Despite technological advancements in South Africa, radio remains a big part of the country’s consumption. Mzansi has several stations that cater to the needs of different audiences. Which networks are most preferred by listeners in 2021? Below is a list of the top 20 SA radio stations.
Data released by the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa for the January to June 2021 period reveals that 74% of radio listeners tune in for music, 70% for news, and 39% for traffic updates. Traditional radio frequencies remain a popular way to access stations at 77%, mobile access at 29%, TV at 12% and computer at 1%.
Top 20 most popular radio stations in South Africa
What radio station is number one in SA? A network is considered number one if it has the most listeners. Below are all radio stations that are most preferred by South African audiences.
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The list is sourced from the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) website for data collected and analyzed between April 2019 and March 2020.
1. Ukhozi FM – 91.5 MHz
Ukhozi FM is the largest radio network in the country and has been holding the top position for a long time now with a listenership of more than 7.6 million. April 2019 to March 2020 statistics reveal that 7,607,000 people tuned in to the network. It is owned by SABC and targets the country’s Zulu-speaking community. The Ukhozi FM frequency is 91.5 MHz in Johannesburg.
2. Umhlobo Wenene FM (UWFM) – 88 to 106.8 FM
Umhlobo Wenene FM is an SABC-owned Public Broadcasting Service radio station that targets the isiXhosa community. It is the second most preferred network in South Africa, with more than 5.8 million listeners according to April 2019 to March 2020 BRC statistics. UWFM is available in 7 SA provinces, excluding Limpopo and Mpumalanga, at frequencies between 88 and 106.8 MHz.
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3. Metro FM – 96.4 MHz in Johannesburg
Metro FM is an urban radio station owned by SABC and targets SA’s youth audience. It holds 3rd position with more than 4.3 million viewers according to BRC April 2019 to March 2020 stats. Metro FM's frequencies are as follows;
- Johannesburg: 96.4 MHz
- Pretoria: 92.4 MHz
- Durban: 93.0 MHz
- Port Elizabeth: 100.5
- Bloemfontein: 98.1 MHz
4. Lesedi FM – 87.7 to 106.6 FM
Lesedi FM is an SABC-owned PBS radio network that targets the Sesotho community. It comes in at number 4 as Mzansi’s favourite network with more than 3.3 million listeners. Lesedi FM frequency ranges between 87.7 to 106.6 MHz around the country.
5. Thobela FM – 87.6 to 92.1 MHz
Thobela FM is an SABC-owned PBS/Commercial network. It targets SA’s Northern Sotho speaking and understanding audience and has over 2.9 million listenership as of March 2020 stats. Thobela FM frequencies range from 87.6 to 92.1 MHz, and the exact frequency can be searched on its website’s frequency finder. Its footprint is in Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West.
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6. Motsweding FM – 87.9 to 107.9 FM
Motsweding FM is an SABC-owned Urban Adult Contemporary Radio Station and broadcasts in Setswana. The network takes the sixth position on the list of top 10 radio stations in South Africa, with a listenership of over 2.7 million as of March 2020. Motsweding FM frequencies range from 87.9 to 107.9 MHz in North West, Northern Cape, Gauteng Province, Free State, parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
7. RSG (Radio Sonder Grense) – 100 to 104 FM
RSG is an Afrikaans radio station owned by SABC. The PBS network had an average listenership of more than 1.3 million in March 2020, as revealed by BRC statistics. Radio Sonder Grense frequencies range between 100 and 104 MHz, and it has nationwide coverage.
8. Munghana Lonene FM (MLFM) – 103.2 MHz in Johannesburg
Munghana Lonene FM broadcasts in the Xitsonga language and is also owned by SABC. It is one of South Africa’s favourite radio with over 1.2 million listeners. Its frequencies are 103.2 MHz in Johannesburg and 95.6 MHz in Pretoria. Munghana Lonene FM has footprints in Gauteng, Limpopo, North West, and Mpumalanga, as well as Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
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9. Gagasi FM – 99.5 MHz
Gagasi FM is a Durban-based urban radio network. Its programmes are split between talk and music and are delivered in Zulu and English. It is one of the most popular networks in South Africa, with a listenership of over 1.1 million. Gagasi FM’s frequency is 99.5 MHz, and it broadcasts across KwaZulu-Natal.
10. Jacaranda FM – 93.9 to 97.1 FM
Jacaranda FM wraps the list of the top 10 FM radio stations in South Africa with a listenership of over 1.1 million. It is owned by Kagiso Media and broadcasts in English and Afrikaans. Jacaranda FM’s frequency ranges between 93.9 and 97.1 MHz and broadcasts in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North West.
11. Ikwekwezi FM – 90.6 to 107.7 FM
East Coast Radio is a KwaZulu-Natal-based commercial network. The regional radio station is one of the largest, with an average listenership of over 1.02 million. ERC can be found on 94.0 FM in Durban, and covers the whole of KwaZulu-Natal.s range between 90.6 and 107.7 MHz, and it has footprints in the following areas;
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- Mpumalanga (Eastveld and Highveld)
- Several parts of North West
12. Ligwalagwala FM – 87.7 to 104.0 FM
Ligwagwala FM is an SABC-owned PBS network with SiSwati programmes. An average of 1.09 million people listen to the station, according to BRC April 2019 to March 2020 stats. Ligwalagwala FM broadcasts on 87.7 to 104.0 MHz and covers Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
13. East Coast Radio – 94.00 to 95.90 MHz
East Coast Radio is a KwaZulu-Natal-based commercial network. The regional radio station is one of the largest, with an average listenership of over 1.02 million. ERC can be found on 94.0 FM in Durban, and itcovers the whole of KwaZulu-Natal.
14. KFM – 94.5 FM in Cape Town
KFM is a Cape Town-based network owned by Primedia Broadcasting. It has an average listenership of 943,000 and can be accessed on 94.5 MHz in Cape Town.
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15. 947 – 94.7 FM
947 is based in Johannesburg and is also owned by Primedia Broadcasting. It comes in at number 15 on the list of SA’s top radio stations, with a listenership of about 899,000. You can find the network on 94.7 MHz in Johannesburg.
16. Phalaphala FM – 87.9 to 107.8 MHz
Phalaphala FM is an SABC-owned radio station that targets the Venda speaking and understanding audience. It has an average listenership of 804,000 based on BRC April 2019 to March 2020 stats. Phalaphala FM frequency is 107.8MHz in Johannesburg and 100.1 MHz in Pretoria.
17. Kaya FM 95.9 – 95.9 MHz
Kaya FM 95.9 is a Johannesburg-based commercial radio station. The network has an average of 777,000 listeners and broadcasts on 95.9 MHz in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
18. Radio 2000 – 97.2 to 100 MHz
Radio 2000 is a Johannesburg based network owned by SABC and usually broadcasts live sports activities. The national station has about 751,000 listenership, and its frequencies range between 97.2 to 100 MHz across the country. Listeners can use the frequency finder on Radio 2000’s website to get the exact frequency for their region.
19. Heart 104.9 FM – 104.9 MHz in Cape Town
Heart 104.9 FM, also called Cape Town’s Beat, is a Cape Town-based music station that plays jazz, urban and adult contemporary genres. Its average listenership is about 746,000, according to BRC stats. You can find the frequency of your location from its website’s frequency finder.
20. YFM - 99.2 MHz
YFM is a Johannesburg-based youth radio station that mostly plays urban music with limited talk shows. BRC stats reveal that the network has an average of 638,000 listeners.
Which of your favourite radio stations in SA made it to the list? As revealed by the above top 20 SA radio stations list, the networks owned by SABC dominate.
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Source: Briefly News
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What to Know. Set your FM transmitter to broadcast on 89.9 FM, then tune your radio to that frequency. If you experience FM interference, use an app like ClearFM to find an open frequency based on your location. To use an FM transmitter to play music from a mobile device, you must find a frequency free of interference.
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