SGNN GoodNews

Radio Awards

Smile 90.4FM Acknowledged For Radio Innovation

Cape Town’s fastest growing radio station, Smile 90.4FM, has won the award for the best Radio Innovation for Amplifying the Good News In the Mother City during last Saturday night’s Liberty Radio Awards in Johannesburg.

Program Director Clive Ridgway commented after winning the award.

“Being recognised for innovation is most gratifying because forward thinking, creativity and relevance are Smile priorities.  Our broadcasting philosophy is based adding real value in the lives of our listeners. Providing well contextualised factual and useful content is today more important than ever given the proliferation of fake news engulfing social media, and negative news dominating traditional media spaces.  South African radio has too many imitators and not enough INNOVATORS.  I’m really pleased with this acknowledgement. Huge thanks to every team member contributing to our success.

In the radio world news consists of three minutes of compressed local, national and international information purportedly presented in an unbiased manner at the top of each hour.  The news jingle signals the separation of news from other more incidental content, priming the listener to expect that what follows is vital information.  This translates into a reality that routinely exposes the consumer to vast amounts of negative information, disasters, racial atrocities, criminal activities and a ton of other horrible things that may be very far removed from the consumer’s every-day life.

We are supposed to believe that keeping up with the news is important and of value, yet there is no evidence to support the rationale that placing the worst of humanity as item number one in a news bulletin, has changed the world for the better.

On the contrary, it is widely accepted these days that the news contributes significantly to increased levels of anxiety and depression.  Presenting information that generates fear and worry without balancing context, or suggesting solutions, cannot be morally justified.  Yet, focusing on news that comes from the more admirable side of humanity is considered soft news or not news at all.

Convincing news people that they might be clinging to a relic of a dead era is not an easy job, but it is a necessary one.

The decision to innovate was not taken lightly.  A great deal of thought went into understanding the psychology of audio messaging and the effects excessive negative information has on evolving multi-cultural communities in transforming markets.

Headlines that create anxiety diminish capacity for transformation.

Evidence gathered confirmed that shock tactics employed to gain attention without consideration of how it makes the listener feel, were actually not as powerful as traditionally assumed.  Evidence points towards the reverse being true.

Social media analytics tell us that good news spreads faster than bad news. Statistics indicate that good things get more shares than bad things.  Stories that inspire and create a feeling of awe, gratitude and optimism make people open to sharing, caring and connecting.

Psychologists and neuroscientists agree with news sensationalists that listeners react profoundly to audio that arouses on a primal level.  But as a corollary to this we see that people prefer positive to negative arousal. ‘Buzzworthy’ no longer means ‘shocking’, ‘threatening’, ‘frightening’, ‘abrasive’ or ‘crude’.  People prefer to talk about and share information that is life affirming and news that excites us.

The radio consumer trusts the station of their choice to bring them the freshest information that is factually accurate, topical and relevant.  Listeners come to Smile 90.4FM specifically for the way it makes them feel.  There is no justification for our news not adhering to the same feelgood and inspirational goals as the rest of our programming content – as long as it is factually accurate, topical and relevant.

While it cannot be stated with certainty that amplifying the good news in the Mother City has driven Smile 90.4FM’s steady growth, the differentiation of our news product certainly offers Capetonians a more optimistic, solutions driven and humane perspective on life.”

Representing Smile90.4FM on the night as seen in the picture above was National Sales Manager Dheshan Naidoo, presenter of The Honest Truth Benito Vergotine, Managing Director Lois O’Brien, Program Director Clive Ridgway, Senior Producer Christine Wessels, and Board Director Nilesh Singh.


Eloise Pretorius – Weekdays 9am – 12pm Anchor, Smile 90.4FM