Gagasi FM Media Statement, 08 February 2017

Setting the record straight

Gagasi FM has noted recent media reports speculating about the state of affairs within the station particularly about certain on-air presenters that are said to be leaving the station. What is more concerning about some of these reports is the extent to which they have been sensationalised, going as far as alleging that Gagasi FM is in “turmoil” and quoting faceless sources in an effort to give legs to this baseless narrative.

As a matter of record, we have always maintained and respected the confidentiality of internal matters between the station and its on-air talent. While we still stand by this principle, we however find ourselves in a situation where we have to give clarity in relation to what has been reported in media about the current relations between the station and some of the presenters.

Kini Shandu

The Big Bang host is still contractually bound to the station until the end of May 2017. Contracts between the station and presenters clearly stipulate what procedure to follow should either party wish to terminate the contract, and what are the associated legal implications. It must also be stated that presenters are not employees, they are independent contractors (commonly known as freelancers), which means that they can’t tender resignation, but can give notice of their intentions to terminate contract in line with what is stipulated on their contracts.

Shandu informed the station towards the end of January that he has accepted the offer to be the presenter of a television show in Johannesburg. Prior to that, media had already started reporting about this imminent move. While the management was still engaging with him and deliberating on the possible options in terms of what can be done to accommodate the TV show and his contractual obligations with the station, Shandu did not report for duty as of Monday 30 January. This was done without any communication or agreement with the station.

On the 2nd of February, he sent an email following up on the resignation letter that he said he had sent through a day before via a producer of his radio show. Note that this was at least after 3 days of not reporting for duty. Management responded to the email advising Shandu that he had not received any resignation letter from him, and further informing him that his continued failure to render his services to the station as per his contract is in breach of the independent contractor agreement with Gagasi FM.

As stated above, Shandu’s contractual obligations with the station still stand. The station is left without a choice but to pursue legal recourse on the matter. The station is further disappointed on the manner in which Shandu has handled the matter. Contrary to the picture that some media reporting has tried to portray, at no point did the station show no interest in engaging with him, or had any intentions to frustrate his ambitions outside of the station.

Gabriel Sithole

Sithole has tendered his resignation with the station from his position as Sports Editor effective from the 28th of February 2017. It must be noted that Sithole is a full time employee and has a separate independent contractor agreement for his sports show, Extra Time. While his resignation was in essence pertaining to his full time position, he will also be released as the independent contractor given the conflict of interest that will be attached to his new job. We must also commend him for the professionalism and maturity he displayed during the engagement process with the station on the matter. We wish to thank him for his dedication and contribution to the station, and we further wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

On air Talent

We further like to state that there is nothing extra ordinary if other radio stations approach some of our presenters, it is in the nature of the industry we are in and particularly at this time of the year, it comes natural. It is therefore shocking that some publications would attempt to create an impression that “everything is falling apart” on the basis that our presenters are attracting interest elsewhere. We remain committed to our approach of developing and growing home grown KZN talent, the approach that has already started to bear fruits.

We have started with the process of engaging all our on-air presenters on contractual matters as the current season comes to an end at the end of May 2017. All current independent contractor agreements remain legally binding until then.

We also like to categorically state that reports that some advertisers are threatening to pull out from the station are without substance and mischievous, we have a fully functional Sales structure in all our key regions from a business point of view whose competencies it is to handle advertisers.

We would like to ensure our listeners and all our stakeholders that the station remains in the healthy state of affairs. We have a clear vision in terms of where we are taking the station and we would not allow any form of unwarranted negativity towards the station to shift our attention from our big plans to take the station forward.

Issued By:

Khulekani Shandu
Gagasi FM