FOR the past 16 years, national radio station 5FM’s breakfast slot has been dominated by two men: Mark Gillman and Gareth Cliff.
With Cliff announcing his shock departure on air on Monday, the station has moved to call on Grant Nash to host its breakfast show as a stand-in next month. Experience tells us Nash is far less polarising than the two. But is the slot purely for bad boys, which the station seems to favour?
Here are just some of 5FM’s breakfast shock jocks’ run-in with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA: GILLMAN
He was met with complaints when he called then co-host Catherine Strydom a “buffalo bitch”, while he spoke to her on the line from East London. The station said there was nothing wrong, since Strydom was in “Buffalo City”. In its response, 5FM said Gillman regularly called Strydom “bitch” because it was “a common and contemporary use of a word in reference to her as his sidekick”.
Regular listeners to his show would immediately recognise the reference, the station said. Gillman was warned of his future conduct.
A listener complained that Gillman had used the term “bonehead schools” in reference to Afrikaans schools. The station called it a “throw-away” comment, and because the school under discussion was the same one he attended, they found the comment “more self-deprecating than disparaging”. The complaint was not upheld.
Gillman invited music group Beeskraal to his show, and subsequently referred to them as a “far right-wing punk band”. Complaints said the interview insinuated the group had connections with white fundamentalists who had allegedly caused bombs to explode in Soweto. However Gillman was let off the hook again, with the BCCSA saying the interview was “not on a matter of public importance or controversy”. GARETH CLIFF
Cliff upset many when he told his listeners that when he played dub step (music) at a recent gig, which no one could dance to, the partygoers “looked like a bunch of epileptics”. In its long response, 5FM said Cliff also mentioned characteristics of white and black dancers, which “ought to illustrate he did not intentionally single out the epileptic society”. He was warned to be more careful in future.
He said he had had a dream that he’d won the Lotto, saying: “I was as excited as a paedophile on a school bus”. 5FM said it was done in a metaphorical way. Cliff (and the station) was reprimanded for his “utterly unfair and ill-informed” comment.
– Andile Ndlovu