Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

The Soli Story

I’m sure it’s mostly old news by now that Soli Philander was dismissed from 567 Cape Talk a week or two ago. I realised something fishy was happening when Shado Twala seemed to inherit Soli’s slot indefinitely. Although I have read Soli’s heartfelt rhyming explanation for what happened on face book, I don’t profess to having the ins and outs and I certainly haven’t tried to find out the story in more detail or even call out that he was unjustly treated. I just have some thoughts on how corporates just get things so damn wrong sometimes.

Soli is a transformer. He is able to change the way people think, manipulate people’s ideas and encourage them to do things differently. He is exactly what you want in a public persona; someone who speaks their mind with humour and conviction, and gets people to come along for the ride. Which is exactly why his Taxi Timeout was a genius idea and why he and his show were so completely valuable, both for Cape Talk, and for Cape Town.

Now I am not suggesting that Primedia management and the bigwigs don’t have a case against Soli (although I have no real idea about this) but I am pretty convinced he didn’t do anything outright illegal, like steal or cheat or do stuff that our politicians are so comfortable doing with public funds. I am sure they have very good reasons for dismissing him. It just doesn’t make sense.

I really believe that they needed to make every effort to keep him. They needed to pay him more, bend or break the corporate rules, change how they do things, and negotiate a different scenario to make sure he stayed; because he is who we want on our radio. He does it for us. He was their pot of gold, their valuable asset, their secret weapon (not their only one, I concede, but one of them). And instead of trying to make him and us believe that he is dispensable and replaceable they just needed to eat humble pie, recognise his extraordinary value (which comes with all the difficulties of being a huge, popular, magnetic transformer) and make a plan. But no, they pulled that corporate, contractual, businessspeak bullshit and got rid of him.

I loved Shado as a South Africa’s Got Talent judge, but to fill Soli’s boots on the radio as a talk show host? Aikona sisi. So, during that time slot I’ll listen to one of the few really crap choices we have on FM in Cape Town, as I am sure many Cape Talk listeners will. And that just seems so pointless. Cultivate, support and grow what people value and talent you have 567 (and all other corporates), instead of big sticking them out of there.

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21 Comments

  1. soli philander

    Thanks, Megan for your kind words.

  2. Rayno

    Good story , Megan! There’s clearly plenty of us wanting him back on air, if not Cape Talk, any other station will do… Hopefully Soli’s back soon!?!
    Miss him

  3. Cheryl Swanson

    Thanks Megan, I agree, corporates, especially in the media and entertainment world, should by now realise the need “for different strokes for different folks” Soli is not a guy who can be put in box, he’s spur of the moment, touchy, feely, warm, fuzzy, kind of guy who feels the moment and goes with it. A great loss to Cape Talk, and also a loss for the older people who are home during the day, Soli connects with them, my moms very sad.

    Will also be switching to another radio station for this time slot. Will miss you Soli, BUT ” THE END OF ONE THING IS THE START OF SOMETHING NEW” and as you know your life is in God’s Hands NOT primedia’s/ cape talks.

  4. tessa du toit

    I am so sorry that Soli is no longer on the radio.He was noisy but nice and he managed to get people eating out of his hands.Primedia really have made a mistake this time.Shado is good at midnight but NOT at midday!!!!Primedia should eat humble pie and put our Capetown Treasure back where he belongs,ON THE RADIO>

  5. Soli,
    Without knowing what actually impacted this decision for Cape Talk to “release you to become greater”, well done on staying true to who you are and being discreet and respectful. The truth will come out and the better person always wins.
    Don’t forget that Cape Town loves you (Wow! Thats a lot of love!) and better things will come from this.

    Megan,
    Thanks for confidently expressing your opinion, it is seconded and I am sure many people feel this way, although how many will have the guts to say it.
    Why should we just accept the “corporate” way of doing things?
    Times are a changing and I join you in following Soli to where ever he goes.

  6. Cheryl Swanson

    And so today ,my husband husbands car radio is always on Cape talk, and I hadd decided no Cape Talk for me during Soli’s Slot, BUT, I HAD TO SIT THRU EVERY AGONISING MINUTE, IT WAS SO PAINFUL LISTENING TO WHOEVER THE NEW PERSON IS ( NO OFFENCE TO HER) but there was no gees, atmosphere, vibe, there was nothing, really felt the loss.

  7. It was a very sad news that Soli had been dismissed from Cape Talk. Soli comes with no pretenses and speaks to the heart of Cape Town. He shows compassion to all and has a great heart filled with ubuntu. He shows that we can be real, and has helped Cape Town to appreciate our cultural differences. Sadly, this is lost to us all thanks to this very silly decision.

  8. TRISH HAYE

    I am so very shocked to hear that Soli is gone! The shortsightedness of this move is unbelievable. HOW arrogant this radio station are if they think they can replace him… he is irreplaceable. Yesterday I tuned in to hear Mike Wills instead of John Maytham, then this morning I heard Bobby Brown reading the news on Aden’s show…. for a moment there I thought we’d lost them all! (John, Soli and Aden!) I like Shado, but I agree NOT in that time slot. Come on Cape Talk, I thought you were made of better stuff, and if you’re NOT what I thought you were I for one will just switch OFF!

  9. So, so true. In my 13 years at Cape Talk I have worked with many people on and off air, but none of them have come close to Soli in talent, professionalism, humanity and – yes, “gees”. Let alone what he gave to Cape Town in his caring, positive and pro-active way. We are all worse off without him on air.

    I am devastated at Prime Media’s short-sighted high-horse-ish treatment of such a rare and extraordinary person and special talent. Prime Media have done a BP on themselves, and I don;t think they have anyone who can cap the hole they have made while shooting themselves in the foot.

    My time on air will be so much poorer without Soli, but a great spirit like his will not take long to rise in a new place and give us joy on a new channel somewhere. Go Soli, in your integrity you continue to be the positive example for us all.

  10. Moira

    I am astonished that Prime Media were unable to come to some amicable agreement with Soli with regard to this dispute.Do they realize that he has a massive fan base not only in the Western Cape but also overseas?
    Soli is one of those rare individuals who is able to relate to humanity on all levels.He is one of us-a Capetonian & therein lies the rub.Shado may be very professional but she does not identify with us,nor do we to her.Soli Philander has left a deep void on Cape Talk which has always been my favourite radio station.I miss his infectious laugh & his ability to connect on so many levels.
    Prime Media-you have done a great disservice to your listeners.Were it not for the fact that I consider myself a lady,I’d call your fat cat advisors a bunch of wankers!

  11. Carey Ann

    Wow – perhaps I am a little behind the times but I now realise why the noise and laughter has faded away. Soli offered a great deal to many and no doubt Prime Media will realise their foolishness. Soli offered so much to so many Capetonians – I hope Soli reappears with a different hat on – soon. To the fat cats I say – “settle yourselves, take a deep breath…………and have a long hard think about what you have done”

  12. Mariette Maartens

    To all who bother to read our caring comments, here’s mine.

    I recall many, but many years ago during the period his mother in law was killed, I used to listen to Soli on the former radio Suid Afrika (or was it RSG?). As Afrikaans speaking person, I enjoyed the colourful ways in which he connected with the former conservative and conventional Afrikaans oumense. He related so well. My ouma who was in her 80’s then was besotted on Soli. Imagine now, at least 20 years thereafter, that this gifted individual who builds bridges from one community to another, is fired due to (excuse my ignorance), red tape/quasi contractual gap. This was not thought through before he was “brought to book”. Soli is an all or nothing character, and believe me, he was deprived of the full joy that the soccer 2010 could bring him, due to the suspension and whatever followed. Soli, character is strength. Nobody can keep you down. 567 will definitely suffer a loss in listeners. To the Powers that be who thought it fit to fire Soli: Enjoy sleepless nights and indigestion. You are not doing your listeners a favour.

  13. David Kahn

    Sorry, I Soli doesnt have as many fans as you think.

    He is arrogant, and shouts down people he doesnt agree with. That may make good radio for some (and him), but when its endemic to his show and his show persona, its turn-the-dial after turn-the-stomach time.

    Soli, good luck elsewhere. But just not Cape Talk please.

  14. Dave

    I think you are confusing Soli with another presenter.

    I have never heard Soli shouting down anyone and from my knowledge he doesn’t have an arrogant bone in his body.

  15. Maralyn

    David Khan have you ever heard of the off button. I have one on my radio and use it every afternoon between 13.00 & 15.00. Cape Talk is boring without Soli the new lady repeats herself and is totally out of her depth. She sounds like someone who has just been pushed in front of the mike without any preperation.

  16. Beverley

    David Khan I do believe that you are not speaking about OUR SOLI as your description of him does not fit at all!!!!!..Cape Talk will never be the same again between 1pm-3pm without Soli…I strongly believe that Cape Talk has lost thousands of listeners during this lunch time slot.Soli was the heart of the lunch time show and admired him for always being so bubbly,happy,full of energy,compassion…the list is endless my friend.His laughter was the food my soul needed daily,and I believe for many other listeners as well.Well Prime Media has dampened that for all of us and I for one will NOT listen to the lunch time show anymore as it sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BORING,BORING BORING….To Soli my friend we will dearly miss you BUT as one door closes 10 other better doors will open for you…Good luck Soli….

  17. Amanda Marshall

    I am not one of those that miss Soli in the afternoons. I am thoroughly enjoying listening to Katie who brings, in my opinion, good interviews that are not continually interrupted, intelligence and a varied programme. I wish Soli all the best in his future endeavours though, as he does have a large following but I am not one.

  18. megan

    Let me make myself very clear. This post was not meant to generate a ‘who likes Soli?’ debate. It was supposed to highlight the fact that I believe he has been treated ridiculously and shortsightedly by Cape Talk and ‘Prymedia’. It seems that most commenters have got that. Bully for you Amanda and Soli. But, what point are you making? That you are happy he was treated that way? C’mon!

  19. Nancy

    Hi all the positive comments above! I will miss Soli terribly. I started listening to Cape Talk when I accidently pushed the am buttton one day and heard his laughter. No matter how depressed i was feeling his voice,presence always put a smile on my face. He was the HEART of Cape Talk, passionate, compassionate and REAL! Unparalled in getting support from the community. Cape Talk’s management were really shortsighted (crazy or stupid?)and have dealt Cape Town a real blow. One of the reason’s I have liked CApe Talk was that I found them an interesting unbiased station where everyone coild express their views.Now I feel like we have been gagged cause they are obviously not taking comment on this subject. Love you soli, and will ToyToy for you any time! Nancy from Glencairn.

  20. Simon (Noordhoek)

    Once again, the management at Cape Talk appear to have shot themselves in the foot, having dismissed a first class presenter, whose charisma, frankness and humour brought joy to many people.
    Without insight into the cause of the conflict, it may be inappropriate to comment, but since its’ inception, Cape Talk management have fired far to many good presenters (including Mike Wills; although he is now doing some contract work for them). This leads one to think that perhaps they should come down from their ivory towers and address the real problems behind their failure to keep their most precious assets.

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