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End of an era for Lotus FM stalwarts

“I have been blessed to have been able in my small way give something back to our culture, religion and music,” said Sagren Naidoo. Picture: Facebook

“I have been blessed to have been able in my small way give something back to our culture, religion and music,” said Sagren Naidoo. Picture: Facebook

Published Apr 4, 2021


Durban - Legends of radio this week bid farewell to fans and colleagues at Lotus FM.

Among those who have left a legacy at the 38-year-old radio station were Sagren Naidoo, Suresh Harilal, Byron David, Tansen Nepaul and Deon Chetty.

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Over 600 employees left the SABC on Wednesday, among them 346 employees who had opted for voluntary severance packages, while 275 people were in positions that were now redundant. This was after the public broadcaster concluded its Section 189 retrenchment process.

Naidoo, who started at the station in 1989 as a senior music compiler, said he didn’t realise the impact he had made until he received calls this week from listeners.

“I was doing what I loved best as a music compiler, religious producer and working with broadcasters covering a full spectrum of radio. I worked with some of the stalwarts of radio like BK Chinnah, Sergie Naidoo and Amitha Anand. It’s been a wonderful journey and lots of wonderful memories. It has been a rich experience.

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“I have been blessed to have been able in my small way give something back to our culture, religion and music,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo, who has a musical background, made his first appearance on stage in a school choir, later performed in eisteddfods and was a member of the Padma Group.

“I travelled around the country and met local and international artists. I also conducted music workshops to uplift local artists in terms of knowledge sharing.”

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While at Lotus, Naidoo focused on South African artists and visiting international artists.

After 32 years at the SABC, seasoned technical producer Tansen Nepaul took early retirement. Nepaul said sometimes one had to hope for the best.

“We didn’t expect this. I plan to do a lot of things, like music production. I have skills to teach music and conduct workshops on technical broadcast related issues,” he said.

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Nepaul has been involved in programming, recording programmes, packaging material, recording adverts.

“At Lotus FM I started as a music producer. I managed to raise the South African Indian music content from 2 to 16% which was not an easy feat as it required long hours and late nights,” he said.

Nepaul has recorded more than 2000 songs with various artists and composed original music for more than 300.

Over the years he also worked as a programme executive and stepped in as the acting station manager at Lotus FM for a year. He moved back to the operations technical department where he remained.

“My work took me to different communities and I experienced their various cultures, lifestyles and music. This helped me to grow, understand and appreciate the South African rainbow nation in all its beauty,” he said.

After 17 years Deon Chetty also signed off for the last time.

“It was emotional leaving after such a tremendous ride, from meeting listeners to international artists and the president,” he said.

Chetty started off recording voice overs and was taught how to edit.

“I then got into production and after a few months I was offered a night-time show on Lotus FM as well as being the stations imaging and technical person. Another break was presenting the on weekends.

“I then got into a full-time position to record and edit radio drama. My biggest achievement was winning the Technology Awards in 2017. Over the years, lots of memories have been created,” said Chetty, who will be taking a break before deciding on what to do.

David, of Queensburgh, started as an intern in 2008 and moved through the ranks. He had the opportunity to present the breakfast show and afternoon drive show to producing the morning show for O’neil Nair. He was also assistant music compiler.

Prior to leaving, David hosted the weekend sports show and presented the English classics on a Friday evening. “Radio is all I’ve known and wanted to do. I would want to get back into radio,” he said.

David said he was disappointed that he had to leave.

“Radio was something I wanted to do since high school. I studied media and communications to help me achieve that dream. I have achieved it somewhat, but working in one station is not enough in my opinion,” said David.

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