T he not-so-hidden secret behind the buzz surrounding the Massiv Metro taxi radio station is finely tuned radio programming.
Hybrid radio station Massiv Metro is the brainchild of top-rated deejay DJ Sbu and Massiv Media, the 2017 Media Owner of the Year Award winner, that streams live in Johannesburg taxi ranks and taxis, and online at www.massivmetro.com. It’s designed to operate through a unique device installed in taxis that streams content at no cost to the captive audience in the taxis, tapping into the commuter market while they queue in taxi ranks and travel in taxis. The station is currently available in 1,000 taxis in eight major ranks in Gauteng, reaching 840,000 taxi passengers per six-day week. Over the last eight months, the radio station has gained unprecedented support and interest due to the powerful line-up of leading deejays and presenters, high local music content, and engaging, meaningful content that listeners can relate to.
The Massiv Metro strategic plan includes free streaming on cell phones nationwide, with zero rating from cellular partners in year two, and nationwide rollout with replication through Africa in year three. Key to the future success of the station is the fact that the deejays have a stake in the station.
Faith Mangope, head of programming of Massiv Metro and former anchor on e.tv’s Sunrise show, is the key driver behind the programme planning for Massiv Metro. She talks about the target market. “Taxi commuters include people from all walks of life, students, workers, executives, mamas and gogos, male and female, old and young. The one thing they all have in common is purpose. They are going somewhere, they have an objective in mind, and they are happening. We call them the ‘purpose market’ – and we are relevant to this market because we understand them; we use banter, language, and content that engages with mass market South Africa from community life to urban city dwelling.”
Through accomplished and renowned deejays, the aim of Massiv Metro is to “make our station rocking, real and relevant, and to speak to our audience in a way that will inspire them to fulfill their purpose for the day – seven days a week,” says Mangope.
In designing content, Massiv Metro looks at what’s current, at what would set them apart from other radio stations. “Our content recognises that the commuters are intelligent, thinking, participating people. Our programming has to be rocking enough to make them ask the taxi driver to switch on. We strictly avoid presenting boring talk,” says Mangope, “and we tailor-make our programmes for our audiences.” Content covers topics of the day, sports, politics, economics, socio-economic issues, and more.
It’s the deejays that make it all happen. “They’re handpicked to be relevant to the market,” says Mangope. “Every one of them is popular – across age groups, economic lines, colour lines, and international borders. They’re articulate and entrepreneurial. They need to be – people from all over Africa, even Europe, must be able to identify with them.”
The line-up includes DJ Sbu – media personality, entrepreneur, philanthropist who offers bursaries and mentorship to learners, and major partner in the Massiv Metro founding team. Following him are Dali & Sonia with the WOKE show from 9am. Fats & Mgedeza take the lunchtime slot with Taxi 1223 GP, a show that is big on comedy and speaks and does everything township. This is followed by Sello Motau – @Djmgedeza – a former taxi driver and established radio deejay. Thembi, much-loved actor and personality, kicks off the five-hour Drive at 3pm, and award-winning musician Zola takes the JAMPAS show in the 5-8pm slot, alongside South African actress and comedian Lihle Msimang.
On the Mark is a special soccer programme featuring soccer star Mark Fish and SuperSport presenter Motshidisi Mohono, together with celebrity guests, that covers both local and international soccer on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11-12. This highly popular show is a joint venture with Soccer Laduma, which also includes soccer news and views throughout the day – weekends and week days.
Weekends and late nights on Massiv Metro feature special line-ups with the station’s popular deejays as well as guest deejays, who chat, entertain, engage, and play a range of music that covers urban hip-hop, kwaito, house, maskandi, mbaqanga, reggae, soul, and other uplifting African sounds.
“We have a team of perfectionists,” she adds. “It’s exciting to see the effort they put into their work, to witness them giving their best every day. They want to deliver, to have an impact and to change lives. We believe Massiv Metro can offer that platform.”
Mangope says that the radio format allows for continuous testing of the programming content, with feedback monitored and analysed, and programmes constantly evolving to stay aligned with what the commuter market wants. Massiv Metro uses social media extensively for feedback, while also enabling listeners to watch live recordings online, and to see what’s going on, for instance on Instagram. The station has had positive feedback from places as far afield as Turkey, New York, and UAE.