South Africa’s commercial radio stations

A guide to South Africa’s commercial radio stations, which includes what each offers, what frequency to tune into and where the broadcasting areas are.

south africa commercial radio stations
South Africa’s commercial radio stations include Metro FM, Jacaranda FM and Kaya FM. (Image: Jacaranda FM, Facebook)

Brand South Africa reporter
Under apartheid, South Africa had only two independent radio stations. With the deregulation of broadcasting in the late 1990s, the number of commercial stations operating outside of state control proliferated.

In 1996 six lucrative SABC stations were privatised: Gauteng’s 947 and Radio Jacaranda, KwaZulu-Natal’s East Coast Radio, the Western Cape’s KFM 94.5, the Eastern Cape’s Radio Algoa and the Free State’s OFM. The government raised over R500-million as the stations were licensed to various black-controlled groups.

In early 1997 eight new commercial radio licences were granted for broadcasting in South Africa’s three biggest cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Applicants targeting black audiences with new formats were generally favoured, with two “smooth jazz” licences, Heart 104.9 in Cape Town and Igagasi 99.5 in Durban; one urban youth station, YFM; and one urban contemporary station, Kaya FM. The remaining four licences went to an English-language talk station, CapeTalk 567; two Afrikaans talk stations, Punt in Cape Town and Durban; and a classical music station, Classic FM.

Metro FM

Broadcast in English, Metro FM is the largest national commercial station in South Africa, targeting 25- to 34-year-old black urban adults – who its owner the SABC describes as “trendy, innovative, progressive and aspirational”. While the station does have some information and educational aspects, the focus is firmly on contemporary international music – hip-hop, R&B, kwaito and more.

  • Frequency: 96.4 FM
  • Metro FM website
  • Broadcast area: Metropolitan areas of Gauteng, Limpopo, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape
  • Audience (past seven days): 5.26-million
  • Language: English
  • Offers live internet audio

Jacaranda FM

One of the largest independent commercial stations and also broadcasting in Gauteng, Jacaranda offers a mix of more easy-listening adult contemporary music and news.

East Coast Radio

East Coast broadcasts a mix of music and news to Durban and throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

Yfm

Home of Kwaito and the “Y Generation”, Y is the country’s most popular youth station. Yfm has a self-imposed 50% local music quota – more than any other radio station in the country. It works in partnership with New York-based Masters At Work, who have released SA artists into the US and Europe as part of YFM’s ongoing commitment to South African music and culture.

5FM

The SABC’s trendy youth-oriented station, 5FM’s emphasis is on the latest music, movies and South African youth trends. Broadcasting in English to South Africa’s metropolitan areas, its music styles are international, and include a strong component of South African artists of world standard.

947 (previously known as 94.7 Highveld Stereo)

Popular home of Anele’s Breakfast Club, 947 broadcasts a mix of contemporary music that connects with Joburg. It is owned by Primedia Broadcasting.

  • Frequency: 94.7 FM
  • 947 website
  • Broadcast area: Gauteng
  • Audience (past seven days): 1.18-million
  • Language: English
  • Owned by: Primedia

Kaya FM

Kaya FM provides an African-focused adult contemporary and jazz format, with a mix of music and talk. One of the country’s newest radio stations, Kaya broadcasts throughout Gauteng.

Good Hope FM

Cape Town’s largest radio station, the SABC’s Good Hope FM plays contemporary music ranging from R&B, ballads and pop through to hip hop, dance, jazz and old school. With a broadcast footprint covering metropolitan Cape Town, Langebaan, Malmesbury, Wellington, Paarl, Franchhoek, Stellenbosch and Gordon’s Bay, it targets the 22- to 32-year-old age group.

Algoa FM

Algoa FM’s music and news is broadcast to the entire Eastern Cape region.

702

702 is Gauteng’s number-one current affairs and information station, offering news, sport, business and actuality programming – and lots of phone-in debate. Established in 1980, it was initially a youth music station, moving to the more adult talk format in 1988. During the apartheid era it was one of the only independent sources of broadcast news. The station is owned by Primedia.

CapeTalk 567

Broadcasting on Medium Wave 567, CapeTalk is Cape Town’s first talk radio station. CapeTalk promises to bring you all the news, views, sport, weather, traffic and information you need. It is owned by Primedia.

Classic FM

Based on the UK station, Classic FM has been broadcasting classical music throughout Gauteng since September 1997. Through their partnership with Business Day, the station offers in-depth business coverage each week night from 6pm. There are also lifestyle features, news, financial updates, sport, and interviews with local artists and composers.

Kfm 94.5

With the tagline “The most music. Feel Great”, Kfm 94.5 broadcasts adult contemporary music in the Western Cape and as far afield as Alexander Bay and the Northern Cape. It is owned by Primedia.

OFM

The commercial regional station of the Free State (a province with the name Orange Free State before 1994, hence the O), OFM broadcasts adult contemporary music.

Radio 2000

To the listener, Radio 2000 is a laid back and non-intrusive radio station. Radio 2000, being a facility station, relies heavily on sports broadcasts. The result is that its listenership fluctuates, since it is often based on national and international sports events.

  • Frequency: 97.2 to 100.2 FM
  • Radio 2000 website
  • Broadcast area: All provinces, except the Northern Cape
  • Audience (past seven days): 151 000
  • Language: English

Channel Africa

The international radio service of the SABC offers a multilingual source of information on Africa – with news, music and sports. Broadcasts are in Chinyanja, Silozi, Kiswahili, English, French and Portuguese, with shortwave broadcasts covering south, east, central and west Africa, satellite broadcasts covering the sub-Saharan region – and internet broadcasts covering the entire world.

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