Gabriel Rasengwatshe – the face of the Gabz FM Morning Show which has replaced Morning with Reg show – is not faced by the size of shoes he has stepped into. A fall-out between the station and the popular Reginald Richardson resulted with the parties going separate ways. But listeners, including some opposition politicians have not taken kindly to the station’s decision to release him, with some threatening to boycott it. It is this space that Gabriel has to fill and demonstrate that Gabz FM still remains relevant as a station of choice for mature listeners who love sharp political reviews, debates and in-depth discussions.
Gabriel has had to field abusive comments from listeners who accused him of taking advantage of someone’s demise and is constantly measured against the performance of the previous presenter. Some have been brave enough to warn him that he will go the same way as Reg. Yet, he is as unfazed as ever. To him, this is his moment and is grabbing it with both hands. “Who I am is actually what I bring to the table and I am authentic,” he said. He said just like any morning around the world, he knows the pressure because that is the bread basket of the radio station. “Immediately that pressure was felt, I needed to bring a realistic side to it which is quite rare on radio where it is very real and I invite many people into my space,” he said, acknowledging that the true great experience is not about knowing it all, but open to continually learning and welcoming other people’s opinions. Since taking over in November, he has gained momentum, and is even more driven to see the show become bigger and even more communal by reaching out to more communities. He said that it is important for people to understand the role of media because sometimes the media is misunderstood and even practitioners do not appreciate their roles from time to time. “I feel we are not at a level where we can engage well with other leaders to appreciate that we exist, and in a way I would like to see that happen with the show. I am not into forcing ideas but rather collective responsibility, social justice and positive social engineering,” he said.
This is fun!
On whether he is having fun Gabby insisted that he is, saying he believes that it is very important to always balance serious matters with the lighter ones. He said the objective is for him to infuse and inject positive and great mood to his listeners.
How it started
Gabby hit the airwaves for the first time in 2001 as a stand in presenter because he was working in the corporate world then as a Strategic Advisor. He joined the weekday line-up in 2004. “Since 2004 I have concentrated my efforts towards my private advisory strategy practice but in 2010 I was forced to take a break from radio to concentrate on my other passions that includes authoring books, scripts, thesis, enterprise architecture and travelling,” he said. Upon his return the Programmes Manager at Gabz FM offered him a slot in 2015, co-hosting it with the incredibly talented Petula El Kindly. The co-hosting sessions rank as one of the top five things that he is glad he did in his lifetime. “I think we were the Mr and Mrs Smith of radio,” he giggled.
Completing Gabriel’s morning crew is veteran sports anchor and popular emcee Comfort Exotic Ramatebele who presents sport, Veronica Motlhagodi does the news while Mmapula Molapong is the producer. She was appointed to the position after working for some time as a freelance news reporter from Lobatse. When Gabriel took over, he pressured her to produce for him. It has been hectic for her. “It was not easy for us because we were taking after people that were loved so much. We had to deal with a lot of animosity since the listeners were too angry,” she said. The producer hailed the host as a warrior because if he was someone else he would have quit due to the attacks he faced.
“We are still working on our strategy, and we won’t be focusing on Botswana only but will be going outside borders to touch on issues that concern the rest of the African continent because we are also live online. We want to cover topical issues but at the same time be fun,” she said. Newsreader Motlhagodi worked with the previous crew but believes that the new team is coming up well. Veteran sports personality Big Fish adds more spice to the show with his versatility and light take on issues. The show airs from 6am to 10am.