join Radio 2000 set off the alarm bells at Metro FM and the station is attempting to counter the impending threat to its listenership by trying to convince TV presenter Thomas Mlambo to take over the Ultimate Sports Show‚ which is being hosted Udo Carelse and Mpho Maboi between 6pm and 7:30pm on week days.

It seems Metro FM will be made to rue their decision to part ways with Marawa as he is to be part of a new strong lineup at Radio 2000 that includes popular DJ Glen Lewis taking over the afternoon drive slot.

Insiders said Andile Ncube‚ who is the current host of the 6pm to 7pm slot on Radio 2000 will be offered a position as a sports newsreader.

Millions of radio listeners have complained bitterly on social media since Marawa and Metro FM parted ways acrimoniously last year in July and the veteran sportscaster’s decision to rather join in-house rivals Radio 2000 will ignite an unprecedented battle for the sports airwaves.

When approached for comment on Friday‚ Marawa said he was knee deep in homework projects with his son and had no idea what was going on at the SABC.

Mlambo referred all inquiries to SABC’s acting head of radio Orapeleng Lebethe when he was contacted for comment on Friday.

And when Lebethe was contacted for comment‚ he said he had no knowledge of the impending reshuffle and in turn referred inquiries to SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

“I don’t know anything about Thomas (Mlambo) moving to the Ultimate Sports Show on Metro FM‚ you must check with Bra Kaizer (Kganyago) because he is the one who speaks on behalf of SABC‚” Lebethe said.

Kganyago said he did not want to feed into the rumour machine and added that that he would be more willing to open up after the radio stations in question have announced their new line-ups next month.

“That (Mlambo joining Metro FM) is a rumour and until it is confirmed by the station it will remain just that‚” Kganyago said.

“You must remember that every year around this time‚ there are line-up changes and for that to happen stations interact with various people.

“As an example‚ if I engage you‚ it does not mean that you will get a slot and we will only be able to make announcements after people have signed on the dotted line.”

Kganyago was equally noncommittal when asked about Marawa joining Radio 2000.

“I don’t have an answer to that and I am saying that deliberately because I don’t want to feed to the speculations‚” he said.

“Once the stations have finalized their line-ups‚ we will be able to talk.

Marawa and Metro FM had a bitter split last year over a disagreement about the suspension of his trusted producer‚ Beverley Maphangwa.

The standoff played out in the public spotlight and after more than a decade with the station‚ he walked out of the gates at Auckland Park for the last time in July last year.

But Marawa’s absence from the radio airwaves has been a constant source of unhappiness for the listeners and they have continued to communicate their discontent to the SABC.

Some have gone as far starting petitions demanding his reinstatement and after the SABC appointed Chris Maroleng as chief operations officer last month‚ they stepped up the pressure and demanded Marawa’s return.

It seem they have finally got their wish the listeners will be the main beneficiaries of the battle of the airwaves.

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