Voice of Wits (VowFm) turns six this month and will be hosting a series of events throughout the month to celebrate this milestone.

VowFm’s marketing coordinator, Pumla Wilbon, said the birthday events started on the 1st of September with an outside broadcast at the Matrix and these events all lead up to the main birthday celebration on September 24 at Chesa Nyama in Braamfontein.

Wilbon said that teams from the different VowFM shows were currently in a competition for the station’s birthday month. “Different shows will post a picture online and the one with the most likes will win,” she said.

The prize in question is the choice of a charity home to receive a luncheon and a day with VowFm Djs. The luncheon is in partnership with Treat, a mobile frozen yoghurt and coffee business.

The station has come a long way since relaunching in September 2010, after the station was shut down. According to current station manager, Mike Smurthwaite, the station was closed down due to “bad management, nepotism and structural politics”.

“The station was not fulfilling licence conditions, was not financially sustainable and not compliant,” he said. Smurthwaite said there was no choice but to shut down and rebuild the station.

The station manager, who has been with the station since its re-launch in 2010, said that development has been rapid in the past six years and there was more work to be done.

“When we launched, our reach was only 1.5kms and now we cover most of Johannesburg (in patches),” he said. The growth includes increases in listenership, supporting academic programmes and even interest from advertisers has steadily increased. Smurthwaite said the station was now in a new five-year plan which focuses on growing content and relevance.

“We want to entrench ourselves in the fibre of our listenership, by playing a bigger role in civil society,” he said about the next phase of the station’s growth.

Lwazi Zondo, presenter and content producer, has been with the station for over three years and said working at the station has been an amazing experience as the station has afforded her many opportunities such as helping pay her fees and access to the Wits Radio Academy.

“I hope the next six years will mean as much to someone else as they have to me,” she said.