Ace Moloi helps us decide between CUT FM’s Lapeng Rush and Motheo FM’s 326 Drive.
The afternoon drive makes for an interesting virtual experience in Mangaung, with radio-loving citizens spoilt for choice between the medium-paced 326 Drive on Motheo FM and CUT FM’s insanitarium, Lapeng Rush.
As if by design, the two shows are conducted in Setswana and Sesotho respectively, two major vernac languages spoken in the Mangaung region. Guluva Wa Gusheshe steers Motheo FM’s often packed taxi through the lapeng rush traffic, and Shaun Dihoro accelerates past the 18:00 limit to 19:00 as he makes the 105.8 airwaves a highway of madness and music.
Of the choice of language for the shows, including the presenters’ on-air personalities, it can be said that the aim is to cause insomnia for the bigger dogs on the national airwaves: with Guluva Wa Gusheshe, Motheo FM is gunning for Motsweding FM’s stronghold, and Shaun Dihoro is in the penalty area of Lesedi FM, threatening a serious punishment should Twasa and Ba2Cada take their eyes off the ball.
My research tells me he stirred up a whirlwind in the eyes of the Auckland Park twins in his earlier days with Laila Nnyane on Med FM. But I’m a writer, and a pen is not a matchstick: I shall not start any fire.
Music and laughs
Powered by Vodacom, Lapeng Rush airs weekdays from 15:00 to 19:00, and enjoys a large following in the streets and households of Mangaung. When you listen to the show, two things are certain: you’re going to laugh harder than you’ve ever done, and jam to trending music.
Voted CUT FM’s best presenter in the 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards, Shaun Dihoro – the host – is one of Free State’s seasoned presenters and leading MCs. He has plied his trade at stations such as Med FM, Motheo FM and Kovsie FM. He is a comic by personality, and possesses a mass engagement skill that is rarely found in his generation.
His broadcasting style is not really exclusive (sometimes he sounds like Ba2Cada, sometimes Thuso Motaung), but what makes him stand out is his ability to come down to the level of the man in the blue overalls, and stay with him.
He appeals to the township audience with his commentary and humour, and is every high school learner’s homework.
Guluva for himself
I haven’t been listening to Solomon Sehloho, aka Guluva Wa Gusheshe, for long. In fact, it has only been about a month. The last time I listened to Motheo FM’s drive time show was many years ago when I was still a student.
Yet, the first time I heard Guluva on air I was really impressed—surely by his talent, but I think the organisation of his show earned him a repeat customer on the 88.5 market.
Guluva does this show alone, as if to give concrete expression to ZOLA’s lyrical rhetoric: “God for us all. Guluva for himself.”
Holding it down on his own in studio denies the listener an alternative reason to stay tuned, in an event that by himself he falls short of delivering. Indeed, there have been days when I’d switch back to Lapeng Rush, not for any smart reason, really, but to avoid his soliloquy.
As an award-winning radio presenter in the Free State, as per the 2015 Golden Bean Awards, Guluva gives Motsweding FM’s afternoon drive show a difficult time when it comes to the Mangaung market, and, at his best, proves why he rose above his peers to be the reigning champion of Free State radio.
He is not in a hurry to wrap up the show, and when he finally ends it, it really was a good show: a neat lunchbox with necessary compartments.
Generally, these two homecoming shows don’t outpace one another with a big margin. The radio mouths, who have both suckled from the 88.5 breast, give their best for their listeners, and behave as joint heirs of Mangaung’s radio inheritance.
Nonetheless, as is with rival football teams, these too have their own days: sometimes Guluva puts the ball through Shaun’s brackets, and in provoked retaliation, Shaun spins Guluva’s gusheshe faster and better than the owner himself.
Thus, to state outright that there’s a victor would be without nuance, and consequently disrespectful to the basic tenets of good radio.
I can only try to take them through a penalty shootout, based on five elements that attract me to either show.
The first post is about the structure of the show, and the second until the fifth are, consecutively, entertainment, personality, interaction and creativity.
326 Drive has a properly defined structure, which Guluva Wa Gusheshe announces right in the beginning of the show. He takes the listener through the menu, so that they know what to expect on the show.
With Lapeng Rush, Shaun Dihoro either doesn’t follow the script, or there’s no script at all. But since every show has a producer, the tempting inclination is that the presenter himself disobeys the script, and does the show in the passion of the moment. This can be quite frustrating as it constitutes fruitless listenership.
Shaun is a comedian, and it seems like he identifies more with comedy over content. This of course is not sinful. There are many funny radio hosts, but the humour is always in sync with the script for the day, and doesn’t offend the show’s personality.
Lapeng Rush, in this regard, kicks the ball above the posts, and 326 walks away with a goal.
Here, without much contemplation, Shaun Dihoro has equalised. Nobody can listen to Lapeng Rush and feel bored, and this is mainly because of the talent of the host. Of course, Guluva isn’t a boring chap. His strength for order sells him out here, and gives his rival an upper hand.
Lapeng Rush 1:1 326 Drive.
The reality many vernac presenters don’t seem ready to face and accept is that gone are the days of one-man shows. To craft a personality for a show now demands an intersection of different role players: sports, news, traffic updates, under the stewardship of the host(s).
Giving a show a personality that is fixed to the person behind the mic is no longer appealing. By virtue of 326 having Guluva as a multipurpose centre, Motheo FM has hit the goal post on the personality penalty kick, and it’s CUT FM’s turn to kick the ball.
The biggest strength of Lapeng Rush is not the heaviness of Shaun’s character, but the presence of news reader, Moleboheng “Dark Chocolata” Maloela, and award-winning sports anchor Thabo “McDee” Mekgwe. They don’t just sit in studio passively awaiting their turn, but participate in the show’s features with interested vigour.
I like the fact that (and this happens mostly with McDee) Shaun can pose a question related to their field, i.e. sports, and a detailed conversation naturally follows.
Furthermore, no matter how uncomfortable the topic at hand can be, they run with it. The other day Shaun was poking fun at Motheo FM, saying the 3 – 6pm show defeats everyone, going as far as calling the presenters by name. His team played the game with him, and it was a dangerous yet really funny thing to hear.
But everyone who rushes to lapeng listening to them loves their laughter over and above everything. It is a dangerously contagious laughter that gives the clown in Shaun Dihoro wings to fly—and fly over the rainbow; so high. Plus, Dark Chocolata laughs like a Proverbs 31 woman—“without fear of the future.”
Verdict? Shaun Dihoro sends Guluva Wa Gusheshe the wrong way, as CUT FM penalises Motheo FM for misunderstanding ZOLA literally when he said, “… Guluva for himself.”
It follows almost automatically that if a show has a vibrant personality, it will solicit greater interaction. The number, frequency and immediacy of calls – including WhatsApp voicenotes – on Lapeng Rush seal the deal.
Again, 326 Drive misses the point, and Lapeng Rush hangs the ball on the far-left corner of the net.
What’s the score again? Yes, it’s 3 on the side of the students, and 1 in the “mme se ke ile” bag of batho ba baholo.
When it comes to the creativity aspect of radio, Shaun Dihoro is spontaneous, and does radio as a creative first, and radio presenter later. But Solomon is not without wisdom, and has his own creative approach on his show. I think it’s a draw here.
CUT FM 4:2 Motheo FM.
Points to ponder
The radio industry in Mangaung is becoming more and more interesting, with CUT FM deepening the cut, and Motheo FM trusting on its solid foundation to remain the first on our dial.
This competitiveness forces every radio practitioner to rethink, unlearn, and relearn. Lapeng Rush appears dominant in the rubric, but it is not a perfect show. Its screaming error is to think everybody who listens to Shaun Dihoro needs nothing else from him, but fun and games.
Bongani “BSoul” Mrabe either needs to stamp his authority as the producer (in an event of script disobedience) or go back to the drawing board when it comes to relevant, empowering, yet youthful content.
Equally, Guluva Wa Gusheshe shouldn’t simultaneously spin the car and hype himself. I really enjoy his show. His producer, Galoome Shopane, is a former magazine editor, and this is evidenced by how the show is orderly packaged.
But I’m not sure if I connect with him. He needs a team live in studio. Only Nelson Mandela is allowed to have conversations with himself.
I enjoy Shaun Dihoro and his anarchists. Together, they make the lapeng rush experience feel like a kindergarten, with a garden of roses, and a ground so moist its aroma calms your anxiety like the refreshing smell of coffee in the morning.
But the show, if not given “serious” attention, will just be an aimless rush home, without the right keys to the door.
Ace Moloi is the Editor of ART STATE and Author of HOLDING MY BREATH and IN HER FALL ROSE A NATION. Follow @Ace_Moloi on Twitter.