After a decade at a traditional radio station, South African radio DJ Gareth Cliff quit to launch a new property, CliffCentral which will be ‘unscripted. uncensored. unradio.’ The new property will be available through multiple platforms with the intent to increase reach (through a television extension) and to increase participation (through web and mobile messaging app WeChat).
Cliff seems determined to experiment with the concept of “unradio” by making his show more creative and interactive. “Radio will die and I want to hold the Funeral,” he said in an interview. By avoiding traditional radio, the show will also be free of local broadcast restrictions.via facebook.com/GarethCliffOfficial, watch the launch video Crazy for WeChat – CliffCentral
#unradio is… more interactive, with WeChat
WeChat is an all-in-one mobile social communication app for smartphones. It has over 800 million registered users, 355 million of whom use it on a monthly basis to make video calls and for live chats.
According to World Wide Worx, only 5% of South Africans mobile users use WeChat (as opposed to the 53% that used rival app WhatsApp). The partnership between CliffCentral and WeChat is thus poised to help both parties.
Through its official account (OA) on WeChat, CliffCentral hopes to change the audience-interaction-paradigm, by sending audience members audio, video and picture updates (automatically and on demand) and by allowing the audience to interact with one another.
WeChat’s South Africa MD Brett Loubser said:
“It’s not just about streaming. That’s only the beginning of the experience the CliffCentral OA on WeChat has to offer.
“A mash-up of functionalities will be available via the OA on WeChat: think voice and video clips from the CliffCentral team, the Poll with Mol, vouchers, chat groups etc. This is not radio as we know it.”
In return, WeChat hopes the popularity of CliffCentral will boost adoption in South Africa.
#unradio is… more creative, with television
In addition to its WeChat presence, CliffCentral will also be available as The Gareth Cliff Show on television and cliffcentral.com. The show will be aired live every Monday to Friday on Comedy Central South Africa, ComedyCentralAfrica.com and CliffCentral.com from May 2014.
Cliff shared that the show will feature calls, live interviews and commentary on daily news stories.
“The partnership with Comedy Central not only gives our audience a traditional platform to join us as they’re getting ready to start the day, but is an opportunity to uncover fresh local content in a way that has never been done before in South Africa – reality radio!”
Future of Radio?
All avatars of CliffCentral launched on May 1st and seemed to be popular among tech savvy South Africans. According to thetechieguy.com, @garethcliff took the top spot of trending issues in Johannesburg, beating political party ANC and Workersday on Twitter. @cliffcentralcom too trended in Johannesburg.
As the show commences its first season, it’s worth watching to see how audiences react to the new format, and if the promise of content and interactivity can drive adoption of WeChat.