LotusFM: Neville Pillay Has Walked Out

Veteran DJ, Neville Pillay has quit the SABC’s embattled Indian lifestyle radio station LotusFM.

IndianSpice approached Neville Pillay for comment on his future plans, one would assume the next obvious move for a veteran DJ like Pillay would be to East Coast Radio. However, fans of Pillay will NOT have the opportunity of hearing him on any station going forward.

“I have no issues or qualms with anyone at the station, I leave with my head held high on my terms. I’ve just had it with radio after 20 years and my time for me is now, so I’m going to focus on my family, health and doing what I do best – creating original content and discovering new platforms.” said Pillay.

Some staff attribute Neville Pillay’s exit to poor leadership style and uncalled for influence from the station management.

Topdan Neville Pillay

It has come to light that marketing manager, Randheer Balbadan had embarrassed the veteran DJ amongst his peers which forced Pillay to quit.

~ We don’t need him, we are not desperate! ~

LotusFM Marketing Manager, Randheer Balbadan
LotusFM Marketing Manager, Randheer Balbadan

It is alleged, during a routine programme meeting with management, Neville Pillay highlighted the need for upgrade in studio equipment. This was when Randheer Balbadan argued that point and sanctimoniously declared that they ‘do not deserve new equipment.’

Balbadan thereafter stated he will “cut Neville down to size” in the presence of all at the meeting. This was the tipping point for Neville Pillay who then resigned. It did not stop there, as Neville was walked out, Balbadan then quipped that “We don’t need him, we are not desperate!”

In that fit of rage, Balbadan tore into Pauline Sangham who promptly raised this matter with Human Resources. This has apparently been a trend of Balbadan at the station where he has a record of bullying staff and demoralizing them in their capacities. This certainly brings the General Manager, Alvin Pillay into focus as to why he has allowed such behavior to breed from his management levels.

Neville took to social media to speak out against the policy that crippled the station.

Internal conflict, corruption, bribery and other allegations have marred the reputation of the station since 2014. IndianSpice has in its possession, an internal LotusFM memo extract detailing a string of corrupt activities at the station involving former and current staffers, allegations of blackmail, sexual harassment which reveals the rot that has been allowed to fester at the station.

I WILL FUCKING CUT YOU DOWN TO SIZE, YOU HEAR ME.  Randheer Balbadan, LotusFM Marketing Manager click here for more

The station has been making futile attempts to change its pop- and-prattle image after IndianSpice reported their mad shuffle of staff from key positions in October 2016.

The Morning Rush breakfast show, anchored by Neville ‘TopDan’ Pillay dealt with the loss of their traffic commentator, Sanobar Khan – to the Drive Time show – where Shaastra Nagesar once headed up.  This and other major changes were actioned in haste to save what reputation the station held at that time.

Influential DJ’s Zaid Bhoola and Kevin Rebellious exited the station citing tension at the station, poor salary

  1. The SABC Chronicles: click here
  2. LotusFM Plans To Remain A Weekend Special click here
  3. BDlive: Tweet of the Week: click here
  4. Indians: We’ve Been Betrayed By Sellouts: click here
  5. Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s Arrogance On-Air: click here
  6. BDlive: How Hlaudi Motsoeneng ate Lotus FM
  7. LotusFM, Corruption Not In My Name Please! click here

brackets and contractual conditions which limited their creative license.  Two weeks later the station dealt another disaster when revelations of the listenership was heading for a pathetic year-end. The station lost about a third of its listeners, with its average listener numbers falling by about 130,000, from 390,000 to 260,000.

Advertisers lost confidence in the station and through pressure from their loyal clients opted to freeze their existing airtime budgets. This was a sensible and practical route to take to evaluate & ascertain where their target market – the LotusFM listeners – had migrated.

Some advertising clients sought to benefit from LotusFM’s listenership disaster and signed trade deals to stay on. Other activations were implemented as a last resort attempt to hold on to some advertising brands, however the damage was done – listeners had moved on.

Another crisis led to another and within 2 weeks of the shocker changes, management moved to implementing their 10% international music airplay to the weekend slot giving the Bollywood Billboard anchored by Varshan Sookhun a lifeline, another shot in the dark and last attempt to hold on to listeners.

At current, if one has to tune in a barrage of government related public service announcements dominates the airwaves compared to pre-#localmusic policy implementation.

LotusFM station manager, Alvin Pillay refused to comment on the exit of the Morning Rush anchor, referring us to SABC Communications for further feedback.


About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

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