South Africa’s public broadcasting radio stations

Here’s a list of South Africa’s public broadcasting radio stations.

south africa's public broadcasting radio stations
To listen to a radio station that speaks your language, visit the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s radio guide. (Image: Pexels.com)

Brand South Africa reporter
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is responsible for public-service broadcasting in South Africa.

While wholly owned by the state, the corporation is financially independent of taxpayers’ money, deriving its income from advertising and licence fees in a ratio of four to one.

The corporation’s public broadcasting arm includes cultural services in all 11 official languages, as well as stations for South Africa’s Indian (Lotus FM) and San (XK FM) communities. By far the largest radio station in South Africa is Ukhozi FM, the SABC’s isiZulu cultural service, with 6.38-million listeners a week.

Below is a guide to all of the SABC’s public-service broadcasting stations. To listen to a station online, go to AntRadio.

Ukhozi FM

By far South Africa’s largest radio station, broadcasting in isiZulu, the country’s largest language group, Ukhozi – meaning “eagle” – is a semi-national adult contemporary radio station with a public broadcasting mandate. The station offers news, music, current affairs, talk shows, education, sport, weather and traffic. Music includes jazz, R&B, kwaito, house, gospel and African traditional. A significant part of programming targets the youth, who form a third of the total station audience.

SAfm

“The station for the well-informed.” SAfm is the English-language SABC radio service which covers the news and canvasses the opinions of the country. In accordance with its mandate as the English-language SABC public broadcasting service, SAfm also explores broader themes and subjects relevant to its target market and delivers the information in a manner to benefit all South Africans.

Radio Sonder Grense

The SABC’s national Afrikaans cultural service, Radio Sonder Grense – meaning “radio without borders” – targets the white, coloured and Indian market, offering news, current affairs, sport, lifestyle, education and music – alles in een – sonder grense. The format is primarily talk and current affairs, interspersed with soft pop and rock hits, 60% of which are English and 40% Afrikaans.

Lotus FM

Lotus FM is a metropolitan, music- and talk-focused Indian lifestyle station, reflecting the music, culture and lifestyle of the progressive South African Indian community. With the pay-off line “Not everything is black and white”, the station emphasises both the South African and Indian identity of its listeners.

  • Frequency: 87.7 – 106.8 FM
  • Lotus FM website
  • Broadcast area: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Port Elizabeth
  • Audience (past seven days): information not available
  • Language: Broadcasting in English, but the station also provides entertaining language shows, teaching listeners to speak in their mother tongue – Tamil, Urdu, Hindi, Telegu and Gujurati.
  • Offers live internet audio

Umhlobo Wenene

The SABC’s isiXhosa cultural service and the second-largest radio station in South Africa, Umhlobo Wenene means “a true friend”. The format includes news, current affairs, talk shows, education, sport, weather and traffic, with jazz, R&B, kwaito, house, gospel and African traditional music.

Lesedi FM

Lesedi FM is a semi-national cultural service, broadcasting to an audience ranging in age from 16 to 49 living in urban and rural African communities. The largest Sesotho radio station in South Africa, Lesedi FM is a needs-driven participatory radio station, with regular programming that touches on issues with a direct bearing on economic and personal empowerment.

Thobela FM

An African contemporary music radio station with an element of talk, Thobela FM is the SABC’s Sepedi cultural service, targeting 25- to 49-year-old black South Africans in Limpopo. According to the SABC, they are “upwardly mobile, very progressive, have access to the internet, enjoy eating out and have high regard for family values and traditional cultural identity”. Thobela is a traditional Pedi greeting.

Motsweding

A Setswana community service station, Motsweding – meaning “fountain” – offers news, music, current affairs, talk shows, education, sport, weather and traffic, aimed at an African audience aged from 16 to 49. The music is contemporary: jazz, R&B, kwaito, house, gospel and African traditional. The SABC describes it as South Africa’s “only R&B vernacular radio station”.

  • Frequency: 87.9 – 107.9 FM
  • Motsweding website
  • Broadcast area: North West, Northern Cape, Gauteng Province, Free State and growing in parts of Limpopo and some parts of Mpumalanga.
  • Audience: Over 2.6-million listeners
  • Language: Setswana
  • Offers live internet audio

Ligwalagwala

A siSwati cultural service, Ligwalagwala broadcasts news, music, current affairs, talk shows, education, sport, weather and traffic. The music includes jazz, R&B, kwaito, house, gospel and African traditional music. The station targets young, literate, aspirational and upwardly mobile black people living mainly in Mpumalanga area, with the primary target market being 25- to 49-year-olds.

Munghana Lonene

Broadcast in xiTsonga, Munghana Lonene – “my true friend” – targets a 24- to 34-year-old African audience. “It leads and supports the aspirations of its listeners while ensuring contemporary societal norms and values,” the SABC says. The station has a 50% split of talk and music: jazz, R&B, kwaito, house, gospel and African traditional.

Ikwekwezi FM

Based in Pretoria and broadcasting in isiNdebele, Ikwekwezi is a cultural service offering news, music, current affairs, talk shows, education, sports, weather and traffic. The average age of listeners is 33 and music styles include jazz, R&B, kwaito, house, gospel and African traditional music.

Phalaphala FM

Phalaphala FM is a contemporary radio station targeting 16- to 34-year-old aspirational and upwardly mobile Tshivenda-speaking people in Limpopo and Gauteng, an audience the SABC describes as “future decision-makers”.

Other public broadcasting radio stations are:
Good Hope FM, 94 – 97 FM
It is based in the Western Cape.

Radio 2000, 97.2 – 100 FM
Although its footprint is national, the station is based in Johannesburg.

Tru FM – see its Frequency Finder
This Eastern Cape-based radio station targets youth who speaks isiXhosa and English.

5 FM – see its Frequency Finder
Although its footprint is national, the station is based in Johannesburg.

Metro FM – see its Frequency Finder
Its footprint is national, but the station is based in Johannesburg.

Springbok Radio – see its Frequency Finder
This station is based in the Northern Cape.

X-K FM – see its Frequency Finder
This radio station broadcasts in the Khoi- and San indigenous languages !Xu and Khwe between 06:00 and 18:00.

Channel Africa – see its Frequency Finder
Its mandate is to support South Africa’s Foreign Policy enshrined in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s vision and mission.

Sources: South African Broadcasting Corporation, AntRadio and Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa.

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