Springbok Radio is back! If you can remember what a wireless is, you probably remember Springbok Radio. If you can recall the Jet Jungle or Squad Cars jingles, this is your lucky day. Springbok Radio was one of the most beloved and successful commercial radio stations in South African history.
Thanks to the Springbok Radio Preservation Society of South Africa, favourite programmes such as Squad Cars, Lux Radio Theatre, Taxi, The Epic Casebook, The Men From The Ministry, The Sounds Of Darkness, and The Creaking Door, will be heard again when the society launches its Internet radio service on July 1. The new service will operate 24 hours a day, repeating a six-hour compilation of programmes four times daily. Programming will change on a daily basis. There would also be new programming that would include popular music and variety shows, and concentrate on nostalgia. For the past 21 years the society had been collecting, restoring and archiving over 20 000 original Springbok Radio programmes.
The Internet Radio Service of http://springbokradio.com/ will be on the
society's Web site.
On 1 May 1950, the first commercial radio station in South Africa, Springbok Radio took to the airwaves broadcasting in both English and Afrikaans. This followed almost 5 years of intense investigation by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and after consultations with both Lord Reith of the BBC and the South African Government it was decided to introduce
commercial radio in South Africa to supplement the SABC's existing public service English and Afrikaans networks.
The first voice heard on the air that morning was that of Eric Egan. Eric would be well remembered for his daily "Corny Crack" and catch phrase "I Looooveee Yoouuu". Many of the drama programmes during the 1950s were imported from Australia but as time moved on and more funding became available, Springbok Radio produced almost all of its programmes within
South Africa through a network of independent production houses. However, in the eighties the SABC ended up killing off many of these independent production houses by producing most of the programmes itself.
Backing up the apartheid system's segregationist policies, no black voices were ever heard on Springbok Radio. If on the rare occasion a black character was introduced into the storyline of one of the station's hastily slapped together entertainment productions, they would be portrayed by a (poorly paid) white actor. And by the mid seventies, at the height of Separate Development, there were no black policemen or criminals in the South Africa as reflected in Squad Cars, for instance.
In 1976 television was launched in South Africa and this was followed by television commercials in 1978. Commercial TV was the major factor in the demise of Springbok Radio, which closed on 31 December 1985.