ON AIR

Planet Haaibo: Just Ice For Our Morning Blues

Radio 2000’s breakfast show serves justice to the airwaves, and just ice for our morning blues, writes Ace Moloi.

Get moving, or get out of the way

Minutes have just tilted on the other side of 06:00. The weight of your sheets is building up as the clock ticks out of joint. You’re almost up, if only you could buoy up extra strength to kick these blankets. In the thick of morning decisions you’re faced with a choice of a radio station to jump-start yourself with, and from all frequency options the mental visuals are blurry.

Yet you’re a warrior. A go-getter. A die-hard soul. So you press and twist. Until you land on an audio-mix of inspiration. Barack Obama declaring that Nelson Mandela makes him aspire to be a better man. J.K Rowling’s most riveting talk at Harvard comes on, and now that you remember that it is impossible to live without failing at something, a fountain of hope births in you.

A cheerful voice appears, riding on the airwaves, and for the first time in your life you’re thanked thrice as heartily for choosing to start your day with the station.
As if extending this courtesy hasn’t won your heart, the captain of the show makes validating announcements about you. These are the Ace Moloi days of our lives, he says as if only to you, and goes on to mention your specific location in a nationwide area roll call. He is the only one who does this.

His voice is unusual. Rough, too. Precisely what you need to human up and combat the existential crisis that comes with realising you didn’t perish in your sleep and therefore, to loot text from Jean-Paul Sartre, you’re condemned to be free.

It dawns on you that someone cares, and the earth as you know it is negligent. So, what manner of planet is this where a radio presenter understands the power of relationship? This is Planet Haaibo on Radio 2000. So, get moving, or get out of the way.

There is life on Planet Haaibo

Planet Haaibo is a jungle of wild behaviours, fascinating facts, motivational injections, musical nostalgia and relationship. The show airs weekdays, Mon – Fri, from 06:00 to 09:00 on Radio 2000.

It is hosted by former Kaya, iGagasi and Metro FM presenter Justice Ramohlola, with the enthusiastic Lelo Mzaca on sports and the laid back voice of Kia Johnson updating us on traffic. Dineo Motaung is the producer of the show, Thabo Modisane mans the technical stall, while newsreaders take turns with the news.

Planet Haaibo gives us the freshest breakfast that makes us scream NO when others implore us, “Ha re ye.” It has interesting features and content, from corporate expertise and fitness to entrepreneurship and politics. Among others, residents of the Planet are treated to live jam sessions, a battle over morning quotes, and stories that make them go HAAIBO!

Justice to the airwaves

“I got involved with campus radio while studying Law at UKZN. The plan was to become a lawyer; talk some good sense into the [apartheid] government to release Nelson Mandela. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do. Someone sabotaged my plan and released him.”

Justice Ramohlola, known popularly as Just Ice or The Ice Man to his listeners, is one of a few remaining broadcasters who worship the medium of radio with mind, body and soul, giving nothing but his apex best to his audience. He serves justice to the airwaves, and just ice to our morning blues.

With Just Ice, every link is a powerful punch in the face of our morning tension. He is able to turn almost everything into a joke, and brilliantly manipulates any and every situation to dish a rib-cracking show.

Recently when he toured Tanzania, and did his show from the home of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (SOMAFCO), he once again proved why he is the inspiration behind so many people’s love for radio.

He demonstrated an impeccable ability to gather pertinent facts about Tanzania’s tourism wonders and share them with us through captivating storytelling. Though I have stayed longer than him in the land of the Morogoro Conference, his content packaging made me wish I could visit the land of the Masai anew.

The Ice Man is smart, widely read, broadly exposed and witty. His commentary on current affairs is sharp, and his interviewing skills marvellous. His on-air comedy is a result of critical thinking. He doesn’t make around the corner jokes.

He goes beyond the obvious and extracts magic in a story. I don’t think he recognises any no-go area in his commentary, sometimes entering into the dreaded realm of spirituality to question this and that and the other, often to the “haaibo” reaction of Lelo Mzaca.

Lelo Mzaca: Just Ice’s blessing

If fire needs fanning, Just Ice needs Lelo Mzaca to stay on top of his game. Lelo is able to hype him up and engage him meaningfully. He is intelligent in his own right, and catches the direction Just Ice is taking quickly.

He knows that to avoid embarrassment, he has to keep his wit alive and his sense of humour in heat, especially because with The Ice Man anything really is possible.

Lelo Mzaca is an award-winning journalist with over a decade of media experience, having worked for media institutions such as the SABC, Wunderman, Primedia, Mail & Guardian and Wonderlink Media, to select a few.

He is a multi-talented creative thinker, with occupations such as TV presenting, radio broadcasting and copywriting featuring prominently in his career profile.

Kia Johnson and the drought of airtime

The team would be even more amazing if the Capetonian traffic news anchor Kia Johnson stayed in the game throughout the show, and gave us more of herself than she withholds. For a show such as Planet Haaibo, to be calm is to be internally displaced.

Kia has to be bold and present. Her contribution must not be on an invitation basis. I enjoy her voice and honestly think she can do great exploits if she lavishes her mystery on us.

I don’t want my favourite breakfast show to be a boys club, especially since the women who read news tend to do a hit-and-run. It’s only Khumbuzile Thabethe who makes the show her home beyond bulletins.

Social media and the death of the broadcaster

Who knew that there will come upon us a time in which social media following will play an instrumental role in radio broadcasting?

There was a time when broadcasting preceded fame. A time when radio was the only tool at the lips of an anchor. Then, it was rare to hear a presenter anywhere else other than on the airwaves. Then, a presenter was famous because they were in the radio industry; they weren’t recruited through the influence of social media following.
Today a trending blogger can wake up with a spot in prime time radio. The radio platform is slowly becoming a “by the way” platform, with senior executives chasing imaginary Twitter listenership over talent and art. This practice is founded on false grounds that the number of people who follow a celebrity on Twitter will automatically translate into ratings.

Just Ice belongs to this generational tier of broadcasters that came just before the rise of social media. His peers to this day still separate themselves from the new school of presenters through thorough preparedness, natural connection with the listener and spontaneity. In other words, they do radio.

Just Ice, just for you

The fact that Just Ice has little to no digital footprint makes his views exclusive. For you to know what’s on his mind as Facebook would ask, you must tune in and stay woke. Or else you risk missing some of his fleeting remarks that may never be retweeted.

It’s a bit frustrating that though—the fact that it’s difficult to access him online. After an insanely great show, I always feel a strong urge to tweet him my love, and port the conversation to the DMs, you know!

However, this rarity saves him for his breakfast date with us, his dearest listeners. It has a certain privilege to it, doesn’t it? Knowing that someone is social media celibate in order to preserve the sanctity of your morning marriage?

Of course the fact that Just Ice doesn’t (seem to) have additional outlets could work against him, resulting in him saying a tad too much about this and that and the other. In fact, in a 2011 article published on SowetanLIVE, a certain Simon Nare complained about “too much yapping” on the show. Yet, as I’ve said, some of us listen to Just Ice to harvest his imagination.

Different strokes for different okes; some throats can’t cope with Coke.

Ace Moloi is the Editor of ART STATE and author of Holding My Breath. He lives in Bloemfontein, where he scrambles for meaning as a freelance writer, PR consultant and political analyst.

Featured Image: The Planet Haaibo Team. Credit: @Radio2000ZA 

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