Kate Turkington.   Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Kate Turkington. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

POPULAR radio station Talk Radio 702 has defended the decision to purge some of its experienced and popular presenters in favour of a revamped line-up.

Eleanor Moore, Gary van Dijk, Treasure Tshabalala, Barry Ronge and Kate Turkington presented their final shows on the weekend, including The Bandstand, The Jazz show, The Movie Show and Believe It or Not.

The broadcaster said the changes reflected the needs of its listeners. Pheladi Gwangwa, station manager of Talk Radio 702 said in a statement the station reviews its line-up on a periodic basis to ensure optimal service is given to listeners.

"Listeners have indicated a strong desire for more sports content, so the introduction of a sports-dedicated show has been on the cards for a while.

"Udo Carelse will be hosting a sports-oriented talk, Mondays to Thursdays and on Fridays and Sundays," Ms Gwangwa said.

On Sunday night, however, listeners expressed sadness at the news that shows such as Believe It or Not — the longest-running talk show in the country’s history — and Barry Ronge’s The Movie Show, had been canned.

Kate Turkington, who presented Believe It or Not, said she received an outpouring of messages on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, with users expressing regret and outrage at the cutting of her show.

Jonathan from Centurion tweeted, "Oh no, and I’ve just found Believe It or Not! I thought I’d be listening to you Kate for many years to come. The last few months have been an incredible journey for me, and an amazing growth (in) education. your guests have been wonderful, and your presentation style great to listen to. Thank for all the wisdom."

Another Twitter follower, Geogre, tweeted: "Why on earth is management trying to commit suicide by removing almost all of the most popular presenters and their slots at the same time?! I smell a rat."

Ms Turkington, however, will not disappear from the airwaves completely. She will be doing a 15-minute travel slot on the Sunday-morning Breakfast Show with newcomer to Primedia Kgomotso Matsunyane between 8am and 8.30am.

Mr Ronge will continue in his Friday slot on the John Robbie show and do a slot on The Weekend Breakfast with Ms Matsunyane.

Introductions to the line-up include Solid Gold Jukebox Saturday to be presented by Benjy Mudie — the voice behind the radio show Rock of Ages. Kenny Maistry will also host Solid Gold on the weekend.