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There was much chatter yesterday on the social networks and then today came the confirmation that DJ Sasha Martinengo will be leaving 5FM at the end of March, after being with the station for 17 years. Here’s what their press release said (sort of):
5FM is sad to announce that, after 17 years on air, Sasha Martinengo will be leaving the station at the end of March 2012. The decision comes as part of the station’s annual line-up change, which takes place from 1 April 2012. Explains 5FM’s station manager Aisha Mohamed, “Line-up changes are an unfortunate part of the radio landscape. Annually, 5FM, along with the SABC’s 17 other radio properties, evaluate their on-air line-up for the year ahead and we are always careful to ensure that we implement these changes on April 1st each year. That’s how we managed to get Grant & Anele into the afternoon slot. Everyone thought it was just a sick April Fool’s joke, and by the time they realised that it was actually genuine, the contracts were signed and it was a done deal.”
“Sasha will unfortunately not be with us from April onwards. The change comes as part of a long-term strategic plan to revise our on air offering. From our extensive research, we’ve noted that many people are at work during working hours. If these workers are listening to the radio, they are less productive and as the national broadcaster, we feel that it’s important to improve national productivity in the interests of the country as a whole. As part of this plan, we are actively encouraging people to switch off their radios during the day and to do some work.”
Aisha continues, “So far, we’ve been extremely successful in cutting our listener numbers between 12 and 3pm, with an incredible 95% switch off rate – and we estimate that most of the remaining 5% would rather be doing anything other than listening to 5FM during those hours. From these figures, we can see that it is foolish to employ DJs with any talent or personality who people might actually listen to during the day. We are enormously appreciative of Sasha’s incredible work ethic, his dedication to the listeners and his support of the 5FM brand. He’s just too good at his job though and so he has to go. The station needs to evolve and change as our listeners do and we’re banking on engaging a more unfunny, brain-dead audience. He will be a hard act to follow and whoever replaces him in the studio will struggle enormously, as Grant & Anele have proven literally every day since starting here.”
Says Sasha, “Working at 5FM hasn’t just been a job, it’s been my life. I’d like to think I have entertained my listeners over the years. I have had a brilliant time and will miss my 5FM family. Thank you for all the years of fun and support.”
Newsreader Kim Schulze was also shocked at the news, “Comrades, the safety of the travelling public is the amongst the most important challenges we face and it is for this reaso…”
I’m sorry, that’s the incorrect soundbite.
Adds 5FM’s Aisha, “It has been absolutely wonderful working with Sasha. He’s been a huge asset to the 5FM team and we will miss him as an on-air personality and as a team player. But look out for news of an exciting new show with Grant & Anele from 9 until 3 each day. I bet you can’t wait, right?
(The genuine press release (some of which you may be able to pick out from the text above) is available here.)