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2017 was the sound of your life on OFM

OFM is a brand that is synonymous with the people of central South Africa. From the radio in the kitchen, to the car and the one at the office, OFM speaks to people during the various stages of their day, supplying information and influencing decision makers with a unique listening experience. The OFM audience is incredibly loyal, interactive and passionate about “The Sound of Your Life”. With a unique connection to the audience OFM is not only a radio station but a well-trusted friend.

From offices, warehouses and small businesses, to kitchens, motor cars and living rooms, OFM is an entertainer, a source of information and a companion. Our footprint includes the Free State, as well as large parts of the Northern Cape, North West and the Vaal Triangle.

During 2017, OFM continued to grow and expand as a radio station, to push its boundaries and to make a difference in the lives of its communities, who remain the reason why we do radio. OFM embarked on several new and exciting initiatives in 2017 that were engaging=, entertaining and informative for a loyal audience.

OFM endeavoured to make Central South Africans happy and so Be Happy Day was born.  The inspiration for this project was to support the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, which was instituted in 2013 to highlight the importance of happiness in people’s lives. The sole aim of Be Happy Day was to engage and uplift listeners through 24 hours of broadcasting positive content.

OFM continued one of its favourite on-air projects, which is becoming more popular every year.  Celeb Radio has grown from a mere gimmick as a solution for an anchor who went on maternity leave three years ago, to a staple of OFM’s annual content offering.  OFM’s Celeb Radio alumni include artists Kurt Darren, Nadine, Arno Carstens, Monique Steyn and Leah, as well as comedians Margit Meyer-Rodenbeck and David Kau. Well-loved television presenter Janina Oberholzer of Toks & Tjops fame, and songstress Nianell graced the airwaves in Central South Africa.  The celebs were given the freedom to make the 09:00 to 13:00 weekday timeslots their own by adding to the playlist and generating their own unique content.

OFM decided to make a meaningful difference in some of our listeners’ lives by taking care of a basic – and for some a worrying – aspect of our daily lives: paying the bills.  Seeing as the months of July and August both have 31 days, stretching payday to the limit, the timing was perfect to involve listeners who might still be grappling with some unpaid bills from earlier in the year.

One of OFM’s most popular initiatives remains the OFM Music Awards, which every year grows in stature.  The OFM Music Awards celebrates the reason for our existence – to acknowledge the phenomenal contribution that local and international musicians make to the entertainment sector in South Africa. Winners in each category were announced during a special one-hour award ceremony.

In November 2017, OFM in partnership with Chatz, Vodacom and Bloemfontein Achilles, hosted Central South Africa’s most colourful, fun-filled, music-inspired road race. The Music Marathon represented a re-entry for OFM into major sports events. A road race was the obvious sport of choice since running and music are a perfect fit. It was also important to us to make it the type of event in which literally anyone can participate, from moms and dads with their kids, to recreational runners and serious athletes.

OFM competes for listeners mostly with national radio stations with big budgets and lots of influence.  It is a challenge that the station relishes and we work tirelessly to create a content offering that is unique to our region and that adds value to the lives of our communities in Central South Africa. With the highest TSL and an exclusive listenership of 63% – OFM is the sound of central South Africa.

Central South Africa is a vast region with communities intertwined, and where people truly depend on each other for support, companionship, entertainment and advancement.  As a proud member of the Central South African community, OFM is engaged in several projects to make a meaningful difference in the many and varied communities in the region. These include annual fundraising golf days raising over R500, 000 for charities across the region, R456, 000 to the Agri-Securitas trust fund (a fund for the safety and security of famers and famer workers across the region).

OFM hosts biweekly radio training for community and campus radio stations at central Media Park; the home of OFM. The talented OFM team train the next generation radio leaders in programming, music, finance, creative thinking and news provision.

Youth Day was celebrated with kids between the ages of 15 and 18 co-hosting radio shows on 16 June 2017. Each daytime show hosted two kids in their programs. The kids were able to experience radio first hand. Here we are building a love for a medium that is losing out to social media and the second, third and fourth screen. Investing in our youth will secure the future of a medium we all love.

OFM’s Corporate Social investment projects are about building trust and relationships with our community. OFM continues to successfully host; partnered with and presented community driven events driving the message home that OFM cares for central South Africa and its people.

Supporting the arts has always been a priority for OFM.  In 2017, OFM’s support of the arts was realised with the “Kom Ons Fees” initiative. The radio station partnered with three of South Africa’s largest arts festivals in three provinces – the Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein, Gariep Arts Festival in Kimberley and Aardklop Arts Festival in Potchefstroom. Further support was rendered to smaller cultural festivals and events, including the Tekkiefees in Vereeniging, the Ficksburg Cherry Festival and Heidedal Braai Day in Bloemfontein on Heritage Day.

OFM Traffic plays a pivotal role in every show on OFM.  Traffic news – from road closures to accidents, animals on the road to heavy traffic and much more – is shared with listeners to realise OFM Traffic’s brand promise: ‘keeping you safe on the road’.  This includes promoting safe driving behaviour. To augment OFM’s long running ‘Driving While InTEXTIcated’ (DWI) campaign during the peak travel summer holiday period in December, a brand-new spin was put on the message not to text and drive. It was decided to associate ‘intoxication’ with ‘intextication’ in an effort to change driver behaviour.  Statistics show that up to 70% of South Africans admitted to texting while driving even though it increased their chances of being in a collision fourfold. The campaign had listeners, who would think of themselves law-abiding citizens, reconsider when asked: “If you’re not driving intoxicated, why are you driving inTEXTIcated?

Water scarcity is becoming an alarming reality in South Africa.  Central South Africa, where agriculture plays a massive role in the local economy, has experienced extremely dry conditions over the past few years.  Water restrictions are already in place in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State Province and the home of OFM.

Considering this harsh truth, OFM is compelled to not only lend support and initiate water collection projects, but also to attempt to change listener behaviour regarding saving this limited resource.

South Africans are a mixed bunch.  Not only does the rainbow nation comprise many different cultures and languages, but the places where we live also play a role in defining us.  Capetonians are different from their countrymen in Jozi.  Durbanites are a world removed from West Coast dwellers.

In the same way, people from Central South Africa – the Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Vaal – have their own identity.  They work extra hard and come up with innovative ways to make their dreams happen.  They live and work close to the land and close to each other.

The biggest mistake any radio station can make, is to not know their audience.  For more than thirty years, OFM has broadcast to Central South Africa – focusing on local content and speaking the language of our listeners.  We can only do this and continue to grow because we are proudly Central South African ourselves.

We initiated split broadcasts a few years ago; two presenters broadcasting our mid-morning radio show to two audiences – Vaal and North West, and Free State and Northern Cape. This is just one more way OFM continuously strives to be local and to be relevant.

Ours is a family station and proudly so; from mom and dad, to tween, teen, young adult, and even our more senior members of society.  Our listeners welcome us into their homes, their offices and their lives on daily basis and we take this incredible privilege very seriously.  That is why OFM strives to truly be ‘The sound of your life’ at every stage of your life. We love music and we love summer!

Nick Efstathiou

General Manager – OFM

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