Reading made me stay relevant despite the passing of time, says new Radio 2000 presenter Sydney Baloyi
Baloyi presents “Golden Classics”
By Benson Ntlemo
Seasoned and popular presenter Sydney Baloyi who is now the presenter of “Golden Classics” on Radio 2 000 has been in broadcasting for so long that his name is now synonymous with broadcasting.
Although he has won many awards over the years, his star has not waned.
Time has changed but the man from Merwe Village has always been relevant.
Perhaps his relevance can be shown with his new appointment as Radio 2 000.
He presents the show airing every Friday evening from 19h30 till 22h00.
The seasoned broadcaster has worked on most of the South Africa’s radio and TV stations.
He worked as a teacher and taught in schools.
To top it all Sydney knows how to work within the mass-media communication space for years as well as with NGOs focusing on community development.
He certainly knows how to keep going irrespective of changes in trends.
Concerning presenting, there is no doubt everybody knows that Sydney knows his onions.
“I hope to help Radio 2000 increase its listenership and revenue by presenting dynamic programs that are well researched all the time,” he said.
The former co-presenter of Munghana Lonene’s Phaphama program certainly understands to stay relevant.
“Radio trends have changed quite a lot since I first took my position behind the mic at Radio Thohoyandou aka The Big T, but so have people’s ways of consuming radio. In the past people used to listen to Radio so that they could get to hear what new music was out there, but music has become the most accessible commodity to everyone that by the time a presenter gets into his studio, his listeners already have all of the music he is going to play. Smart phones and music streaming services have made life easier for music lovers,” he said.
He says the answer is in reading so that one is not left behind.
Sydney had long had a passion for communication. He previously worked as a Teacher of English for High School learners, a role that culminated with an opportunity for him to do in-service training at Ohio University, USA.
Upon his return to South Africa, Sydney joined the now defunct Radio Thohoyandou, and later the SABC where he filled a number of positions in front of and behind microphones/cameras.
Some of his notable work includes the production and presentation of Swahombe- Zwanthesa, the first ever programme on TV produced with Tshivenda and Xi-Tsonga as languages of presentation/instruction.
He later took up a position as Assistant Director on MNET’s Face of Africa.
On the production front, Sydney’s voice has been used on many projects including the SABC’s flagship production Soccer Zone on SABC1.
On the whole his voice has been featured in over 250 commercials, audio-visual presentations, in-house entertainment productions, events and awards (SAMAs, METROs, XMAs etc).
His previous radio gig was with Munghana Lonene FM where he co-presented their morning drive time show PhaPhama.
In Munghana Lonene he was later moved to Africa wa Vulavula as well as the Jazz & Fusion Show on the same station.
But he knows what he is up to in his new venture.
“Radio 2000 is one of the largest commercial radio stations in the country with a transmission covering the whole country and also spilling to the neighbouring country,” he said and added, “so you will understand that this is an opportunity for me to become my former self (teacher) the difference being that the class room is much larger,” he said.
But a man of many talents, he is not merely doing presenting.
He is also into communications work and as someone with a passion for reading; he has thrown his weight behind the National Education Collaboration Trust and is serving in its media committee.
“One of the most recent campaigns I worked on was the National Reading Improvement Plan, a clarion call from the President’s State of the Nation address of June 2019 and now a direct responsibility of the National Reading coalition (NRP) which is incubated inside the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT),” he said.
Sydney and his colleagues, a team of Communications Specialists had to work with the NECT to create strategies that can help South Africans, young and old to embrace the culture of reading.
“This campaign is a very special and personal one to me because reading is a pastime that I pursue religiously,” he said.
In his state of the nation address last year President Cyril Ramaphosa quoted a 2016 report called PIRLS (progress in international reading and Literacy Survey) which found that 78% of South African 10 year olds cannot read for meaning. It went on to reveal that many of our students go on to graduate without having read an unprescribed book from cover to cover. That’s obviously the worst form of self-disservice, and Sydney found a huge sense of fulfillment by working on a project meant to reverse the trend and make South Africans to develop some affinity with books.
“As a former teacher I know that reading has far more benefits to one’s mental development than most people realise. Books allow you to travel the world without having to leave the confines of your house. People who read get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the stories of other people, and thereby enable them to improve their sense of empathy for others. Reading breeds empathy,” he said
There is no doubt that it is reading that keeps him going and relevant