Off Air With Bongani Mtolo

smiling man in hat

Radio has become as polarizing a topic as Donald Trump.  You are either going to be a listener or you are not and, even if you are not, you might still find the need to troll the social media pages of the various stations making your disdain heard.  East Coast Radio, in particular, has been receiving a lot of slack of late about everything ranging from the now-departed Phat Joe to the choice of music played on air. So how does one go about reviving the era of the radio? Is it even worth trying to compete with podcasts and pirated music downloads? Has radio become nothing but a novelty? In short, if you want to survive you have to be cool.  You have to have a mass appeal and cater for the hip, tech-savvy generation of know-it-alls because let’s face it, the future of radio largely depends on them.

So what did ECR do to regain their listener’s interest? They did a reshuffle that even Jacob Zuma would be proud of! They brought back an old-favorite in ) and coupled her with controversial ECR Urban jock, Bongani Mtolo to host the ever-popular Drive Time Show.

While everyone will fondly remember Mags from her stint on Big Brother SA not everyone is familiar with the enigma that is Bongani.

Let’s get to it then!

He’s super-cool, he speaks his mind and he is the newest member of the East Coast Radio Drive Team! Meet Bongani Mtolo who, together with Mags Westerhof are hosting the Drive show on ECR every weekday from 3- 6pm. Previously hosting East Coast Urban, Bongani is no stranger to East Coast listeners and has garnered a huge following with his brutal honesty.

Born and bred in KZN Bongani’s love for radio manifested itself when he was still a child and he has systematically worked his way up the system to where he now finds himself as co-host on one of the most popular shows on local radio.

We recently chatted with the stylish guy with the big smile. Here’s what he had to say:

Born in Richmond, schooled at Maritzburg College (they really produce celebs at a faster rate than Angelina Jolie adopts kids) and now living in Durban, what was growing up in PMB like? Were you one of the kids that crawled out of Crowded House at 4am in the morning or were you one of the good ones that focused on your school work?

I did both I was the guy that partied but I also was also on a basketball scholarship so I don’t want anything to mess that up.

You clearly have a passion for music and the local scene in particular. With the 13th season of Idols South Africa currently being aired on our screens and the winner of the 2nd season of The Voice recently being announced do you think talent shows such as these still hold any relevance in discovering true musical talent or is it nothing but cut-rate entertainment?

Artists have so many free platforms to showcase their talent, social media has really changed the game. They don’t need to go to these reality shows to showcase their talent.

Seeing that you are a bit of a fashion buff I am going to mention just two words with you elaborating as you please. Ready? Zodwa Wabantu.

I like her honesty, I like how real she is and how confident she is.  A lot of people hate her because they wish they had her confidence and her don’t care attitude.

A bit more about your fascination with fashion: Who is your favorite local designer? Are all your clothes from designer labels or do you buy from regular stores like the rest of us mere mortals?

I don’t have one I have a couple of local designers I like, Bantu creations by  Durban designer, Temperature by Sanele also from Durban and a dope store owned by a guy I used to play basketball with from Alex High school ” Scotch”.  I don’t buy labels I buy what I like, Mr Price, Cotton on, flea markets some stuff I get made.

You and Mags are both pretty much without verbal filters, always speaking your minds. What can ECR listeners expect from the all new Drive show?

Honest conversations, you are going to feel like you’re talking to your friends.

You caused quite an uproar when you stated that ‘Sometimes black people use the race card when it’s not needed’.  Do you think South Africans will ever move past their racial issues and what is needed to actually achieve that?

Yes, South Africans will move past racial issues but for that to happen, a lot of uncomfortable dialogue needs to take place. We can’t pretend everything is fine, we need to tackle issues head on.

Catch Bongani Mtolo on East Coast Drive, Monday to Friday, 3pm to 6pm.

Twitter: @Mtolo_b

Facebook: East Coast Drive

Instagram: Bongani3

Author: Justine Bishop

Untamed, outspoken and just a little bit crazy.

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