Gareth Cliff sees an online radio future

Just because CliffCentral.com was canned on DStv’s Comedy Central doesn’t mean the online radio station is closed for business. Gareth Cliff speaks to DESTINY MAN

Despite the canning of online radio station CliffCentral.com’s TV show, aired on DStv’s Comedy Central, entrepreneur and station co-founder Gareth Cliff remains upbeat. The former 5FM mainstay says television played a small role in their business because Comedy Central had a “very small audience”.

According to My Broadband, the TV show will stop broadcasting on Monday 30 June.

Cliff says CliffCentral.com was not supposed to be about the TV show because it only made up 75 minutes of their 12-hour lineup.

The CliffCentral TV show on Comedy Central was between 7.30 to 9am, but was later shifted to the 6 to 7.15am slot. “We changed it in mid-term so that it was on earlier and very few people even noticed. Online listening is on the increase. That’s where I want us to focus. That’s our business,” says Cliff.

In a statement posted on their website, the company said the first two months of simulcasting the radio show on TV was a “great experiment” and in not so many words, indicated that Cliff would be reclaiming his studio. This suggests that the split with the pay TV channel was amicable.

It was, in fact, diluting our audience between the two channels. We can now focus on building the CliffCentral community

Cliff says there will be no changes to the initial arrangements they had with dstv.com and the DStv DMX audio bouquet.

Cliff says they don’t need to use other resources to compensate for no longer being with Comedy Central. “TV was a sweetener that I wanted to use to show the audience that we were a real value proposition, and that online radio wasn’t some Mickey-Mouse operation,” he says. “It was, in fact, diluting our audience between the two channels. We can now focus on building the CliffCentral community.”

The online radio station has since introduced established broadcast personalities like Tumisho Masha, Penny Lebyane, Trevor Gumbi, Tony Ndoro, Casper De Vries and Stan Katz. The lineup will include debates and discussions in conjunction with the Daily Maverick online newspaper. Listeners can also expect content that ranges from medical and motoring shows to programmes offering legal advice and focusing sport.

Cliff says the main challenge is getting around a lack of knowledge about the medium. “The only frustrating thing is that people don’t understand online radio – our numbers are growing daily but education is still required. It is the future,” he says.