ECR head is in tune with radio listeners

East Coast Radio’s new MD, Mzuvele Mthethwa. | Supplied

East Coast Radio’s new MD, Mzuvele Mthethwa. | Supplied

Published May 20, 2024


Durban — From starting off as a debtors’ clerk, Mzuvele Mthethwa has worked his way up to become East Coast Radio’s (ECR’s) new managing director.

Mthethwa, 44, from eMkhomazi on the South Coast, took over from Bonisiwe Mchunu, who left the station last year.

The father of three has spent nearly two decades at ECR, having started in 2004 as a debtors’ clerk and in 2012 became the station’s head of finance, responsible for strategic planning, corporate governance and financial management.

He is also a long-standing member of the Kagiso Media Radio exco team.

He said as head of finance one had to be familiar with the broader business, adding that the progression made sense.

“It is still a big shift, but having been in finance gave me a solid foundation,” Mthethwa said.

“I have been part of the management team for over 12 years. Now I’m responsible for the whole business and working with my colleagues in the different divisions.

“We have a good management team who are skilled and able to run their departments.

“Like every business, the station has a challenge of staying relevant to its audiences. That challenge is how do we continue to serve our listeners’ and audience’s needs that are changing.

“Over time we have seen the power of social media and how businesses operate. For us, we try hard to be the heartbeat of the province. It’s about being profitable and relevant.”

He said ECR was an iconic brand that appealed to a broad demographic.

“The station’s strategy is sound and for me coming in as the new MD it’s just to improve our product and relatability. A lot of the foundation work has been done. For me it’s a continuation of a journey and growing our footprint in a sustainable way,” said Mthethwa.

He said what set ECR apart was its strong legacy.

“ECR is part of Kagiso Media, which is owned by Kagiso Trust, an organisation with a strong legacy. Some of the key figures that established this business were key in fighting apartheid and decided to set up an investment arm. We are a brand that is diverse in the audience we target. We have a broad cross appeal and are an integral part of the East Coast.

“We start you up in the morning, keep you sane during the day and then get you home safely. Every day we try to make people’s days better,” said Mthethwa.

He said they also had to manage public perception and the station had to remain relevant to its audience and be authentic. “ECR is very big on community involvement, like the Big Favour.”

Prior to joining ECR, Mthethwa worked as a bookkeeper and had a short stint at a small municipality on the South Coast.

“When I applied for the debtors’ clerk position, I did not know it would be at a radio station. But I fell in love with the medium,” he said.

The key to success, he added, was hard work and dedication.

“People nowadays want quick success. I believe in putting in the time, being dedicated and proving yourself. I feel my appointment came at the right time because I spent time at the station, put in my time, and have a good track record. It’s now up to me to live up to the work that has been done by my predecessors and continue to grow the station.

“Boni put me in a good position to take over the role. I am ready for this next chapter,” he said.

When away from the station Mthethwa loves classic cars and getting his hands greasy.

Sunday Tribune

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