Gareth Cliff’s new “unradio” venture – in partnership with WeChat – is boosting the social platform’s profile in South Africa.
Cliff has partnered with WeChat, and is set to launch his new radio station CliffCentral Unradio on 1 May 2014, though the popular radio host has already started publishing soundbites on the social platform.
“CliffCentral is going to be a new media platform. We are going to use mobile, the Internet, television. It is going to be unradio,” Cliff explained. “It is going to be radio everywhere, except on radio.”
According to Cliff the new station will be going “anywhere and everywhere – we will be uncensored, unhinged and unradio”.
The majority of Cliff’s ex-5FM breakfast team has also joined CliffCentral: Leigh-Anne Mol, Damon Kalvari and Mabale Moloi will be an integral part of The Gareth Cliff Show on CliffCentral from 6am – 9am from May 1st.
Explaining his relationship with WeChat, Cliff said that the two parties really need each other.
Partnering with WeChat
“To get this right, I need to offer more than just an online streaming radio station,” said Cliff.
“There have been some of those, they have done okay, but what we want to do is going to be bigger and better and more successful.”
He added that WeChat is a great partner for what he wants to achieve, and that WeChat will benefit from the exposure associated with this project.
According to the local Twittersphere, the strategy seems to be working, with Cliff indicating in the first few days of the CliffCentral site going live, over 30,000 users had signed up – and many South African tweeters report wide-spread sign-ups to WeChat.
Additionally, the app has moved to the number 2 spot on the South African Apple iTunes App store, and remains amongst the top 10 on the Google Play store (currently 6th).
Brett Loubser, MD of WeChat Africa, said that the company is planning real time engagement with listeners, which includes sharing content, polling and the like.
Traditional radio will die – Gareth Cliff
According to Cliff, traditional radio is over-commercialised, unimaginative and is going to die, he said on CNBC’s Techbusters.
Cliff, who is well known for his controversial statements, said that “radio is going to die, and I want to hold the funeral”.
“From a programming point of view radio has become very predictable. It is hugely over commercialised,” said Cliff.
He added that current radio stations have unimaginative programming, and most stations copy each other and use basic programming formulas.
“Nobody has real creativity any more, and if they do they are quickly pushed out,” said Cliff.
“It is very rare in radio to find a management structure that actually engenders and encourages creativity,” he added.