As VOC gears up for its busiest month of the year, the station also takes time out to reflect on an important milestone – the one year anniversary of the 91.3fm frequency. Thursday 19th June will mark one year since VOC officially went live on the new independent, unshared frequency, bringing to an end three years of perseverance and hard work behind the scenes.
This year VOC also marks its 20th Ramadan on air and the 15th year of the station’s community outreach project, Ahlan Wasahlan. To celebrate, VOC staff and its structures will get together at Chateux La Baroness for a thikr and dinner, to broadcast live on air from Esha until 9pm.
“91.3fm is indeed a blessing for everyone. It came at an opportune time where we were preparing for Ramadan and our content was so well received. Without much branding and a two month window period to migrate our listeners, we are really grateful for those who changed their frequency with us,” said VOC programme manager Mishka Daries.
Figures by the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF), released out every three months, hardly showed a drop in listener statistics. VOC on 91.3fm is currently stable at 200 000 listeners over a 7 day cycle, a feat that was even praised by media analysts.
“Since 91.3fm was active, we have received 67 000 downloads on iono.fm – our podcast system. The most downloaded audio was the passing and tribute programmes dedicated to former programme manager, the late Munadia Karaan. This is followed by Real Man in second and third position for the shows “Make your wife feel like a lady” and “Understanding your love language”.
VOC’s SMS Line boasts more than 45 500 smses during this period while phone-ins to VOC doubled since its move to the new frequency.
“In hindsight, the move to 91.3fm was a smooth transition, probably because VOC was broadcasting every day in the Boland areas. The challenge ahead is to attract a more youthful audience and also promoting VOC via social media like Facebook and Twitter. It’s a long way to go but we’ve been the pioneer in Muslim radio in South Africa and I’m sure we won’t stop there,” Daries continued.
For VOC News editor Tasneem Adams, the biggest test this past year was “being thrown into the deep end” by filling the role played by Karaan as the station’s webmaster. But Adams said the station was looking forward to a new era of online media, with the launch of the station’s newly branded website in the coming weeks.
“A website makeover is a long over due and we are very excited. We are currently in the redesign process and we hope the website will reflect the changing face of VOC and the 91.3fm frequency,” Adams related.
For VOC’s sales department, the past year has been a mind shift change for the station’s loyal clients who had supported the 100.4fm frequency.
“With the old 100.4 frequency on alternate days, it was difficult to sell advertising slots, as clients could not understand that their adverts will only play alternate days in the Cape metropole. From a sales point of view, 91.3fm is the greatest achievement and a real success for VOC,” said sales manager Hassiem Bastra.
One of the biggest advantages of the new frequency is the boost in the signal strength. 91.3fm was a commercial frequency which normally broadcasted at 1 kilowatt. With the frequency reassigned to VOC as a community broadcaster, it operates at 500 watt, five times better than the previous output on 100.4fm, which was only 100 watt.
91.3fm is dominant in the Cape Metropole and covers as far as Worcester. However, the frequency is also supplemented by the 95.8fm frequency in the Boland, 90.9fm in the Two Oceans area and 89.8fm. In addition, the station continues to audiostream on its website www.vocfm.co.za.
VOC station manager Moegsin Khan, who played an instrumental role in the acquisition of the new frequency, said he has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from the community.
“With the grace of the Almighty Allah, we have survived because loyalty of our listeners who supported us in our move from 100.4 to 91.3. The SAARF figures are testimony to their loyalty.” VOC