List Of SABC Radio Stations and The Languages They Broadcast In

There are currently 296 radio stations in South Africa. Most of them are community stations while the remaining 40 stations are commercial/public owned radio stations. Among the biggest and most recognized of these are SABC radio stations – stations that are owned and controlled by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The SABC is recognized as the country’s public broadcaster, which means that it controls the operation of all the radio and TV stations that are owned by the country. While it has six TV stations, SABC has 19 radio stations under its belt, some of which transmit signals to neighboring countries. More so, among the stations are some that have emerged as the leading stations in the country. The likes of Ukhozi FM, Metro FM, and Umhlobo Wenene FM are regarded as the largest stations in the country based on listenership with 7.9 million, 5.4 million, and 4.2 million weekly listeners respectively.

The different stations owned by SABC deliver content in varying languages, including English, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Hindi. The oldest station under the media outfit is SAfm which dates back to 1936 while the most recent is X-K FM which began airing in 2000.

A Complete List Of SABC Radio Stations

In no particular order, here are all the radio stations owned by the SABC.

1. SAfm

SABC Radio Stations
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  • Year it was launched: 1936
  • Language: English
  • Former name: JB, “A” Service; Radio South Africa; Full Spectrum radio station (1985 to 1995)
  • Frequency: 104–107 MHz FM
  • Listenership: 193,000

SAfm debuted on the airwaves as far back as 1936, making it the oldest public radio station in South Africa. Before it was started, there was a private station in the country that dates back to 1924 known as JB. Interestingly, it was JB that was later converted to SAfm. The first name given to the station is “A” Programme. It was later known as “Full Spectrum” radio station until 1995 when it was changed to its current name.

As of 2020, its listenership was put at a decent 193000. While it may not be as much as many others on the list, it recorded over 30% growth in only 3 years, even though it has faced many challenges, including the low morale of workers. It can be found between 104-107 frequencies across Mzansi.

According to the award-winning radio station, most of its listeners fall from the ages of 35 to 49. Some of the awards it has clinched in the past include the 2017 Liberty Radio Awards, 2015 MTN Radio Awards, and the 2013 MTN Radio Awards.

2. 5FM

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  • Year it was launched: 1975
  • Language: English
  • Former name: Springbok Radio
  • Frequency: 104–107 MHz FM
  • Listenership: 866,000 Weekly

This radio station was launched in 1975 and named Springbok Radio as an initial child of LM Radio station which earlier had a presence in a few countries in Southern Africa, including South Africa. It was the station in the country that was nationalized and initially given the name Radio 5 because it was the fifth radio station owned by SABC. More so, the station was made to broadcast in English and Afrikaans. By 1992, the name was finally changed to its present name, 5FM. The programming was also changed from two languages to the adoption of English as the primary language of broadcasting.

It is one of the radio stations in South Africa with a decent following as back in 2016, the listenership of the station was put at 674,000 each week. Today, the followership has grown remarkably and is approaching 900,000 weekly. While in Johannesburg, the frequency of the radio is 98.0 FM, it has different frequencies in other parts of the country.

Ms. Cosmo who is among the best known female radio presenters in the country is one of the most recognized in the station where she hosts The Trap House and The Stir Up. Tumi Voster is another popular personality here. Among the awards clinched by the station are four honors at the 2012 MTN Radio Awards.

3. Metro FM

  • Year it was launched: October 1986
  • Language: English
  • Former name: Radio Metro
  • Frequency: It varies
  • Listenership: More than 6.8 million

Metro FM might is not the biggest in terms of listenership, but it is the most known radio station in the country, thanks to its sponsorship of the Metro FM Music Awards. It still has a gigantic listenership of over 6.8 million listeners, making it the second biggest radio station in South Africa.

The station first aired content in October 1986 under its former name of Radio Metro. It airs urban contemporary contents to different regions at various frequencies. For 7 years, Metro FM clinched the Gen Next award for the Coolest Station in South Africa.

Some of the popular personalities on Metro FM include DJ Oskido, Lerato Kganyago, Robert Marawa, Mo Flava, and Somizi Mhlongo, among many others. Among the most followed shows on the radio station are The Bridge, The Morning Flava, and Marawa Sports Worldwide. Most of the famous media personalities are currently working at Metro FM or have worked there in the past.

4. Radio 2000

  • Year it was launched: 1986
  • Language: English
  • Former name: Radio South Africa
  • Frequency: It varies
  • Listenership: More than 4.2 million

The radio station airs from Auckland Park, Johannesburg on a daily basis. The station delivers contents in the English language and can be accessed all through the country, using frequencies between 97.2 and 100 Fm at all hours.

Formerly known as Radio South Africa, the station started airing in 1986 as the second SABC radio station to launch that year. As of 2016, it has a listenership base of less than 500,000. This means that it was not among the most followed SABC radio stations in the country but the status has seen significant changes with time.

Phat Joe only joined the station in 2019, becoming one of the big names in the station, but he did not last long before he was replaced with Bongani Mtolo who was relatively unknown. Some of the big personalities in the station are Ernest Pillay and David Mashabela. The breakfast show of the station is one of its most sought-after shows. The Glenzito Super Drive is another that is popular among listeners.

5. Good Hope FM

  • Year it was launched: 1965
  • Language: English and Afrikaans
  • Former name: Radio Good Hope
  • Frequency: It varies
  • Listenership: More than 650,000

From its name, one could rightly guess this is a Cape Town radio station that broadcasts in both English and Afrikaans. The leading station in the Western Cape, it is formerly known as Radio Good Hope when it was founded in 1965. More so, it is one of the regional radio stations in the country.

Good Hope FM is believed to have a listenership base of over 650,000 and could be listened at any time on the 94 – 97 MHz frequency. The programs here are mostly contemporary in nature.

The station has many big names to show on its on-air personality list, as well as many great shows, all of which have helped it to become a big station.

6. Radio Sonder Grense (RSG)

SABC Radio Stations
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  • Year it was launched: 1937
  • Language: Afrikaans
  • Former names: SABC’s “B” service, Radio Suid-Afrika, Afrikaanse Diens van die SAUK, Afrikaans Stereo
  • Frequency: 100-104 FM
  • Listenership: More than 1.170 million

Translated to mean Radio Without Border in the English language, this is a rapid service that broadcasts in Afrikaanse. The station was founded in 1937 as SABC’s “B” service, making it one of the oldest stations in the country only after SAfm which began a year earlier.

The name of the station changed to Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) in 1996 but before then, it was earlier known as Afrikaanse Diens van die SAUK until 1986 when it was changed to Radio Suid-Afrika. The name would again change in the early 1990s to Afrikaans Stereo and it was after this that it took its present name.

The station has grown into becoming one of the biggest in the country with a listenership of close to 2 million each week. It broadcasts at all hours of the day on the 100-104 FM frequency.

7. Ukhozi FM

  • Year it was launched: 1960
  • Language: isiZulu
  • Former name: Radio Zulu
  • Frequency: Various for different parts of the country
  • Listenership: Over 7.9 million weekly

Founded in 1960, this is the largest radio station in the country and the entire African continent as well with over 7.5 million listeners tuning in each week as of 2016. Currently, it has gone up to 7.9 million. The station is based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, but has frequencies that cover Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North-eastern parts of Eastern Cape, and Eastern parts of the Free State. It also extends to the Eastern parts of the North West, as well as the Southern parts of Limpopo.

The station airs at all hours of the day (24/7), and its programs are targeted at mostly the youths, but it also caters to the elderly. isiZulu is the primary language of broadcasting on this radio station and some of the most popular hosts on the station include Nongcebo Mckenzie who has been there since 2008, Mroza Buthelezi, Selby Mkhize, and Sipho ‘DJ Sgqemeza’ Mbatha who is the co-host of the station’s popular breakfast show, Vuka Mzansi.

Before its name changed to Ukhozi FM which means Eagle FM, the station was previously referred to as Radio Zulu.

8. Umhlobo Wenene FM

  • Year it was launched: May 1960
  • Language: Xhosa
  • Former name: Radio Xhosa and Radio Transkei
  • Frequency: 88 to 106.8 MHz
  • Listenership: 4.6 million

Broadcasting in the Xhosa language, this is the third biggest radio station in South Africa with a listenership of over 4.6 million each month. The radio station first aired in May 1960 as one of the four radio stations that started that year.

It is located in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, and currently serves various contents (information, entertainment, sports, and music) to listeners in Xhosa. The frequency of the station range from 88 to 106.8 MHz while the genre of the station is adult contemporary.

Some of the most popular voices on the radio station are Abongile Mangala, Tsidi Monteiro, and Zintle Mbusi while some of the most followed shows are Khanya Gqiyazana, iBrakfesi Eyondlayo Ekuseni “BEE”, and Sijikilanga.

9. Lesedi FM

  • Year it was launched: 1960
  • Language: Sesotho
  • Former name: Sotho Radio
  • Frequency: It varies
  • Listenership: More than 4.2 million listeners daily

Another one of SABC radio stations founded in 1960, Lesedi FM also prides itself to be among the biggest in the country with a listenership of more than 4 million. Beyond this, it also doubles as the biggest Sotho radio station in the country. With its millions of listeners, that doesn’t come as a surprise.

The station can now be accessed in seven of the country’s nine provinces. When it was launched, the station was known as Radio Sesotho before it later changed to its present name.

It broadcasts content primarily in the Sotho language on the 87.7 – 106.6 FM frequencies. While as stated, it can be accessed from various provinces, it is based in Bloemfontein and
Johannesburg. The programming can best be described as adult contemporary and according to the station, its main vision is to provide enlightenment to listeners. While it reaches many audiences in the country, it has joined other SABC Radio Stations to stream to a global audience that can understand the language of broadcasting.

10. Thobela FM

SABC Radio Stations
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  • Year it was launched: 1960
  • Language: Nothern Sotho
  • Former name: Radio Lebowa
  • Frequency: It varies
  • Listenership: More than 2.9 million listeners weekly

Yet another station that was launched in 1960, Thobela FM broadcasts programs in Nothern Sotho and before now, it used to be known as Radio Lebowa. The coverage spreads to different parts of the country to places such as Blouberg, Johannesburg, Mokopane, Pretoria, Haenertsburg, Middelburg, and Tzaneen among others.

More so, it operates on different frequencies across the country between 87.6 MHZ and 92.1 MHZ FM. Listeners all over the world can also stream live broadcasts online and on DStv, it can be found on channel 815.

The station has some popular presenters, including Clifford Choshi, Moloko Mashamaite, and Ali Lamola. Thobela FM also enjoys a good listenership of more than 2.9 million listeners on a weekly basis.

11. Motsweding FM

  • Year it was launched: 1962
  • Language: Setswana
  • Former name: Radio Tswana
  • Frequency:  87.9 – 107.9 FM
  • Listenership: Between 2.5 to 3 million listeners each week

This is yet another well-listened radio station in the country as it has a listenership strength of around 2.5 to 3 million each week. The station made its airing debut in 1962 and at the time, the name of the station was Radio Tswana. Initially, it was controlled by the Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporation.

The station broadcasts at all hours of the day, 24/7 from Mahikeng and it functions as a progressive Urban Adult Contemporary Radio Station. Found on frequencies between 87.9 to 107.9 FM, it covers different areas of South Africa, including the North West, Northern Cape, and Gauteng Province. Other areas it covers are parts of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and Free State.

Some well-known personalities here include presenters like Refilwe Mogomotsi, Tumi Morake, Lucky Komanisi, and Mokopi Molebatsi.

12. Phalaphala FM

  • Year it was launched: 1965
  • Language: Venda
  • Former name: Radio Venda & Radio Thohoyandou)
  • Frequency: It varies
  • Listenership: More than 778,000 weekly

It was in 1965 that this radio station was first launched but it was later in 1998 that it came into full operation after Radio Venda with Venda Bantustan roots and Radio Thohoyandou which belonged to SABC merged. It broadcasts programs in the Venda language.

Although the main areas that it covers are Gauteng and Limpopo provinces, many parts of the country, including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Potgietersrus, and Malamba also receive signals. The frequencies of the station include 107.8 FM in Johannesburg, 100.1 FM in Pretoria, 90.7 FM for Louis Trichardt, and 99.1 FM for Tzaneen.

The station’s main audience is predominantly young people between the ages of 16 and 49. Said to have one of the most loyal listenership-base in the country and also leading the pack of radio stations with listeners who stay tuned the longest, the listenership of Phalaphala FM is estimated at over 778,000 weekly. Some of the well-known personalities in this station are Mpho Nefale, Tico Liphadzi, and Lutendo Tshisikule.

13. Munghana Lonene FM

  • Year it was launched: 1965
  • Language: Tsonga
  • Former name: Tsonga Radio
  • Frequency: 89.4 to 103.2 FM
  • Listenership: More than 1.2 million

Covering Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and North West Provinces, this station is yet another that was founded in 1965. It started by broadcasting programs in the Tsonga language and was initially named Tsonga Radio before it later changed to its present name.

Now also referred to as MLFM, the station had a weekly listenership of 1.02 million in 2019, but this has since grown to over 1.2 million. It can also be accessed by people in some parts of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The typical listeners of the station apart from those who understand the language of broadcast are those who are passionate and want to understand more about the culture and lifestyle of the Vatsonga people.

Programming is split almost equally between talk shows and music and can be reached between the frequencies of 89.4 to 103.2 FM in different parts of the country. Some well-recognized personalities here are Sydney Baloyi, DJ Brian, and Siphosethu Nonganga among other big names in the business.

14. Ligwalagwala FM

  • Year it was launched: 1982
  • Language: Swazi language
  • Former name: Radio Swazi
  • Frequency: 87.7 – 104.0 FM
  • Listenership: More than 1.07 million

This station was founded in 1982 as yet another of the SABC radio stations. It was originally known as Radio Swazi before its name was later changed to what it is today. Needless to say, the main language of broadcasting is the Swazi language and it covers different parts of the country, including Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and Gauteng, while its main audiences are youths between the ages of 19 to 35 and then 36 to 50.

The award-winning station was rebranded in 2008 and that has helped it in growing even bigger. Currently, it ranks among the top 10 radio stations in the country based on listenership with more than 1 million listeners tuning in each week. Listeners can get access to this station through their radio sets on the 87.7 – 104.0 FM frequency or stream from the internet.

With broadcasts aimed towards educating, entertaining, and informing listeners, some of the most famous personalities on this station include Hlengiwe H, Stanford Mhlanga, The Prince, and Pastor Portia Luthuli who is also famous as The Lady of Soul. Dumisani Simelane was also one of the most famous people in the station before he was retrenched at the start of 2021, even as fans insist they want him back.

15. iKwekwezi FM

iKwekwezi FM
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  • Year it was launched:1983
  • Language: Southern Ndebele
  • Former name: Radio Ndebele
  • Frequency: 90.6 – 107.7 FM
  • Listenership: More than 1.02 million

Formerly known as Radio Ndebele, iKwekwezi FM was founded in 1983 and it broadcasts in Southern Ndebele, making it the only radio station in the country that represents the isiNdebele language. It covers different parts of the country, including Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo, and some parts of the North West. The frequency to connect to the station is between 90.6 and 107.7 FM.

Ikwekwezi FM is another of the SABC radio stations that pull more than a million listeners each week with a listenership of over 1.02 million so far. The primary listeners of this station fall between the age bracket of 29 to 49. Those in the age bracket of 16 to 24 form the secondary listeners of the station.

Some of the on-air personalities the station has to offer are Bobo Da Beat, Sello “Mbuzana” Nyathi, and Big Joe among many others. The presenters are part of the reason for the teeming fans of the station.

16. Tru Fm

  • Year it was launched: 1983
  • Language: English and Xhosa
  • Former name: Radio Ciskei; CKI FM
  • Listenership: 207,000 weekly
  • Frequency: 89.3 – 107.8 FM

Tru FM was first founded in 1983, although it was later relaunched in 2008. Before coming to its present name, the station which boasts as the only one that targets the youths in two languages, English and Xhosa, was known as Radio Ciskei and then CKI FM. It targets youths between the ages of 16 to 34, and most of the programs (60%) are in Xhosa while the remaining ones are done in English.

Signals of the station can be accessed on the 89.3 – 107.8 FM frequencies and it covers places such as Eastern Cape which is the main broadcast area. Before the station was relaunched, it had a listenership of 413,000. This has since dropped by more than 200,000 as of 2015. By 2019, the listenership of the station moved up to 207,000 weekly.

Ayabonga Kekanane is one of the known personalities at the station. Blaq Maci, Reggie Solani, and Simphiwe Gwana are other well-known names among many others.

17. Lotus FM

  • Year it was launched: 1983
  • Language: English and Hindi
  • Former name: Radio Lotus
  • Frequency: 87.7 – 106.8 MHz
  • Listenership: 200,000

Designed for the Indian community in South Africa, this station broadcasts in English and Hindi. Because it is designed to cater to the needs of the general Indian population in the country, there have been complaints that it always gives priority to Hindi music over Tamil music.

The first airing was in 1983 and since then, it has grown to have a listenership of more than 200,000 monthly. With Indian ethnic content, the station transmits on 87.7 to 106.8 MHz frequencies and it is based in Durban, even though signals can be gotten in different major parts of the country, including Johannesburg, Pretoria, North Coast, Cape Town, and many more.

Some of the big names here include people like Vijayluxmi Balakrishna, Neelofar Sayed, Mala Lutchmanan, and Dees Naidu RJ.

18. X-K FM

SABC Radio Stations
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  • Year it was launched: 2000
  • Language: !Xu and Khwe
  • Former name: NA
  • Frequency: 107.9 MHz
  • Listenership: Less than 10,000

This is the youngest among other SABC radio stations. It is a regional radio station that was created in 2000. It transmits in !Xu and Khwe from the Nothern Cape. More so, Afrikaans is another language that is used, although as a bridging language.

In the same way that it is one of the youngest stations in the country, H-K FM does not have many listeners; less than 10,000 listeners tune in every week. Among the most followed shows of the station is its breakfast show, Ukgam l’am. Among the biggest listener-base of the station are those that fall between the ages of 16 to 49.

The station does not have the widest coverage and it is found on the 107.9 MHz frequency while the broadcast time is either from 06:00 to 18:00 or 06:00 to 21:00.

19. Channel Africa

channel africa
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  • Year it was launched: 1992
  • Language: Chinyanja, Kiswahili, English, French, and Portuguese
  • Former name: NA
  • Listenership: More than 1.2 million

Founded in 1992, this operates rather differently from all other radio stations that are owned by the SABC. It is an international radio station that is mandated to protect the interest of the country in the international scene, hence, it broadcasts to the rest of the world.

The radio network serves to provide informative and entertaining content to South African citizens, as well as provide a window through which South Africa could be viewed. It broadcasts in Chinyanja, Kiswahili, English, French, and Portuguese.

Signals can be picked mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and also some other parts of the world such as London. Through the internet service, it covers all parts of the world.

Highlights Of SABC Radio Stations

  • SAfm
  • 5FM
  • Metro FM
  • Radio 2000
  • Good Hope FM
  • RSG
  • Ukhozi FM
  • Umhlobo Wenene FM
  • Lesedi FM
  • Thobela FM
  • Motsweding FM
  • Phalaphala FM
  • Munghana Lonene FM
  • Ligwalagwala FM
  • iKwekwezi FM
  • tru fm
  • Lotus FM
  • X-K FM
  • Channel Africa

TV Stations Owned By SABC

Apart from the radio stations, SABC also owns a total of six TV stations that serve a variety of content, including news, sports, entertainment, education, and much more. The TV stations also have a very long and interesting history.

SABC 1

  • Year it was launched: 1996
  • Language: English and Nguni
  • Former name: CCV TC
  • Broadcast Area: South Africa
  • Satellite: StarSat (Channel 157), OVHD (Channel 101), DStv (Channel 191)

Formerly known as CCV TV, this community public service TV station evolved from TV2 and TV3 which was founded in 1982, and then the TV4 was formed by 1985. All these merged into the CCV TV in 1992 before it was finally named SABC 1 in 1996. With South Africa as its coverage area, the station broadcasts in English and Nguni languages.

SABC 2

  • Year it was launched: 1996
  • Language: Sotho, Tswana, English, Afrikaans, Tsonga, Venda
  • Former name: TV 1
  • Broadcast Area: South Africa
  • Satellite: StarSat (Channel 158), DSTV (Channel 192), OpenView HD (Channel 102)

Another major TV station that is owned by SABC is SABC 2 which was launched in 1976 as SABC TV/SAUK TV. By 1981, the station’s name changed to TV1, and then in February 1996, it changed to what it is today. The station broadcasts programs in English, Afrikaans, Venda, Sotho, and Tsonga.

The programming covers everything from sports to Talk and Magazine, music, religion, series, as well as Soapies, Dramas, and Telenovelas.

SABC 3

  • Year it was launched: 1996
  • Language: English and Afrikaans
  • Former name: NNTV
  • Broadcast Area: South Africa
  • Satellite channels: StarSat (Channel 159), DStv (Channel 193), OpenView HD (Channel 103)

Broadcasting in English and Afrikaans, SABC3 was founded in 1991 as NNTV. However, in only five years, the name was changed to SABC3 which still remains to date. Like others, the station started broadcasting in high definition in 2018. With contents targetting the 18 to 49 age bracket, it supplies much international content from around the world, including from the United States and the United Kingdom.

As regards its programming, S3 as it is also known, covers news and current affairs, music, movies, talk and magazine, children, and education content. Movie lovers are also treated to TV series, soapies, dramas, and telenovelas.

SABC News

  • Year it was launched: 2013
  • Language: Mostly English language
  • Former name: NA
  • Broadcast Area: South Africa
  • Satellite channels: DSTV (Channel 404)

Another TV station owned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, this station is not as old as others found on the list as it was only established in 2013. Even though it is only recently launched, the TV station has a  history that dates back to June 1950 when the news service was launched. The idea behind its formation was to serve as a replacement for the British Broadcasting Corporation which was believed to be only serving the British government and providing their viewpoints.

By 1998, SABC Africa was launched together with Africa 2 Africa as a news service and entertainment station respectively. They would later merge in 2003 to form SABC Africa before it closed in 2008. Before then, SABC News International can be described as the precursor to SABC News. It was launched in 2007 but did not last beyond 2010.

In 2013, SABC finally launched SABC News as a 24-hour news channel.

SABC Education

  • Year it was launched: 1996
  • Language: Sotho, Tswana, English, Afrikaans, Tsonga, Venda
  • Former name: TV 1
  • Broadcast Area: South Africa
  • Channel: DStv channel 404.

This TV station was founded in 1996 and it serves to provide educational content to viewers. The station provides educational materials both to South Africans and people in other parts of the African continent.

More so, the station provides cultural contents in accordance with, and towards promoting the South African identity.

SABC Sports

  • Year it was launched: NA
  • Language: English
  • Former name: NA
  • Broadcast Area: South Africa
  • Satellite Channel: Openview 124

SABC Sport is not as popular as other TV stations owned by SABC. It is the sports channel of the corporation which covers different sports events both within South Africa and other important games around the world, including European football and various leagues outside of the continent.

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Tim van der Walt
Tim is another of our talented writers, the one who plays music on replay, drinks more coffee than beer, plays video games, and reads poetry. In between, Tim reviews products, write about computers, games, and talk tech and arts. If there is a WIII, he thinks it could be caused by bad writing.
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