Ghetto Radio - showing radio's place in African community
Commercial, and community, radio is alive and well in Kenya: indeed, potentially even more alive than here in the UK.
Marteen Brouwer, above, mostly spoke about Ghetto Radio in Kenya ("your official Sheng station" - I'll explain what Sheng is later).
Radio is a tool that serves a real purpose in Africa since many people can't read. But, notwithstanding that, social media is massive in Kenya. His station has 145,000 fans on Facebook.
He didn't mention the number of station's followers on Twitter. It's much smaller - only 8,407 followers. I say "only" - but with those figures, that would make it in the top 15% of all UK stations, even though a third less people live in Kenya than the UK.
In terms of the station, he explained that the most important thing is the language it's in. Swahili is the official language in Kenya, and then there's English, and then there's lots of smaller dialect. For youth, language has been a way of organising their own privacy. "Sheng", or "Pidgin", is a language that helps younger people communicate with each other, in a way older people don't quite understand.
He hates the phrase "World Music". He feels it ghetto-ises music from Africa. But he plays a lot of African music on his station.
"We don't call it "community" radio - we call it "citizen" radio. It's not a small community thing, it's reaching out to the masses", he adds. And the figures show it. Ghetto Radio is doing $500,000 a year in revenue - getting advertising from large companies like Coca-Cola. It's professionally run, too - a locked playlist, for example - although apparently there's 'a place on the roof where you can smoke your weed'. Entirely legal tobacco, one assumes.
Chale FM, a partnership with Ghana, will do similar: and the company's launched this new partnership at the International Radio Festival, too.
James Cridland is the Managing Director of Media UK, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business.
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