Today marks 70 years of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) first in-house news broadcast. The public broadcaster was established in 1936, but it didn’t operate a news service of its own until 15 years later, just after World War Two.
Here are some of the highlights of Radio, TV and News over the years of broadcast:
- The South African Railways did the first “wireless” broadcast in Johannesburg
- The Durban Corporation introduced “wireless” to that city
- SABC Radio operations at the Broadcast House in Johannesburg
- The new national radio service in English was introduced
- IsiZulu, IsiXhosa and SeSotho were broadcast to township communities countrywide
- A commercial radio service, Springbok Radio, broadcasting in English and Afrikaans, was introduced
- An external radio service (now known as Channel Africa) began broadcasting on shortwave
- The SABC established a new service, Radio Buntu
- A comprehensive FM network was established in order avail radio services to the whole country
- Radio Setswana became a 24-hour service
- Radio Zulu was launched
- Radio Zulu began to broadcast for 24 hours
- Radio South Africa (now SAfm), Radio Suid-Afrika (now RSG) and Radio 2000, as well as regional stations Radio Jacaranda, Radio Oranje and Radio Algoa were launched
- Radio Metro, targeting urban black youth was introduced
- Reverend Hawu Mbatha became the first black manager of Radio Zulu
- On the IBA’s instructions, the SABC sold its six regional radio stations – Highveld, Jacaranda, Kfm, East Coast, Algoa and Oranje.
- Television in SA was introduced
- The SABC began test transmissions for TV broadcasting
- TV1 was launched with a theme “Opening Night” for the first ever broadcast
- TV2 and TV3 were launched in Johannesburg and broadcast in five languages – IsiZulu, IziXhosa, Southern SeSotho, Tswana and Northern SeSotho.
- A TV channel providing mainly entertainment and sports coverage, TV4, began transmission.
- The SABC broadcast its first radio and TV simulcast by using a satellite transponder of Intelsat to distribute its radio and TV signals.
- TSS – Topsport Surplus – was introduced as an unofficial supplementary TV service
- The SABC relaunched all its TV stations
- President Nelson Mandela was the guest of honour
- The SABC Board of Governors establish the News Department
- Introduction of the first Regional News Service
- Broadcast on loudspeakers installed in residential hostels
- Radio Setswana broadcast five daily news bulletins
- Afrikaans radio current affairs programmes on RSG, Monitor, started broadcasting.
- SABC television news crew got their first taste of the hectic pace and deadlines of television
- News and information services were scrutinized and monitored in detail
- “Breakfast television (“Goeie Môre Suid-Afrika / Good Morning South Africa” on TV 1) started
- SABC experienced first live broadcast of a political debate on television in South Africa, February 1988 (FW de Klerk vs Andries Treurnicht)
- The SABC’s coverage of the release of Nelson Mandela
- SABC broadcast first democratic election
- SABC Radio News introduced sound bites in its Radio Bulletin
Research compiled and coordinated by Angie Kapelianis