They say idle hands are the Devil’s playground. After resigning from a job that kept his face in a lot of homes on most Sundays of the year, this Idols judge’s hands now have new toys.
Ones he takes very seriously. Gareth Cliff presents #Invest, an opportunity for the regular Joe or Jill to get in on the stock markets.
“#Invest is really the first opportunity for ordinary people – and by ‘ordinary people’ I mean those of us who don’t have millions of rands to put up in the stock market – to get involved,” Cliff explains.
“We do a daily stock market update with Anthea Gardner on the morning show,” he continues.
“When we were doing it a long time ago, I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could give people some skin in the game’.
“People want to be able to say: ‘that’s my portfolio going up’ or ‘that’s my value being run into the ground’. It makes you a world citizen and it also makes you a member of what has, up to now, been a small elite.
“Now, if we could bring all our listeners – and there are hundreds of thousands of those – even with small amounts on the stock market, it means we would become pretty influential as a group and it means that we would have a real say in the future of our economy, not just from the bottom, but from the top.”
Cliff is proud of how the beginning of #Invest is set up because he says: “It’s got to be accessible. It can’t be someone putting up their life’s savings.
“We’re very aware of the fact that most people at this stage of this economy do not have a lot of disposable income. Anthea has built up a relationship with our audience since we started and she really knows her stuff.”
As one of the most recognisable voices and faces in the country, Cliff has managed to align the brand he’s built with business ventures that not a lot of people were looking at. Like when he partnered with WeChat.
“It’s incredible how far we’ve come with Cliff Central being two-and-a-half years old now,” he excitedly says.
“And Touch Central coming along beautifully with it being in its third month now. I’m very proud. The internet is the future.”
Now, Cliff does things like travel to Silicon Valley to stay on the pulse of the next wave. So although he’s saying goodbye to Idols SA, Cliff is waving hello to new opportunities. Having caught up with him shortly after returning to South Africa from New York with the singing competition’s Top 4, Cliff said he was proud to have been a part of the show.
“The judges weren’t really invited on the trip (to New York),” says Cliff.
“I organised for the Top 4 to meet Harry Connick jr through a contact of mine at NBC. I just thought it was the perfect way to end things on a high. It was a very classy way to close it off.
“I thought, ‘you can’t get better than that. Let me quit while I’m ahead’. I felt like the show is terrific, we have done a lot of amazing things together. I’m very proud of our contribution to South African television.”
In addition to his business interests, Cliff will also be putting out a semi-autobiographical book this month. Titled Cliffhanger, it will hit book stores on November 28. The book has “got the whole story. Everything behind the scenes on radio, on Idols, on freedom of expression and where we’re going.
“It’s partly autobiographical, but it’s mostly storytelling.”
Tune in to The Gareth Cliff Show on Cliff Central from 6am to 9am every morning to learn more about #Invest.