Passion pays off for Bay radio boss

Cindy Preller

HIS love for music has made his relationship with the radio industry a life-long affair. Algoa FM managing director Dave Tiltman celebrates two milestones this year – his 50th birthday and 25 years at Algoa FM. Born in East London, Tiltman spent his school years in King William’s Town and matriculated at Dale College Boys High School. Always passionate about the radio business as well as being an entrepreneur, he studied towards a B.Com degree from 1982 at then University of Port Elizabeth. In between his studies, he worked at student radio station, Radio Uppie, for three years.

“I did everything from being a DJ on the station, to eventually managing it.

“When I started working there, it [the station] was a year old. When I graduated, I received my university colours for servicing the student community with my involvement at the radio station,” Tiltman said.

In 1986 Tiltman started his two years’ compulsory service in the army and soon found his way to a radio station in Namibia, working as a presenter on weekends at South West African Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC), which he says was his “first real experience at a proper radio show”.

Upon returning home to the Eastern Cape, he applied for a music compiler vacancy at then Radio Algoa and kicked off his career at the regional radio station, which was then under the SABC stable, in January 1989.

Asked what he loved about the airwaves, Tiltman said it was a combination of the red “on air” light and the music. “Radio had a lot of moving parts at one stage and I was always fascinated by it. “Once I saw that, it was like a moth to a flame and became my obsession,” Tiltman said.

In 1997 when Algoa FM was privatised, it became a commercial radio station, which Tiltman described as a massive learning curve “which all fell into place”.

Today the station is run with the purpose of growing the bottom line. It is 90% owned by a JSE-listed company and the remaining 10% ownership is split between an empowerment group and an investment company.

Tiltman was appointed as the general manager of the station in 1999, with his directorship following a year later.

When Tiltman started at the station the staff complement was just over 25. which has doubled to 53 employees.

“I have done almost all of the jobs at the station throughout the years and love my job. It is not just a salary to me, but the industry I love. I think my personality also suits the business. I am fair, a people’s person and consistent,” Tiltman said.

And what does he think about the future of radio in a technology and image-based world?

“Radio still has a massive role to play and will not die. It is a one-on-one medium with a human voice and is an integral part of how the local community interacts. Algoa FM has more than 600000 listeners and plays a vital role in the Southern and Eastern Cape by being entrenched in the community, in providing news, information and entertainment. We are the first to tell our listeners, and even non-listeners who tune-in, about breaking news in the region,” Tiltman said.

His future plans are to expand the radio’s social media platforms as well as to retain and grow the radio station’s client base – both listeners and the advertisers.

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