Twelve years and counting

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Jeremiah Ndjoze

Windhoek-The dB Audio brand has become synonymous with all great events, so much so that party animals only need to see the branding at an event to know that they ought to stock up on just the right amount of euphoria to last them all night.

The company – a one-stop shop for the technical management of live event productions – has come to represent one of the most resilient brands in the sound, lighting, staging and audiovisual sector.

One is quick to credit the dynamism or perhaps out-of-the-box thinking of the company owners for the success, but manager for client services Ernst Steynberg maintains that it takes more than that to put up a good show.
It requires collaboration by various stakeholders to ensure a successful event.

“The technical component (such as what dB Audio Namibia provides) is but one of the elements. Security, ticket sales, [facilities] such as toilets and parking, as well as the overall guest experience is of the utmost importance.

“A good event organiser who manages all of these components is very important,” Steynberg says.
dB Audio was founded in 2004 by David Benade and Manuel Jacobs, with Steynberg joining as partner the following year.

Prior to the company’s establishment, managing partner, Benade, had a five years stint at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) where he garnered experience as a television sound technician, specialising in location and studio recording as well as audio post production.

He also packed an additional five years’ experience as a freelancer in this field and while on trips to you Europe, he gained exposure to international standards of live event productions.

The enterprising soundman did not waver in implementing the same back home. Steynberg says demand for Benade’s services grew so rapidly that he soon applied himself fully to this genre.

“The live events industry was then in its infancy and prompted David to expand his services to include lighting, staging and AV.

“Manuel had over ten years’ experience as a technician in the theatre, film and TV industries while I come from a TV, theatre and advertising background.

“With a combination of these skills set, dB AUDIO Namibia was born,” Steynberg says as he retraces the company history.

Human capital
By last year, the company boasted a staff compliment of 43 full-time staff, 35 percent of whom have senior secondary school certificates while 50 percent did not reach Grade 12.

The remaining 15 percent have tertiary qualifications – most obtained whilst in the employ of dB AUDIO.
Others have managed to obtain some professional qualifications ranging from basic occupational health & safety certificates to specialised sound training and advanced rigging & working at height diplomas.

“We have always believed that ‘People are your frontline and your frontline is your bottom line’.
The fact that we have a human capital department – as opposed to the traditional Human Resources – illustrates that we take our staff and their overall wellness very seriously,” Steynberg says.
He adds that 14 of the staff are women – five in administration, three in production and six in technical operations.

The industry
Steynberg admits that the industry has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years with corporate clients wanting bigger and better services that are in line with international standards.
He maintains that purely entertainment events are a bit more challenging to host because Namibia’s population is too small to justify concerts with big international artists.

“But that said, the recent successful concerts featuring P-Square and Boyz II Men, not to mention the success of the annual City of Windhoek Jazz Fest prove that it can be done,” Steynberg says.
He explains that it is difficult to single out any event as having been their best since different types of events have their own challenges and rewards.

“On the conference front we are proud of our support to the United Nations for the COP11 conference in 2014 and the recent Intangible Cultures conference for UNESCO.
“On the entertainment side, we have been privileged enough to be involved with several NAMA award shows which are quite exciting events,” Steynberg says.

“It happens occasionally that Murphy’s Law results in the odd power failure or finger fault. The challenge of course is to do everything you can to avoid such incidents, and when it does happen, to be able to recover as quickly as possible.”

The company mostly services the corporate market, depending on the nature of the client’s communication needs, and as such, dB Audio has been involved with various sporting events.
“We have made our mark on the Namibian landscape and we excitedly look forward to continuing this legacy,” Steynberg says.

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