The afternoon drive show: MTN awards nominee Zweli Mbhele (left) with co-host Nkhensani Khosa (far right) interviewing guest Leigh-Ann Carey.

THE AFTERNOON DRIVE SHOW: MTN awards nominee Zweli Mbhele (left) with co-host Nkhensani Khosa (far right) interviewing guest Leigh-Ann Carey.

First-timers Voice of Wits (VOW) scooped seven nominations in the MTN Radio Awards announced last week.

VOW is one of a few finalists selected who received this honour. According to the website, there were over 1000 entries.

Station manager Michael Smurthwaite said this year was the first time they entered since the re-launch of the station two years ago.

“Having launched the station from an empty floor, with no skills or experience in our staff, it is fantastic that after two years of hard work, training and mentorship we have managed to be nominated seven times at the first attempt,” Smurthwaite said.

Most of these nominations are in the campus and community radio stations but in one category, VOW will also go up against stations like Talk Radio 702 and SAfm.

In the Business and Finance category, VOW was nominated for its show Bizz Buzz against stations such as Talk Radio 702 and SAfm.

Tsholofelo Semenya was nominated in the News and Actuality Presenter (Campus and Community) category and is a presenter on Bizz Buzz.

“Holy Crap I’m up against Bruce Whitfield (702) was what I first thought. I’ve admired him as a talk radio host for a while and love his business show so it was pretty daunting to know we’d be going up against one another, but also a huge compliment to know that people of high radio prestige think that my show is of a good enough calibre to stand its own against other amazing national business shows,” Semenya said.

Zweli Mbhele received a nomination for the Afternoon Drive Presenter (Campus) category as well as Music Show (Campus) for Living Electro.

“I think they show that VOW FM is one of the best stations in the country and a lot more people will be aware of that now. We racked up more nominations than some of our commercial competitors (they know who they are), which puts the ‘campus station’ logic to shame. Our management has put in blood, sweat and tears into making us a top station and I think every presenter will agree that these nominations are for them just as much as they are for the presenters,” Mbhele said.

Commenting on the relevance of the MTN Radio Awards in South African media, Smurthwaite said they are “extremely relevant as they create a platform that recognises radio broadcasters for their craft and hard work”. This raises the standard of radio across the board, Smurthwaite said.

The awards banquet will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on Saturday, April 13.