Four decades of dedication to South Africa’s media industry

While completing a BJourn at Rhodes University in the early 1980s, David O’Sullivan started his forty-year career as a radio and TV journalist at the then relatively new radio station Capital Radio. He rose to the position of News Editor with the station, covering the fall of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. In addition, he worked as a foreign correspondent for a number of international radio networks including Independent Radio News in London, and Voice of America and National Public Radio in the USA. 

In the early 1990s, O’Sullivan contemplated a career change, studying law at Wits, and spending two years practising media law as a candidate attorney with Webber Wentzel, dealing with such clients as the Star, Pretoria News, Sowetan, BBC and Carte Blanche. 

However, journalism had its hooks in deep, and before he had completed his qualification, O’Sullivan had joined Radio 702. Here he remained for 20 years, during which time he was involved in the coverage of every significant news and sports event in South Africa in addition to hosting the prime-time Afternoon Drive show for 11 years. As well as his radio work with 702, O’Sullivan also presented live sport on SABC from 2000 to 2011. During this time, he anchored the coverage of the Comrades Marathon, the Durban July, the J&B Met and both Olympic and Paralympic Games. He also hosted the live rugby sports show ‘RuggaZone’. 

After leaving 702, O’Sullivan worked on Carte Blanche’s coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial. He then joined Kaya FM in 2017 to anchor the breakfast show, for which he won the Liberty Radio Award for ‘Best Breakfast Presenter’. David has won numerous media awards, including two international awards for his coverage of the 1992 Bisho massacre, three SAB Sports Journalist awards, four MTN Radio Awards for his Afternoon Drive Show on 702, and two Liberty Radio Awards. He has also co-authored the Penguin Book of South African Sports Trivia, and the Extraordinary Book of South African Cricket.

In 2022, Rhodes University honoured David O’Sullivan with a JMS50 Alumni Award, for his dedication to radio and TV journalism. His devotion to radio as a medium is evident in a quote from him stating: “People have a greater personal attachment to radio than they do with other forms of media. Radio is in their homes, their offices and their cars. A creditable radio station brings trustworthiness to advertisers, enhancing the power of their brands.”