By TOLERATE CHILOANE
Rhodes Music Radio’s (RMR) newly-appointed station manager Unathi Koboka has a powerful vision for the station’s role for Rhodes and the Makhanda community.
“I want RMR to be exciting and vibrant; I want it to be something that the students can listen to, and I also want it to be something that Makhanda can look forward to and feel represented by. It’s going to be inclusive, it’s going to be amazing, it’s going to be a vibe,” Koboka said.
Koboka studied Versatile Broadcasting at Walter Sisulu University and also boasts sound and events management qualifications. She was an assessor and facilitator for sound production, radio presentation and radio production at Radio Active Productions Publishing (RAPP). And she was a sound engineer, voiceover artist, translator, and transcriber for Media 7 and a programming manager at The Wireless radio station.
During her time at WSU, she had to choose whether to work as a presenter or in technical – and she chose the former. She later realised that she also wanted to dabble in the production side and started hanging out with one of her techie friends. She realised she could do it, which sparked an interest in radio production and engineering.
She snapped up a sound engineering learnership at RAPP and especially enjoyed doing voiceovers for the company. She also participated in radio productions for national campaigns, which aired on stations like Mhlobo Wenene.
She went on to secure a job at RAPP in June 2016. When the company grew and opened a radio station in 2018, she was asked to take on the role of programming manager at The Wireless. She was there from day one, from painting and setting up the studio.
The station helped harness her skills and exposed her to more significant projects and well-known people in the industry. She maintains strong ties with her RAPP family, including Bronwen Nel and Pauline Cordell. “They have been instrumental in everything that I am.”
Koboka said it was challenging to say what her position at RAPP was. “My boss would be like, this is Unathi; she’s my … we need to come up with a position for you; she is my right-hand lady.”
Koboka’s last job was fast-paced, and she likes to get the job done. Work that might take other stations two weeks to get done would take them about an hour.
She is personable and easy to work with; lucky are those she will be working with. “I don’t believe in micro-managing because I don’t enjoy it for myself,” she said. Though she doesn’t micromanage, she says she ensures work gets done and always aims for perfection.
She believes that her previous job prepared her for her current management position. She will be able to do everything she used to in this one position she’s holding.
She said she was receiving all the support she needed from people in the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies: Michael Irwin, who is her line manager; Andre Jourdan, who is the electronics and systems engineer; Lwandiso Gwarubana, who is a web and multimedia systems administrator, and Noxolo Manyathi who is an intern. “I am here alone, but I am not on my own,” she said.
RMR is working on a new programming schedule with input from people who used to be in the station, students who want to be in the station, and the community.
“Marketing is one of the areas that I want to focus on. I cannot say it won’t be great because I come from a place where anything other than top-notch is not acceptable,” she said.