Sasha Martinengo to leave 5fm – The (un)official press release

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There was much chatter yesterday on the social networks and then today came the confirmation that DJ Sasha Martinengo will be leaving 5FM at the end of March, after being with the station for 17 years. Here’s what their press release said (sort of):

5FM is sad to announce that, after 17 years on air, Sasha Martinengo will be leaving the station at the end of March 2012. The decision comes as part of the station’s annual line-up change, which takes place from 1 April 2012. Explains 5FM’s station manager Aisha Mohamed, “Line-up changes are an unfortunate part of the radio landscape. Annually, 5FM, along with the SABC’s 17 other radio properties, evaluate their on-air line-up for the year ahead and we are always careful to ensure that we implement these changes on April 1st each year. That’s how we managed to get Grant & Anele into the afternoon slot. Everyone thought it was just a sick April Fool’s joke, and by the time they realised that it was actually genuine, the contracts were signed and it was a done deal.”

“Sasha will unfortunately not be with us from April onwards. The change comes as part of a long-term strategic plan to revise our on air offering. From our extensive research, we’ve noted that many people are at work during working hours. If these workers are listening to the radio, they are less productive and as the national broadcaster, we feel that it’s important to improve national productivity in the interests of the country as a whole. As part of this plan, we are actively encouraging people to switch off their radios during the day and to do some work.”

Aisha continues, “So far, we’ve been extremely successful in cutting our listener numbers between 12 and 3pm, with an incredible 95% switch off rate – and we estimate that most of the remaining 5% would rather be doing anything other than listening to 5FM during those hours. From these figures, we can see that it is foolish to employ DJs with any talent or personality who people might actually listen to during the day. We are enormously appreciative of Sasha’s incredible work ethic, his dedication to the listeners and his support of the 5FM brand. He’s just too good at his job though and so he has to go. The station needs to evolve and change as our listeners do and we’re banking on engaging a more unfunny, brain-dead audience. He will be a hard act to follow and whoever replaces him in the studio will struggle enormously, as Grant & Anele have proven literally every day since starting here.”

Says Sasha, “Working at 5FM hasn’t just been a job, it’s been my life. I’d like to think I have entertained my listeners over the years. I have had a brilliant time and will miss my 5FM family. Thank you for all the years of fun and support.”

Newsreader Kim Schulze was also shocked at the news, “Comrades, the safety of the travelling public is the amongst the most important challenges we face and it is for this reaso…”

I’m sorry, that’s the incorrect soundbite.

Adds 5FM’s Aisha, “It has been absolutely wonderful working with Sasha. He’s been a huge asset to the 5FM team and we will miss him as an on-air personality and as a team player. But look out for news of an exciting new show with Grant & Anele from 9 until 3 each day. I bet you can’t wait, right?



(The genuine press release (some of which you may be able to pick out from the text above) is available here.)

Top Gear Live – Cape Town

Last night we headed out to the Grand West Arena, which – in a fit of misnomers – is not particularly spectacular and lies to the east of here – to see the Top Gear Live Roadshow.  The tickets weren’t cheap, but were actually excellent value: what a hugely entertaining experience. Explosions, stunts, laughs, fun, even international Car Football, the Cool Wall and laps of the Top Gear track – it was actually like an episode of Top Gear… but Live.
I’m guessing that this is where they got the name from.

Local guest host Sasha Martinengo wasn’t anywhere near as annoying as I expected – probably because he was playing third fiddle to Jeremy and Richard, while ringleader Clarkson was his irrepressible best. The Stig didn’t feature much, but the stuff – or rather the THING – that he did do was spectacular.

Since they asked nicely, I lent them a couple of my runabouts for the evening…

I’m not hugely into cars – I can’t give you the list of engine sizes that the latest Mercedes SLK is available in or anything like that, but there were some lovely machines out there: Bentleys, Porsches, Aston Martins, Audis (over-rated: Audi Fanboys being to motoring what Mac Fanboys are to computing – irritating and blinkered) and that orange Lamborghini. Nice. 

After the show, we went on the Paddock Tour – more nice cars and some BMWs, plus a chance to see a Pagani Zonda up close, the Audi R8 being revved by a middle-aged car salesman (didn’t sound that great – and neither did the car) and a host of rather dull Chevreolets. Mrs 6000 ordered her Porsche 911 Carrera GT3 and I squeezed myself into a perfectly lovely Mini Cooper S JCW which I almost took home in my pocket.

All in all –  a brilliant night’s entertainment and if you have the chance to go and see the show in Jo’burg, Sydney or Auckland, I would highly recommend it. A couple of beers before you go in will certainly help, but then aside from perfoming brain surgery, that probably goes for most things.

Top Gear Live – Jan 10 set on flickr.