5FM is a South African FM radio station that follows a Top 40 music format and is owned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), South Africa's public broadcaster. The current station manager is JD Mostert, with Siyanda Fikelephi as the Programme Manager.

5FM (2013 logo).gif
Broadcast areaSouth Africa Broadcast Nationwide (via, repeaters)
FrequencyVarious Nationwide, 98.0 FM in Johannesburg
Slogan"The Power of 5"
FormatCHR (Contemporary hit radio)
First air date
13 October 1975 (1975-10-13)
WebcastListen live

Origin and historyEdit

Formerly known as "Radio 5", the station developed from a commercial station, LM Radio, which had been operating from Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) in neighbouring Mozambique.[1] Radio 5 first went on the air on 13 October 1975[2] after Mozambique gained its independence. The station began broadcasting in the medium wave band from transmitters at Welgedacht, Maraisburg, Pietersburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Brackenfell, Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown. The name indicated it was the SABC's fifth national radio channel at that time, after Radio Suid-Afrika, Radio South Africa, Springbok Radio and Radio Bantu.

Re-branded "5FM" in 1992, it has as its current logo a red "5" and superscripted "FM" within a circle and the words "The Power of" inscribed along the upper periphery of the circle. Music is the heart of 5FM's format, supported by news, sports and traffic catering to a wide range of tastes for a youthful market.

The History of Radio 5/5FM From 1975 to 1987Edit

Radio 5 launched on 13 October 1975 from the SABC Broadcast House in Commissioner Street and was later moved into the basement of the Broadcast Centre, Auckland Park in Johannesburg. It had interesting foreign origins!

LM Radio, targeting South Africa's youth from Lourenço Marques in Mozambique had for years been a thorn in the side of the Calvinistic South African Government and its National Broadcaster, the SABC. When LM Radio was shut down by the Frelimo Government the South African Government instructed the SABC to take over the staff and the service.

This was not welcomed by the SABC. They promptly renamed the station Radio 5 and required it to be bilingual with an equal weighting of English and Afrikaans. Music was strictly monitored, controlled and censored. As a commercial radio station it was doomed.

The day after LM's closure, now ex-LM jock Nick Megans reported for duty and (as competently as possible under draconian conditions) presented the first live show on Radio 5 starting at 05:00 on 13 October 1975.

Competition was fierce. Channel 702 broadcasting from Bophuthatswana and Capital 604 in the Transkei were Radio 5's competition.  But this was not enough to change the attitude of the Calvinistic SABC. (Minister of Broadcasting, Albert Hertzog, referred to Radio 5 and the others as stations that played: "Die Duiwel se Musiek" (The Devil's Music).[citation needed]

Channel 702 was renamed Radio 702 and, on the advice of an American consultant, Bob Hennaberry, the music format changed to straight Top 40 with the introduction of new voices. The star to emerge was the highly talented John Berks (also ex LM) who they head-hunted from Radio 5. Within a year 702 claimed nearly a million listeners from the area then called the PWV while the nationwide Radio 5 could muster less than 150,000.

Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) TV and Radio man Malcolm Russell was employed as the new Radio 5 Breakfast Show Host and used the time to plan a way forward against the powerful competition Radio 5 faced. Coincidentally there was a changing of the guard at the SABC. Riaan Eksteen was appointed Director General in 1984. When he learnt that the youth of the nation were listening to 'foreign stations' he is reported to have demanded that Radio 5 be 'fixed or shut'.

In 1985 Russell presented a radical and far-reaching plan and was appointed to Programme Director to implement it. He was given a six-month window with his only constraint being 'Don't breach the Broadcast Act.'

He immediately began sweeping changes, determined to programme for the listener, not the management. This included:

  • English as the primary broadcast language
  • Best jocks were dismissed and re-engaged on a year's freelance contract with shows named for and designed by them.
  • The music playlist was determined with direct input from the jocks
  • Commercial scheduling was overhauled to be less intrusive
  • Specialised evening shows were launched to combat television (best remembered for Chris Prior - the Rock Professor')
  • Championed FM Stereo (eventually taken nationwide)
  • Broadcasts extended into non-stop (24/7)
  • Re-branded as 5FM with a one-word slogan 'Outrageous!'
  • Introduced the first Talk Show on a Music Station (Chuckle and Chat)

The live phone-in Chuckle and Chat Show, presented by David Blood and Tony Sanderson became the hottest property on the air with listenership peaking at around 1 million nightly.

Russell made the Presenter's responsible for their own success or failure with the promise that, when their year's contract expired they would be free to renegotiate based on the audience the shows delivered.  (The legend is that he told the jocks "if your listenership is up at the end of the year I expect to hear from you. If they're down, expect to hear from me!") At the end of the first 12 months with an unheard of growth in loyal listeners, no-one lost their jobs!

However, Russell remained on salary and sought to negotiate the same performance-based contract for himself. Senior management rejected the proposal and Russell resigned to begin his own company, the Broadcast Development Group. (He was later to be contracted to assist the now ailing Radio 702 in its very successful repositioning and transition to 702 Talk Radio).

Presenters from the 90s up to the late 2000sEdit

  • Mark Gillman
  • Alex Jay
  • Ian F (Also Hosted the 5fm Top 40 with Sasha Martinengo)
  • Sasha Martinengo (Also hosted the 5fm Top 40 with Ian F - Longest on air DJ - 20 years)
  • Darren Scott (Drive time with John Walland, Ray White and Leigh-Ann Mol (née Van der Stadt)
  • Mark Pilgrim with Ray White (Weekend Breakfast Show)
  • Cleone Cassidy
  • Ursula Stapelfeldt (Host of the World Chart Show)
  • Sami Sabiti (Host of the World Chart Show)
  • Koula (Host of the World Chart Show)
  • Nicole Fox
  • Zuraida Jardine
  • Derek the Bandit
  • Barney Simon[3]

5FM On-Air ShowsEdit

Breakfast ShowsEdit

The Mark Gillman show was hosted by Mark Gillman and supported by Kevin Fine and Ruben Goldberg, Catherine Strydom (Grenfell) and stuntman "DangerBoy".[3] Gillman was best known for his loud personality, and ability to wake people up with his high energy. His slogan "I Love it in the Mornings" was an effective mantra for people looking to start their days off on a positive note.

After a brief stint as the host of the drive-time show, Gareth Cliff replaced Gillman as 5fm's Breakfast Show host. With Cliff as the host, the show was supported by Leigh-Ann Mol on News, Mabale Moloi on traffic & Sias DuPlessis on Sport, with the production team featuring Damon Kalvari (Assistant to the Producer), and Thabo Modisane (Executive Producer). The show ended in 2014 when Cliff began an online radio platform, to which all of his team, save DuPlessis & Modisane, followed him.[4]

Following Cliff's departure in 2014, DJ Fresh took over the morning show, having hosted the drive-time show since 2003. He was joined by Carmen Reddy on News, Duran Collett on Sports News, Sol Phenduka (and later Nonala Tose) on Traffic. On 31 March 2017, Fresh left 5FM for sister station, Metro FM.

He was replaced by the current breakfast show host, Roger Goode, who hosts the show alongside Robbie Kruse on Sports, Sureshnie Rieder on News and Zanele Potelwa (nicknamed 'Young Boomerang') on traffic.

Weekday Mid-Morning ShowsEdit

Since May 2020, Msizi James and Stephanie Be have paired up to present the Mid Mornings on 5 show during the brunchtime slot.

Rob Forbes & Fix Moeti, one of South Africa's leading radio duos continue to host the Forbes&Fix show during the lunchtime slot, with Kim Schulze on News.

Drive Time ShowsEdit

Until 2014, DJ Fresh hosted "The Fresh Drive" alongside Catherine Grenfell, Poppy Ntshongwana, Duran Collett & Carmen Reddy. They were replaced by longtime host Roger Goode, joined by Ms Cosmo, Sureshnie Rieder & Sias du Plessis, who was later replaced by Robbie Kruse.

In 2017, Thando Thabethe became the station's first woman to host the Drive Time show. The Thabooty Drive featured Durbanite Msizi James as the co-host, Sibaphiwe Matiyela (and later, Nadia Romanos) on News and Duran Collett on Sports. She later resigned in 2020.

May 2020 saw Nick Hamman, who had previously hosted the Hamman Time show during the mid-morning slot, took over as the host of 5Drive. He is joined by his producer, Mad Money Mike, and the on-air team of Nadia Romanos on News, Bibi Mbangula on Traffic and Jude van Wyk on Sports.

Weekday Evening & Night ProgrammingEdit

As opposed to regular weekday programming, the Evening & Nighttime shows air from Monday to Thursday.

The evening show, Live At Night is hosted by Smash Afrika.

The late night show, The Late Show with JT is hosted by Justin Toerien.

Weekend Breakfast ShowsEdit

Before 2019, the Weekend Breakfast show, A Cuppa JT was hosted by Justin Toerien, with Nadia Romanos & Jude van Wyk on News & Sports respectively.

In April 2019, Nicole da Silva took over the reigns of the weekend morning slot, naming the show 5FM Xtra Loud Mornings. She is joined by Sibaphiwe Matiyela on News and Duran Collett on Sports.

Weekend ShowsEdit

Sticking to their focus on music, the youth-aimed radio station delivers a musically-centred offering throughout the weekend (Fri-Sun). Hosts of these shows include the 5FM Weekender5 who deliver shows heavily centred on music, like Ms Cosmo, Ryan The DJ, Kid Fonque & Kyle Cassim among others.

Mid-Morning host Msizi James anchors the 5FM Top 40 Chart show every Saturday.

Early Morning ProgrammingEdit

The Early Morning slots, known as “graveyard” slots, air between 01:00 and 06:00 on weekdays, & between 01:00 and 07:00 on weekends.

The weekday graveyard offering, known as TulzOn5, is hosted by Tulani Madala. The weekday early breakfast show, Early Mornings With Karabo is hosted by media personality Karabo Ntshweng.

The weekend graveyard offerings allow for the national radio station to extend its reach across the nation. The weekend graveyard show is known as Moonlighting On 5 and is hosted by Capetonian Marilize du Plessis. The early breakfast weekend slot, Sunrise On 5 is hosted by Durbanite Leah Jazz.

Broadcast languagesEdit

Broadcast timeEdit

Listenership figuresEdit

Estimated Listenership[6]
7 Day Ave. Mon-Fri
Feb 2013 2 025 000 881 000
Dec 2012 2 146 000 940 000
Oct 2012 2 176 000 939 000
Aug 2012 2 189 000 909 000
Jun 2012 2 246 000 928 000


  1. ^ "LM Radio History". Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Development of Broadcasting in SA". SABC. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b "DJ's 'patrol' hits Durban - IOL Entertainment".
  4. ^ "Gareth Cliff". South Africa: SABC. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b The Annual Guide to Radio in South Africa (AdVantage 2012). Media 24. 2012. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  6. ^ SAARF RAMS (Presentations)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 26°11′09″S 28°00′34″E / 26.1859°S 28.0094°E / -26.1859; 28.0094