Radio Stations in Uganda Compete for Drive Home Traffic
Not everyone is a loser when it comes to that torturous drive home in Kampala's traffic.
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First published: November 4, 2010
Private FM radio has since the early ninetees become stronger and stronger with various players entering the cut-throat market. What matters is not only how far a particular radio station’s frequency transmits but also the quality of the various radio presenters. Of course there have been numerous wars between private FM radio stations as they continued to poach the crème de la crème of on–air personalities… luring them with attractive packages to switch to their broadcast houses. No wonder over the years we have witnessed various talented radio personalities crossing over regions especially, from Kampala to Nairobi, after being lured to join radio stations offering them better opportunities. For some reason the Kenyan market seems to be blessed with specialist audio and visual producers and over the years many of them have left Kenya for the Ugandan market where they quietly run the show behind the scenes as producers.
- Speaking of the Uganda-to-Kenya exodus we have seen personalities like Sanyu FM’s Seanice Kacungira move from Dar e Salam’s based East Africa Radio to Sanyu FM then to Nairobi’s Capital FM and now back to Sanyu,
- Allan Kasujja from Sanyu FM to Nairobi’s Capital FM and now back to Kampala at Capital radio,
- Brenda Zobbo from Uganda’s Radio One and to Nairobi’s Kiss FM,
- Mark “The Kwickstar” Kwikiriza from Sanyu FM, a stint at Radio One (FM 90), then to Rwanda’s Radio Flash then to Nairobi’s Capital Radio,
- Micheal “Bush Baby” Owori from Uganda to Daraesalam’s East Africa Radio and now back to Uganda where he had a short stint at Sanyu FM,
- then of course the Sanyu and Super FM bid for one Rasta Rob Mc on his return from the UK.
Such has been the trend in this world of private FM radio in the past. However, fast forward to what is happening where on some of our FM radio stations.
Supersonic Show (18.00-21.00)
When Uganda’s once most popular radio personality Robert “Rasta Rob” Ogwal returned to the country after almost a decade living quietly in the UK, there was rife speculation whether he would return on air and, yes, on which radio station. Rumour at first had it that Rob would return to where he started out his trade in the early ninetees… Sanyu FM. However, before we knew it it turned out he had signed a major contract with Super FM’s CEO Peter Sematimba, as the station’s prime time’s evening drive show host.
Of course many former fans were excited about the move but the question then to many critics was did Robert still have that magic touch that many idolized him with at his prime… especially while at CBS (88.8FM). Of course he didn’t disappoint when he started off with the Supersonic Show at Super FM, Rasta Rob proved he still has that magic touch that almost obviously endears him to him followers. He makes his listeners a part of his radio programme because of his playful and unannoyingly pompous voice as he goes about his daily routine.
You can tell he does lots of research before his on air presentation because of his in-depth delivery of entertainment news, sports news and gossip. What makes him even more interesting is the fact that after reading out any of his gossip stories he goes ahead and adds his personal comment about the story. The comment is normally a slight “diss” which he accompanies with a sarcastic laugh effect. The effect in itself is wacky enough to make the listener grin. Rob also has the “bashing” segment on which he has listeners writing in to bash him about all sorts wacky issues like when one fan wrote in and asked why he only has pancakes for lunch to which he replied that he would rather have only pancakes for lunch, than roasted sweet potatoes for breakfast like this particular fan. Such is the type of light banter that graces his show and thus making it quite a people’s show.
Rasta Rob Mc also has various Ugandan recording artists such as Jose Chameleon, Radio and Weasel, Bella, Eddie Kenzo etc… recommending his show. On an average day in a typical after work Kampala traffic jam no wonder you’ll hear most commuter taxis tuned in to this “drive home” show. On each day he keeps on sending shouts out or commenting about the conductor-passenger relationships which makes the drivers relate more to the show and thus tune in for their passengers. The corporate world seems to be listening in and also have come on board his quite popular radio programme and so the show has some spots being sponsored by Uganda Breweries products such as Uganda Waragi, Zain and others like Dstv.
Sanyu (88.2 FM) has in the recent past added onto it’s on-air personality list two ladies namely Nina and Halima. Nina replaced Angie on the Lounge and though sound quite younger than her predecessor thanks to her light tone still delivers suavely to her mainly female audience. Her show mainly caters for women issues, etiquette amongst others. As for Halima I’ll hasten to say that hers is the perfect definition of an on-air voice and Kudos to whoever could have scouted for her. She is one of those hidden treasures that remind you of earlier perfectly perfect radio voices such as radio sanyu’s Gloria or Radio one’s lynn back in the day. Not only does she exude onair confidence but her effortlessly playful silky voice makes you (the listener just want to pay attention to what she is speaking on the air.
Radio One(FM 90)
Having spent more than a decade at the “Oldies” Radio One RS Elvis continues his trade on Dustur street at Radio One, as the station’s “drive home” show host (16-19hrs). Radio One being a station that mainly targets a more mature working class audience has a policy to always less talk and play more oldies. So Elvis does exactly that. His show is characterised more with corporate sponsored public service announcements, travel news, traffic updates for the drive home motorists and of course those classified in between songs. But humour does not elude Elvis on his show and he will once in a while add a light sarcastic comment to any of the major political, business or social stories hitting headlines in the country.
At the same station Radio One recently confirmed former WBS Teens Club presenter Moses as a permanent on-air announcer, after he got back to the country after spending almost a decade in Scotland. He can now be heard during the station’s afternoon delight show as well as on the Saturday afternoon show that replaced the controversial political outdoor radio show, Ekimeeza that was burned by the government a couple of years back. At the same station John Kizza continues as the man behind the radio stations production house and therefore responsible for much of the stations sweepers and jingles.
Capital Radio's Alex Ndaula: Uganda's longest serving radio personality.
Capital Radio’s longest serving on air personality Alex Ndaula continues to present the Daily Evening Drive at the station (15.00-19.00hrs) in his usual laid back style. He sounds like he is talking to you in your own living room because of his natural wit and delivery that he does so without even a background beat. If you are careful enough you will hear him pick up a piece of paper.
With his ever present trademark carefree baritone he takes his listeners through the days issues especially regarding Uganda’s social scene and then later seeks listeners’ views through short messages. The station’s all round music policy focuses mainly on variety- something that has kept the station dear to persons of all ages and walks of life because with Capital you never know which song to expect next on the playlist.
However, the best can be got out of Alex During the station’s long running Saturday night premier show Dance Force (20.00hrs till late). On this he brings out his trademark wild bigger-than-life on air personality- a care free ego that has only earned him more fans all over the region. On this you can tell that “Mr. Giganomous” aka y2k Compliant not only rigorously works hard on his Dance Force mixes to ensure a perfect Saturday night mix, but also knows his music too well… both old and fresh. This is because of the ease with which he tells details of the songs… like the production houses, the producers and the distributors, collaborations, upcoming album release dates etc.
But as a listener you have to go slow on Alex when calling in. You are either audible and lively as a part of his on air entourage or he shuts you down by switching you off the on-air phone and indeed his callers are used to this. Consistency is also another factor that has created a cult following for his radio programme. It is the one Saturday night radio show that has been on the air for the past fifteen years with Alex consistently making an appearance for the show… expect on two occassions when Hussein (former Capital FM producer) sat in for his show. Alex is so particular with this show that he once confessed to me that he could not let anybody fill in for his show even when not around because he was not too sure they knew what he wanted for his programme. Such is how dear Alex takes Dance Force and thus later confessed that he only let Hussein fill in for him that one time because, according to him, Hussein knew his “stuff”.
When all is said and done Dance Force continues to be Uganda’s most authentic and entertaining Saturday night mix… the type that will have you sipping your drink from the frigde at home as you enjoy his mixes coupled with his wacky on-air outbursts.
Each Friday a panel of expert journalists, namely Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi (the host), Timothy Kalyegira, Angello Izama, Chris Obore and Onapital Ekomoloit (also Corporate Affairs Manager, Nile Breweries Ltd) gather at the Namuwongo based KFM studios to debate about the different burning political issues of the country. So controversial and heated up are the debates that even when an advert is supposed to run in between the breaks, it is always pretty hard to stop the hard debates amongst the journalists and thus the ad only has to force it’s way to silence this fiery team. The show sometime back had the government shut down the radio station during Andrew Mwenda’s reign as show host, because perhaps the government thought they were going a little bit out of the way divulging sensitive information amounting to libel. Indeed it’s partly because of this show that Andrew (now Managing Editor the Independent Magazine) was shown the exit for the radio station. Libel has since been pronounced illegal during a recent past media verses the government of Uganda legal battle.
Hot 100's Mckenzie.
Ugandan teenagers finally got a perfect answer four years ago when Radio Simba’s sister station Hot 100FM opened it’s doors. The station mainly caters for their needs through strictly rotating the latest hiphop and Rnb songs all over world charts and it’s at the same station that Mckenzie and the Big Kahuna host the daily morning show. So fast paced is the show that you indeed have to be a hip teenager to catch up. The radio station’ s news items strictly rotate around what’s happening in the world of show business and nothing else. Forget the politics. No wonder most advertisements on the station directly matter to the younger audience like beverage products, different telecom packages, teenage events etc.
Radio 2 Akaboozi (87.9FM)
It’s Frequency Modulation being the very first one on the dial, Radio Two stands a slight advantage over the other stations because it’s quite easy to catch. Besides that, it’s entertaining programming also guarantees it quite a listenership especially amongst the Luganda speaking and understanding populace. However at the station is a man that has stood the test of time not only as a daring journalist but also a well refined radio presenter.
Simon “Njala” Kaggwa presents the station’s daily afternoon radio show (13.00-16.00hrs) in his usual wacky, almost mocking voice intonation. You can tell from the number of callers to his programme that he indeed has a cult following. His is mainly a show on which people call in to express their complaints about some of life’s issues that irritate them the most. It’s actually quite interesting to listen to what irritates different people the most. For example, you will hear comments such as some irritated by a loud commuter taxi conductor, or even some irritated by those that take long to pay back debt etcetera. The show host will also chip in to also express what irritates him the most and you can trust that his views are often quite weird.
On the whole Simon is the type of presenter you want to keep on listening to not only because of his firm grasp of the Luganda dialect but also the effortless humour he lends to the show.
On the whole the number of private radio broadcasters are well over 100 and are scattered allover the country. The UGPulse Entertainment team will keep on reviewing the different radio shows so that you have a clear choice to choose from if you wish to be a part of this exciting private FM radio world in Uganda today.
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First published: November 4, 2010