March is an ominous month for many local radio lovers because it's when most radio line-up shuffles take place, and the latest shuffle has left former Planet Haibo breakfast host Justice "Just-Ice" Ramohlola relegated to the 7.30pm-10pm Monday to Thursday slot.
Ramohlola has been replaced by controversial radio veteran Phat Joe who will now host the coveted 6-9 slot alongside Nonala Tose. Fans of Planet Haibo last week after realising the changes, started the #BringBackIce Twitter campaign, many lamenting the absence of Ramohlola. They had this to say:
I heard ice on the radio around 8pm while driving home late. This is crazy. We need Ice on @Radio2000ZA in the morning when we all are tuned in. #BringBackIce and give us a perfect start to a week day. pic.twitter.com/fcSpwGH1qD— JacobNare (@JacobNare1) April 6, 2019
Take them to 7-10pm slot and bring back JustIce. JustIce is funny,smart with political jokes,he is well informed what is happening around the world,and that's how we want to start our morning. Imagine starting your day with scrabble info,your whole day is a mess#BringBackIce— ❤Thobekile Toh Mchunu❤ (Cakes) (@thobekiletoh) April 8, 2019
I need #BringBackIce iceman— Artisan Kemishi (@Mabotja_K) April 8, 2019
The station has also announced that will begin automating. The station will start playing pre-recorded material during the midnight to 6am slot from May 2019. According to the station’s website, the slot was occupied by Angela Ludek from midnight to 3 am, and Bongani NX from 3 am to 6 am.
Another station completely automating is Sepedi language station Thobela FM, with it doing away with presenters from midnight to 6 am, while only three hours, 3 am to 6 am will be automated at Motsweding FM, the country’s biggest Setswana language station.
Speaking on behalf of the SABC, Vuyo Mthembu said while the station was aware of the Twitter campaign, but that the line-up changes were final. "All radio station line-up changes are final for the 2019/20 financial year," Mthembu said.
On the issue of automations, Mthembu said the strategy would give listeners more variety.
"There are a few radio stations including Radio 2000, Motsweding FM, Thobela FM who will be automating. This decision offers alternative creative content in the form of pre-produced content, " she said.
While Radio 2000 seems to be forging ahead full steam ahead, this recent polled tweet seems to suggest that listeners aren't quite enjoying themselves:
I am not gonna pretend as if I will listen to @Radio2000ZA in the mornings. This survey is just useless. You removed Bongani NX and Just Ice and I am gone. I come back just for the King @DavidMashabela and @robertmarawa ...hayi nidinyisile shame without the toilet paper futhi— S🅾️ŇW🅰️🅱️îSØ ™️🇿🇦 (@Sobzaa) April 6, 2019
What's the use of this poll if you're not going to do anything about the results?— Justinous Sello (@joemajuba) April 5, 2019
Insomniacs like me were happy with Bongani NX. I can't stand this music as if am playing a USB! As for Just Ice I'm defeated. I think you don't understand your market qha!— nomthandazo (@nomthipitso) April 5, 2019