Internet radio is instantly available worldwide (bar the few countries where Internet access to its citizens is restricted). Internet based stations have access to a worldwide listener base, but at the same time, Internet radio has given the listener a whole world of choice. Internet radio still can’t compete with commercial offerings in terms of numbers, but commercial radio has many pitfalls. Commercial radio is heavily regulated and licensing requirements dictate format. At the same time, commercial radio has become repetitive and boring, high listener volumes means mass appeal and ultimately means that music selection must appeal to the lowest common denominator in musical tastes. Radio presenters must be as inoffensive as the playlists. Internet radio is able to appeal to niche markets and has much higher levels of loyalty amongst listeners. Fewer adverts that are more focused in their appeal also means less churn than that experienced by other radio formats.
It is into this arena that BakGat Radio, South Africa’s newest internet radio station has begun operating. BakGat Radio has a lot of competition, as do all stations competing on the Internet, but BakGat Radio is unique, and this may be what gives it an edge on the competition. What makes BakGat Radio unique is its playlist, a playlist that consists exclusively of South African content, and at the same time covering a wider range of genres than most radio stations. BakGat Radio proudly states that they play music of all genres from Kwaito and Maskandi to Classical, and everything in between. The station has a hip-hop show on a Sunday evening, breaking the commercial mould that dictates that Sundays are reserved for laid back, slow genres. If you’re a hip-hop fan, Sundays used to mean turning off the radio and digging into your private music collection.
Before I go any further, it is only fair to state outright that JazzE has a vested interest in BakGat Radio, because BakGat Radio gives JazzE a 3 hour platform every Saturday evening from 19:00 – 22:00 for an all South African jazz show, the only jazz show of its kind in South Africa at present. Having a look at the programming schedule you’ll see that the jazz show is not the only niche appeal show on the station. The station also has dedicated blues, country, rock and gospel music shows – all exclusively local and covering everything from golden oldies to brand new, even unreleased music.
For South African artists, especially those whose music is not suited to commercial platforms, BakGat Radio provides a new way to get their work heard, not just in South Africa, but globally. For more information on BakGat Radio, a visit to their website (www.bakgatradio.co.za) provides details of the station line up and how to tune in. They have a presence on facebook and twitter, and should you need more information you can drop an email to email@example.com