How are you doing in this madness? ‘Vasbyt’, as the Afrikaans people say…

I write one of these blogs every week and normally they’re not as controversial as the last two, but they might interest you if you’re thinking about what happens next. Just like any other mammal, I don’t have any special powers to predict the future, but I think it’s becoming clear that the lockdown will have far-reaching ramifications.

The Coronavirus pandemic has swept across the planet, leading to global chaos and extraordinary changes to all our lives. We’re all spending almost all our time at home and consuming media very differently. There are many confusing messages, and not many sources you can completely trust…

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16.03.20 Pt 1 – Cyril was late for the biggest pandemic address of the nation in… ever! What does Covid-19 actually mean? What’s the most amount of people you should have at your wedding? If you cough and sneeze , we no longer say “bless you”… we just move away from you and send thoughts and prayers. Serbia has a pretty hectic approach to the rules around corona. George Carlin told us we’d be panic-stricken, but he told us 20 years ago. And what would you take into a covid bunker?

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24.02.20 Pt 1 – How long does it take to get good at talking into a microphone? What happens when you get dragged to a play with friends and then you have to dress up, where does the madness end? In breaking news, we survived the asteroid. Fair dinkum, Margot Robbie is a belter! If you are a mother and you have life insurance, be careful that your daughters don’t kill you.

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Are you ready for the best decade in humanity’s history? No matter how much the news media, politicians, celebrities and climate change activists tell you we’re about to enter the gates of hell, we’re not. Things are pretty fantastic for humans…

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Siya Sangweni (CliffCentral Brand Manager), Rina Broomberg (CliffCentral co-founder) and I were in New York last week for a series of meetings, a conference and some interesting experiences in the world of podcasting. It’s always reassuring to hear other people’s stories of pioneering their businesses and ideas in new media and to compare them to your own. You quickly realise that the distance between Johannesburg and New York is shorter than it has ever been – and that we’re having similar experiences, challenges and discovering clever solutions to the flux that all media businesses find themselves in…

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People abuse the term ‘community’. A community is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” It doesn’t mean the million things politicians want it to. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram talk about their community – but we’re certainly not in the same neighbourhood and we don’t have much in common (especially if you look at your feed on Twitter)…

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Turns out we’re not just vapid and superficial.
Turns out we want more than 280 characters.
Turns out we like complex stories with lots of characters and plot lines.
Turns out we like interviews where people talk about philosophy, life and meaning.
Turns out we’re smarter than the media people thought.

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Legendary DJ from way back when and radio fundi Stan Katz has decided to launch his own podcast series called ‘Making Waves’, interviewing fellow media colleagues. He came to CliffCentral to talk to Gareth Cliff, and here is the conversation between these two radio pioneers, spanning four decades of broadcasting between them.

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I remember the school run fondly. My mom would load me, my brother, and sister into the car and take us on the 30-minute drive to school. The journey had a familiar routine – passing by the same places, chatting and laughing. Someone else was always in the car though – the radio. There was a DJ cracking corny jokes at the same time every morning, making a predictable prank call, playing the number one song on the charts for that day (in 1992, it was Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, which meant that we all had to hear that song every day for months, so that it was tattooed on the inside of our skulls and infected our dreams), and someone reading the news headlines. Those morning drives were the context for my teenage years…

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Online media was in its infancy in South Africa when we made the giant leap from terrestrial radio to start CliffCentral.com. Podcasting was almost unknown in South Africa and the naysayers predicted failure. Now, five years later, podcasting is the fastest growing medium in America (70% growth year-on-year for the last three years according to Edison Research) and gathering momentum in South Africa. We’ve been collaborating with Brain and Brand expert Timothy Maurice and actuary Ernest North to assess the qualitative and quantitative effect of podcast audiences…

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