On Monday, April 3rd 2017, Bonang Matheba announced via her Twitter page that after 3 years hosting The Front Row on Metro FM she will be leaving the stage.
Matheba's announcement follows an exodus of other prominent DJs who have left the station in recent weeks. While the announcement has come as a shock to many of her fans and generation radio listeners, her departure raises some serious financial question for the SABC.
Following the departure of Tbo Touch from Metro, Matheba held one of the most lucrative spot on Metro in terms of financial gains for the station — if not the ultimate profitable. Radio stations never reveal the actual ad buy numbers for its shows but reliable sources have confirmed that Matheba was making Metro a pretty penny.
Nielsen Sub-Saharan Africa, announced earlier this year that radio had the biggest ad spend growth at 10.9% in 2016 with R2.9Billion from 2015's R2.6Billion. Needless to say, Metro FM as the third biggest radio station SA with 3.9 million listeners got a nice chunk of those billions.
Furthermore, with her popular segment #AskAMan, Matheba achieved one of the biggest feet in multi-platform engagement between radio and social media. #AskAMan has continuously been the only radio segment hashtag that trended almost every day on Twitter, spawning conversations and media coverage beyond the actual show. That kept advertisers on the show happy and paying.
The question now is; will #AskAMan seize to exist with Matheba's departure? Matheba might not own the show but as is often the case, radio shows are build around the personality that is hosting that slot — so it would be unconventional for The Front Row to remain as is with a different host.
While one can not definitively say Metro will loose listeners over this; let's be fair, Metro had those millions of listeners even before Bonang and others joined the station and its likely to retain many of them for a while, it is prudent to expect that the station will loose some money over this revolving door of hosts leaving.
After 3 years of making magic on the Front Row, I can confirm that I have officially stepped down as the host of the show.....— Bonang B* Matheba (@bonang_m) April 3, 2017
I will miss my Metro FM family dearly, as they say all good things do come to an end....Looking forward to the next chapter of my radio life— Bonang B* Matheba (@bonang_m) April 3, 2017