Ten weeks in….

CliffCentral - WeChat Stickers imageA lot of people know we’ve started something new. Not everyone has  figured out exactly what it is, where it is, or how it’s going. Here’s the low-down on this 10 week old baby – CliffCentral.com
It feels like a long time, but I did my last FM radio show only three months ago. After enjoying some fifteen years on radio – from Tuks to 702 to 5FM – and loved every minute of it, it was time for me to do something new …to have my own business…online radio or as we call it….“unradio”.

Many people have questioned the logic of giving up a large listenership on national radio for a medium which attracts relatively tiny audiences by comparison, with online radio being such a new concept in South Africa.  Having been an early adopter of both Facebook and Twitter and witnessing the change in the way people communicate, being part of creating the next generation of broadcasting, or rather “net casting”, was a natural evolution for me.

In the beginning it was just going to be my show, for three hours a day – and now we have a whole online talk radio station -12 hours of live programming every weekday.  It’s a combination of some of the most well-known personalities in South Africa as well as a launch pad for aspiring new talent.  In our first month we auditioned, live on air, over 1000 of the most interesting people I have ever heard on radio. The chance of any of them ever getting on the air on a traditional radio station were absolutely zero. Creating opportunities for talented young people is what is giving me the most personal satisfaction at this time.

As with all pioneering ventures, we are prepared to experiment to try things that haven’t been done before. One of those experiments was Comedy Central simulcasting an hour and a quarter of my show every morning.   The first month we started at 7.35 and then moved it to 6am the next month.  After a couple of weeks we agreed with Comedy Central to discontinue the simulcast.   It takes time for habits to change and focusing on our core business allows us to now concentrate on building, rather than fragmenting,  the CliffCentral platforms – website, WeChat and social media.

WeChat has proved to be an outstanding partnership.   In just ten weeks we have over 111 000 subscribers and seeing a daily increase in the messaging facility direct to the studio.   It has also allowed us to interact with our audience not only with the live streaming but also, broadcast messages, audio notes, chat rooms and direct messaging for advertisers.   We’re working closely with the WeChat team on an ongoing basis to explore new ways of maximizing interactive engagement with our community.

Everyone wants to know who’s listening. It’s hard to know what to measure – because we’re sailing into uncharted territory. We’ve consulted “experts’ in the technical field with regard the correct metrics.   We don’t want to compare ourselves with free-to-air FM radio, mostly because what we’re doing is so different.   The actual live “listening” forms a small part of a holistic approach which aims to integrate the multiple ways people are engaging on the various online platforms.

After ten weeks, CliffCentral.com is already a thriving community of engaged, interactive conversations that connect people across online radio, social media, WeChat, our website and face-to-face. We have 111 000 WeChat subscribers; 44 000 Facebook friends and 26 500 Twitter followers. The podcasts downloads are gaining momentum with 38 000 downloads of my show alone during June. With regard actual listening, it’s no longer “listeners” but  “unique IPs”, “streams”, “users”, “clicks” and “page views”.   While we’re figuring out these metrics, many people are still figuring out how to even listen (just like with all new things).

For those who are interested, here is a snapshot of a week, one month after launch from 1-7 June 2014:  20 681 unique IPs listening to our stream, via WeChat and Cliffcentral.com. On the website we had 15 966 users, 32 660 sessions and 78 792 pageviews logged. For the whole month of June we had 65003 unique IPs listening to our stream; and on Cliffcentral.com for the whole month we had 47 209 users, 11 6021 sessions and 282 242 pageviews logged. Only streams longer than 1 minute could be counted and the statistics were compiled using Sawmill and Google Analytics.   You see what I mean!   If you happen to be listening with friends or colleagues from one computer or phone – sorry you won’t be counted!

Our aim is to start small and build a solid foundation, accompanied by like-minded contributors, advertisiers and “un”listeners” who share our entrepreneurial spirit.  I’m more convinced than ever that this will be the medium of the tomorrow.  All ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

Gareth

47 Comments

  1. lerato says:

    I’ve heard so much abt how fun un radio is I jst haven’t tried listening, also listened on a frnd’s phone once, would like to get used to the idea it, am sure like any other social medias it will grow as well..

  2. Avu says:

    Don’t forget us when u become a global brand tho..Fuck the System in all ways ..u are killin it man ,its just a matter of time before CliffCentral becomes a real iconic movement u know …we tryna get our voices heard and we not tryna be within the limits of the systematic way of gettin our voices and opinions heard !!Gareth what u did was somethin what like Jay-Z did to Def Jam ..U a legend ur team is strong and realistically speaking from here on there is no limits for CliffCentral …no lies !!#Respect

  3. Taryn says:

    It is taking me a little time to get into the routine of downloading the pod casts and listening to them at an appropriate time. But, every time I listen I enjoy the experience more and more. Your interviews are extremely interesting, you give great insight into many topics that are largely avoided by current broadcasters because of regulations. It’s liberating to listen to your show and more people will start flooding in because you are reliably original and open and honest about so much we want to hear. You have a solid gold team, you guys are breaking boundaries! KEEP IT UP!

  4. Gavin says:

    The only downfall I see in your plan is that new “talent”. Most of those unknown guys wouldn’t get on a normal station because they are hopeless. In an environment where people pay for the bandwidth to listen to you they aren’t going to pay to hear amateurs. Your competition is wall-to-wall professionals and in order to survive you will need to at least match that. Splash out some cash and get a decent afternoon drive team in.

  5. Matthew Myopinion Fcku Murphy says:

    it comes down to data though… mobile users are dominating. but data is expensive. cell c had or has a deal with mxit. mxit was free with cell c. so cell c grew cos of that. if some how you could get a mobile service provider to offer you something like that connected to an app which in part you could connect to advertisement that could would be a major boost. people didn’t have to make the effort to listen to radio and they didn’t have to spend money. they just got in the car and turned it on. u need to figure out how to do that.

  6. Stephen says:

    Enjoying the show. Internet radio is the way forward. Setting the times in this country which is a bit behind (technologically speaking), haha.

  7. Jeff the Ref says:

    But you failed to explain why its so crap to listen to and even worse to watch? To be honest the only time I have ever come across you since you left radio was when I was waiting for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to start…

    And the reason behind putting your boring voice and ugly colleagues on TV (thank all 3600 gods that TV execs exist to pull the plug on premature dreams). That was a really bad call, nobody needed those faces to be placed with those names.

    Why do you think of things to say just before you say them? Overwhelming sense of poor preparation, lack of content and desperate execution. Your whole team. It sounds like you are all bored the whole time, which I can only imagine that you are in the extreme. It honestly sounds like you have all been woken up after your best friends 21st birthday party and being told you have AIDS and have to do the Comrades Marathon in the next hour – right after your show which you then proceed to hack through.

    I’m sure you believe that 36 000 or whatever it was IP addresses sounds like a lot, but in national media terms this is considered to be “very shit and depressing”.

    WeChat is shit too, was this the basis of your partnership?

    The best media in SA is ALL FOREIGN, and so it should be. Even local stations are filling gaps with foreign media streams, because thats what people want to hear. Nobody cares about your opinion anymore, and I know Gareth’s biggest fan is Gareth, and so it should be – but for fuck sakes; keep that to yourself. People honestly value a racist Darren Scott and peadophile Peter Davies over yours. You are the dumb one of your family yet you have all the strongest views based on a quick run through the Google news headlines each morning.

    Glad you so optmistic and positive based on those marks you gave yourself.

    Lekker

    Team Soundcloud.

  8. Michael says:

    You do know that a majority of the population are still stuck with feature phones? If you can overcome that milestone and somehow provide access to your stream on feature phones would give access to a majority of the population.

  9. ella says:

    just my 2 cents, i miss hearing the news and weather and informative stuff about politians and e tolls and oscar. i feel there is too much ‘farts’, joke news, interviews and uninformative information and im not getting my “educational fix” (for people who can read but don’t)
    this is making me not turn on my whatsapp the minute i wake up. (normally listen between 6:45 and 8am)

  10. The Sand Surfer says:

    Great start – keep it growing in to greater spaces. I also listen to US digiradio (ACS., etc) and as a business minded dude, wonder how you make your loot. Advertisers (one assumes you want to attract these pax) are not really interested in spastics like myself, living and working outside the Biltong republic, so good luck with this challenge.
    Stan Katz show is the best – and your J Berks interview was a trip back to the Ge era!
    I also podcast via iTunes – very easy, pity the rest of the shows are not on the same program.
    So best of luck and look forward daily to your shows. Ciao.

  11. navish says:

    i listen every now and then but there is no music .

  12. Corporate Type says:

    I listen every now and then via the email link I receive each day – it is nice and newsy for those seeking newsy stuff. Suits me. I am not going to do this to link to that to do this to do that or install this or that. I am too lazy and too busy and listening from my (very nice) smart phone is awkward and pain in the assy. I open up my laptop and click one button while having my morning coffee – that is my effort level. That does not mean I do not want to listen to you. Give me a one click solution and remind me about it on the socials. It needs to feel as easy as turning on the radio, (even if it is unradio) and I will keep popping in. If it starts to feel like admin then you will lose me.

  13. Gail Helyar says:

    CliffCentral has completely won me over,only listen in the morning .Previously 702 listener. Love the ‘no news, no weather, no ads , no sport’! Listen on my iPad with home ADSL. Is there a way I could listen and continue using iPad ? Loved you all on Comedy Central, miss that, everyone looked fabulous!, great combination of TV and radio

  14. Gail Helyar says:

    I hope you don’t take any notice of ‘Jeff the ref’ !! Must be the most Awful person!

  15. Devoted listener says:

    You guys mentioned using the Podcast app on the iphone today, which I had never used. It’s brilliant & just what I need. Thanks!

  16. Brigette says:

    Miss your intelligent humour on my morning drive, now i am a well trained channel hopper…Well done for getting out of the system and going on your own, wish you guys all the best. I also left the rest of the sheep following nation and am very slowly but surely building up my little business. Scary, exciting and amazingly liberating! Go for gold! PS. I have a wee crush on ya!

  17. Mega says:

    Jeff I have never followed Gareth as I am over 47 years of age and not his target market, however, my daughter who is 23 has always enjoyed him and so I’ve kept a wary eye and ear open to ensure she wasnt attending clubs where Gareth was the guest etc and he’s some drug addict pervert… hence I clicked this article to read what’s going on with his career and read your string of insults in your comment. I would like to say to you that your personal insults towards him clearly indicate either some sort of personal vendetta and/or jealousy of some sort because no normal person would be so emotional and personal about a simple survey unless they were hurt and upset by the person they’re targeting – and you do it ANONYMOUSLY (sign of a coward) and peppered with bad language (sign of being intellectually weak) AND on top of your insults to Gareth, you call his team ugly…. ROFL… Go and Google Karma and then sit back and wait until it takes a big-wet-steamy-sticky-dump on you!!! toodles

  18. Patrick says:

    Thumbs up Gareth, no one has ever changed the world by conforming to the norms of the society. What you started is the revolution of radio. Mandela was once called a terrorist when he stood up against the unjust apartheid system and today he is the most celebrated leader in the world even though he late. One day, your name will be amongst people that changed the world. And the critics will copy you, coz that is what they do first they laugh then they copy.

  19. Mega says:

    Oh and one more thing – if you have the guts – I would love to meet you face to face and tell you all of the above – perhaps we should do it ON Gareth’s show – or are you too ugly to do it ?? Do you need to hide behind anonymity?? COME ON … Would LOVE to meet a little upstart like you and watch you cringe when someone debates with you intelligently and brings you down to size…

  20. MRK says:

    I’m one of those trying to figure out the new medium…finally managed to download the podcasts onto my iPad. Catching up on the shows I’ve missed. Epic! #unradio

  21. Brendon says:

    Hi Gareth,

    I would like to get in touch with you? I have a proposal I would like to make.

    Nice work on the figures! Looking promising!

  22. Ziamar Ventblür the Human says:

    @ The pleasant fella Step-hen. You surely spend allot of time checking out and posting about someone you despise so much, how bored are you?!

    Keep it up Gareth Team:-)

  23. Jo-Ann says:

    You guys are amazing. I only used to listen to you on 5 fm on way to work, now I try to listen at home to full shown. Wow, you guys are doing great!

  24. Jo-Ann says:

    Jeff, you’re truly an arse!

  25. shikar says:

    Love the show….nice work!! Listen in every morning, from Germany, through WeChat. Always great having a little bit of home where ever you are 🙂

  26. Cynthia says:

    Loving your show, tune in each morning while driving to work. Only thing i miss is the news, weather and traffic… It’s the only time of day i get to keep up to grips with reality. Other than that, loving your show! Keep up the good work guys!

  27. @Student_Radio says:

    On a good note, I stream 24/7! Great concept, that’s content we want – 100% uncenored!

  28. Helz says:

    Woooooow, people are lame and negative and …. lame

  29. Cam says:

    I still love your show and have officially deserted 5fm morning drive…Nick Hammond is awfully weak. I love your content and most mornings am thoroughly entertained however I would make the following observations…I too miss the legit quick news and weather overview but not so badly that I will find it somewhere else. I miss the sound quality of the music but not the actual music on 5fm, keep playing the old stuff and why not showcase the real music being created by our local talent and dj’s (DJ Fresh and Euphonik are NOT it). I agree that all the farts and burps are a tad silly and somewhat juvenile. We get it, you are free to do it, but seriously it is a turn off. Everytime I hear the word fuck, I giggle…refreshing not to have to bite your tongue when only a good expressive expletive will do. I am impressed with the brave brands advertising…but the unradio may only appeal to a handful of potential advertisers…in a nutshell, you guys are really entertaining and I am happy to pay for data to stream you in my car every day…

  30. Hey Gareth and team. Used to live in South Africa. Left jhb one year ago. Was so sad to hear you leave 5fm which I used to strean from the UK. I now listen to your unradio show at least three times a week. So glad you are all still together. Love the vibe. You guys keep me going here in north Wales. Cheers guys….phil

  31. AK says:

    Hi Gareth
    I used to enjoy your 5fm mornings and occasionally listened to Cliffcentral. Some “mistakes” you did /obstacles that you need to sort out imho are:
    – going live on TV. In radio the sound works. Not the faces. Listeners are at liberty to associate their favourite face to their favourite sounds. once i saw your team, i kind of dont get the same feeling at all when i listen to them. Anyway, thats me.
    – data issue. MTN streams you for free but data prices are prohibitive. You need to make deals with other operators or find some other way..sponsored streaming or smtg..
    – handsets. Surprisingly the number of handsets that can decently access streams are very low in SA
    – people. number of people who understands and figures out WeChat/streaming etc are also very few relatively. Intersection of the above two makes a big chunk of your target market who are excluded…make them aware!
    -I think else you will remain a niche market offering, according to me that is injustice to your talent.

    Good luck!

  32. Heather Hirschman says:

    How hilarious it would be to have Mega and Jeff debating on Cliff Central – been a deafening silence from Jeff since he commented!
    I love listening to all of you in the morning – have not got around to listening after 9 yet.
    I think its great that you allow people you interview to actually participate in the show rather than just q&a.
    Gareth I got the feeling that you were just a tad intimidated by George Mazurakis (sp?) – not a bad thing – shows that you are not too big for your boots.
    keep up the GREAT work and all the best to you – when I first heard you on 702 I knew you were going to be a force to be reckoned with.
    I once said, on 702, that if Berks was the King of Rado you were the Prince – guess I was right.

  33. Roz says:

    Well said Mega, Jeff you have issues… Gareth I listen when I can please ANYTHING has to be better than damn Whackhead and Sam good grief

  34. Jade says:

    Hi Gareth – I love the show! I have to stream it from the website (not a problem) but I wasn’t successful registering a WeChat account. I’m in Hong Kong and it seems like my number was previously used and they already have an account linked to my cell number. How do I kick them off? Tried to contact WeChat but no response.
    My little seal of approval, love how you’ve created jobs and new avenues. Streaming radio is a great idea to bring to SA but it’s nothing new so I find it strange to hear any criticism. Did you get hold of that guy who wrote that ridiculous article yet, give him hell!

  35. Dedre says:

    Hi Guys. I’m super happy for you all that it is going so well and reading through the comments it seems everybody has some way of doing it better. It must be so hard trying to keep everybody happy, but I hope you don’t try and do that. If you took all of the above comments into consideration, you would end up with an exact copy of your 5FM morning show. Please don’t add more music or weather and stuff like that to your shows. Keep it about the debate and the discussions. I try and listen every morning and have not once been disappointed in what you guys were talking about. You guys are doing amazing and I can’t understand why people are struggling to convert. I did it in a heartbeat and have been with you for all 10 weeks, even when travelling to Oz and UK. Having said all that, one teeny tiny little criticism I do have is the guest presenters on Arye’s show. Some of them are ok, but most of the Ladies like Kat and Amanda seem to try and make it a “Platform of Me”. I really don’t enjoy listening to women talking about themselves nonstop and turning every conversation back to how great they are. If they could tone down the narcissism and complement Arye’s style instead of trying to overbear it and getting all the spotlight, that would be great, because we DO need more strong females on air!

  36. Troy says:

    Well done on your balls, and tuning the circus of SABC to get knotted!! that said sometimes feel that you could drop some more tunes to get the day on the go!!

    Thanks

  37. Lorraine says:

    Gareth how about starting a slot for single’s over 50 to meet genuine partners who are not out to play games or scam anyone?

    Love your now “old” unradio as it is doing very well, congrats to you and your team…

  38. Andz says:

    I have been following cliffcentral since it started, and call it my “bush” radio as I get wifi but no cell reception where I work. I’ve always been a bit of a PR person for Gareth as I enjoy listening to something useful. I am so happy Gareth is moving SA forward and giving us more than just one option… more than just one opinion…. more than just one mentality. Wish you all the best.

  39. Genevieve White says:

    Hi Gareth

    Am loving the show…I download the podcasts every day and listen between meetings at work. Love that you took the whole team – sorry for Sias (spelling).

    Dabbling with some of the other shows on offer and enjoying them too!
    Well done Gareth! “Sterling job old chap!”

  40. Thato says:

    Unradio is the bomb-diggydy…. Continue the great work guys, innovation is key. I love it. I love that I can get your morning podcast should I miss the show…

  41. Elize says:

    I’m loving unradio. I listen to the morning show and never miss Casper’s show.

    If I could give a bit of constructive criticism, I would have to say that the burping, crude jokes and multiple sex references get irritating at times. I understand that it must be liberating to be able to do that live on air, but I listen to the morning show to hear fun but intelligent commentary on current affairs and hear you interviewing interesting people. Being able to talk about vaginas shouldn’t mean that you feel obliged to talk about it all of the time…

    Gareth, I really like the way in which you can give one insight into what’s happening in politics. More of that would be great. And how about getting Lindsay Williams on the phone from time to time? I love how he makes boring economic stuff entertaining and easy to understand.

    Anyway, keep up the good work! I really hope that things will work out for Cliffcentral. It took real balls to do this & I wish you all the best. 🙂

  42. Nicole says:

    I download the podcasts and haven’t missed downloading a show for the last few weeks.

    I probably would have been downloading since the beginning had I known I could download the podcast to my iPhone via the Podcasts app. As it is, I had downloaded the app because you guys left 5FM and I just could not bring myself to listen to any of the other breakfast shows and had to turn to something else (the Cracked podcast to mention one).

    Anyway…all’s well that ends well and I have some observations/questions;

    – When are you adding Ben to the Podcast cover? He should be on there…he is worthy Gareth!

    – Mabale has the best laugh, I want to put her in my pocket.

    – I would like to know what happened with the aunt and the biltong?

    All that said…I do feel that you guys are doing a really great job. Keep it up!

  43. I still think it was a massive call… but I back you to put it off properly in the long haul as more people get familiar with the listening platforms

  44. […] Cliff posted on his Blog which is the closest thing we have to “numbers”. Gareth said that in 10 weeks since the […]

  45. Yovanna says:

    Gareth I prefer to sleep alone, and still I have the pleasure of waking up WITH YOU “virtually” in my bed, to your sexy, gentle voice, your awesome humour, and unsurpassed intelligence, thats what “unradio” feels like to me. While the numbers grow (which they surely are), we, the privileged “few” (for now), have you almost ALL TO OURSELVES ! Just know that when you took that leap, a whole lot of us JUMPED WITH YOU TOO. ?
    And we also WORRIED whether it would work, ALONG WITH YOU.!
    BUT IT DID! (So WEE WEE TO THE HATERS, keep on counting to infinity you losers!)?????

  46. Thanks dear for this post.

  47. very good and informative post full of knowledge.

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