MASERU — Ultimate FM has kicked out six presenters who according to government employment regulations are not educated enough to be on air.
At the same time last year the youth-oriented radio station temporarily went off air after the majority of its presenters were sent home because they did not hold educational degrees.
Some of them, however, got a reprieve and were brought back on air ostensibly to train a bunch of new recruits who had degree qualifications.
Now Mr Biggz, J-Tagg, Divva, Lecxy, Josh and Diboza — some of Ultimate FM’s most experienced presenters — have been shown the door again.
Station director Lefu Manyokole told Xpress People that the six had to go because they could not meet the employment criterion set by the government.
Ultimate FM is a state-owned radio station whose employees are on the government’s payroll.
“The guys were working on temporary basis and I discovered I had to let them go on March 31,” he said.
“They are a very talented bunch I would like to keep but because they don’t meet the qualification criterion set by the government the matter is beyond my control.
“The government sets its general policies that need to be followed but if it had a talent criterion then almost all of them would remain.”
Manyokole said he was trying to accommodate them by finding them junior posts that did not require degree qualifications.
“I am trying my best to help them back in by trying to find junior positions they qualify for and maybe I could be able to use them from different entry points,” he said.
Manyokole said the departure of the presenters would, however, not negatively affect Ultimate FM’s listenership.
“People are dispensable,” he said. “I have worked in the radio fraternity and had to move but people still continued to listen to the programmes I presented, so listeners will get used to the new presenters.”
Mr Biggz said it was unfortunate the government was employing radio presenters on the basis of educational qualifications not talent.
“It is very sad because we have given the station our all in putting it to where it is now since its foundation,” he said.
“It also hurts because we had grown into a huge family and now the family has been torn apart because of a set of papers.”
Mr Biggz said they had been told there was no money to retain them on a temporary basis.
“We were told that apart from qualifications we were not budgeted for so they had to let us go,” he said.
“I have, however, heard one of the old presenters on air and it’s on a voluntary basis.
“We will be replaced by the new presenters that we were training after last year’s saga which left the station empty.
“I was also approached to help out train the new cats on a voluntary basis and I declined. I have a family to feed and I can’t afford to work for nothing.”
Other presenters who were also fired would not comment on the issue.