Aisha Mohamed has long had a love affair with radio. As a little girl, she loved to discuss issues with her dad that she heard on the radio as he drove her to school. Decades later and nothing has changed. Radio still provides her with the same immediacy and intimacy as it always has; the difference is that, as the youngest appointed station manager at 5FM, she’s in the driving seat, steering the conversation for a much broader audience base.
With no two days alike, it’s a fun and demanding gig, and one that 32-year-old Mohamed takes seriously. “I believe we have a responsibility to the youth of our country to educate, inform and entertain them through unbiased and holistic programming content.”
A lot has changed since Mohamed started working for 5FM’s marketing department, where her creativity and agility got her promoted to marketing manager two years later. New social-media platforms are changing the way content is created and consumed, but although some may choose to treat these channels as “add-ons”, Mohamed and her team have created a “360 degree” approach to radio, seamlessly integrating every touch point, from marketing to on-air content.
She must be doing something right because focus groups show that the 5FM brand is stronger than ever, with a “past seven-day listenership of 2,35-million listeners”. In 2012, 5FM won Commercial Station of the Year at the MTN Radio Awards and was also the only African radio station to be nominated alongside the likes of BBC Radio 1 (UK) and Triple J (Australia) for “influential international station”. Perhaps it’s because it actively promotes local music or because it won the Sunday Times Generation Next Survey’s coolest radio station award six years running. More than likely recognition comes from Mohamed’s ability to understand that, even through an iPod has a personalised playlist, a radio station has a personality that cares about what you have to say.
— Cat Pritchard