Springbok Radio

Springbok Radio was a South African nationwide radio station that operated from 1950 to 1985.



SABC's decision in December 1945 to develop a commercial service was constrained by post-war financial issues.[1]:726 After almost five years of investigation and after consulting Lord Reith of the BBC and the South African government, it decided to introduce commercial radio to supplement the SABC's public service English and Afrikaans networks and help solve the SABC's financial problems.[1]:727 The SABC would build the equipment and facilities and would place them at the disposal of advertisers and their agencies at cost for productions and allow them to make use of SABC's production staff.

On 1 May 1950, the first commercial radio station in South Africa, Springbok Radio, took to the air.[1]:728[2] Bilingual in English and Afrikaans, it broadcast from the Johannesburg Centre for 113 and a half hours a week.[3] The service proved so popular with advertisers at its launch that commercial time had been booked well in advance.[4] The service started at 6:43am with the music Vat Jou Goed en Trek, Ferreira.[1]:728 The first voice on air was that of Eric Egan, well remembered for his daily "Corny Crack"[5] and catch phrase "I Love You".[6]

Many drama programmes during the 1950s were imported from Australia but as more funding became available, Springbok Radio produced almost all its programmes within South Africa through a network of independent production houses. By the end of 1950, 30 per cent of Springbok Radio shows were produced by South African talent or material and independent productions were sold to sponsors.[1]:728 At the same time all air time had been sold or used and transmission time was extended.[1]:728 By the end of 1950 the revenue of Springbok Radio was £205,439, in 1961 it had grown to over two million Rand and by 1970 had reached R6.5 million.[1]:728

By 1985, Springbok Radio was operating at a heavy loss.[7] After losing listeners with the handing over of its shortwave frequencies to Radio 5 and facing competition from television, despite the late arrival of the medium in 1976, it ceased broadcasting on 31 December 1985.[8]

List of programmes

Springbok Radio's programme schedules reflected the white, primarily English-speaking, suburban lifestyle of the period, when many women were housewives. Weekday schedules broadly comprised a breakfast session (05:00 – 08:30), women's programmes (08:30 – 14:00), Afrikaans soap operas (14:00 – 16:15), teatime chat shows (16:15 – 16:45), children's programmes (16:45–18:15), dinnertime programmes (18:15 – 19:00), the main news bulletin (19:00 – 19:15), and family shows (19:15 – 24:00). Saturday programmes were generally light: music, sitcoms and quizzes. Sunday was more sedate: music, chat shows, requests for the armed forces (during the 1970s and 1980s), news commentary and drama. For several years from its start in 1950 there were no advertisements on Sundays.

Programmes included:







Soap opera


Games shows/quizzes


Interviews/chat shows


News/current affairs

Radio plays

Science fiction

Show business

Women's interest

Springbok Radio Preservation Society of South Africa

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, this was a non-profit organisation which had collected and archived all sorts of material including sound recordings and photographs related to Springbok Radio. It housed the biggest sound recording archive of the station in the world and was an internationally recognised sound archive. The Society was formed in 2002 by Frans Erasmus in Johannesburg. The archive held many original recordings on tape, reel to reel and transcription discs and also has many private off-air recordings of the station. The society was engaged in a restoration project, transferring the analogue recordings to a digital format. On 1 July 2008, this Society launched Springbok Radio Digital, a service where many of the restored programmes can be heard.

On 8 May 2012, the archives of the Society was handed over to the SABC Sound Archive.[10]

The Springbok Radio Preservation Society website currently broadcasts an eight hour weekday programme[11] (Monday 06:00 to Friday 06:00) and a weekend programme (Friday 06:00 to Monday 06:00). The programming is distinct from that of the SABC's Springbok Radio Digital listed below.

Springbok Radio Digital / Springbokradio Digitaal

This is a creation of the Springbok Radio Preservation Society of South Africa with assistance from the SABC, in which certain of the Society's restored programmes are streamed. The service started operating on 1 October 2008 and operates a 12-hour service from Mondays to Sundays, repeated four times. The service concentrates on presenting a selection of old time Springbok Radio programing restored and preserved at the Springbok Radio Preservation Society Archive.

Springbok Radio Digital was officially handed over to the SABC Sound Archive on 8 May 2012.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shorten, John R. (1970). The Johannesburg Saga. Johannesburg: John R. Shorten Pty Ltd. p. 1159.
  2. ^ Broadcasting in South Africa , Keyan G. Tomaselli Currey, 1989, page 197
  3. ^ Press, Film, Radio, Volume 4 , Unesco, 1950, page 435
  4. ^ Africa Institute Bulletin, Volume 11 , 1973, page 155
  5. ^ Financial Mail , Issues 5–9, page 150
  6. ^ With the Lid Off: South African Insights from Home and Abroad 1959–2000 , Todd Matshikiza, John Matshikiza, Jacana Media, 2000, page 54
  7. ^ Debates of Parliament: Hansard , Volume 8, Issues 19–21, 1988, page 12123
  8. ^ Springbok Radio Revisited , SABC
  9. ^ McCormack, Dewar (1994). The Perm Book of 'Test the Team'. Cape Town: Salty Print. p. 226. ISBN 0-620-18165-6.
  10. ^ "Hand over of Springbok Radio archive material to SABC" . SABC Media Libraries. May 4, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "The Springbok Radio Preservation Society" . Retrieved 26 April 2020.

External links

Categories: Radio stations in South Africa | Radio stations established in 1950 | Mass media companies disestablished in 1985

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