The saying one man’s misfortune is another man’s fortune could have never come at a better time for Cape Media, the company owned by businessman Simon Gicharu that runs TV-47.
Cape Media is next month set to do a soft launch for its new station Radio-47 which will broadcast mostly in Swahili.
Market surveys for the new kid on the block done by Ipsos have already been completed. Frequencies have been acquired, equipment set up while technical teams have been hired.
What is remaining is hiring household names that will leap frog the new station to the front of the queue in the Swahili broadcasting segment.
Radio Citizen and Radio Jambo were the most listened-to radio stations in both 2021 and 2022, commanding listenership of 18 percent and 16 percent respectively according to the latest survey by the Media Council of Kenya. Radio Maisha followed with 12 percent then Milele FM at 8 percent.
Prof Gicharu who started off as a milk vendor before launching Mt Kenya University which is the biggest privately owned institution of higher learning wants Radio 47 to compete among the top dogs and reach there quickly. His TV-47 is already doing well despite being a relatively new player in the market.
In order to do this, Cape Media sees the financial misfortunes of Standard as an opportunity to get top talent from Radio Maisha which is losing staff by the day.
Highly placed sources have told us that negotiations are ongoing with a number of Radio Maisha staff to join Radio 47. Infact quite a number have already agreed to work for the new station instead of staying at Radio Maisha which has not paid them for months.
On Friday popular Radio Maisha presenter, Hassan Ali Kauleni became the latest to announce his exit from the Standard Media Group-owned station.
Kauleni who established himself as one of the finest Swahili journalists exited the station after 13 years.
“It’s mixed feelings. Believe it or not dear listener, after almost 13 years since 2010 I have been steering this Nuru Ya Lugha segment. It’s now my time to say goodbye,” said Kauleni.
Sources say there is a high possibility Kauleni is headed to Radio 47 as discussions are on going.
Cape Media which is currently on a poaching spree is specifically keen on deflating Radio Maisha which boasts of having the finest Swahili radio presenters in the country.
Former Radio Maisha Programmes Controller Lynda Oriaso who quit in December is said to have already signed the dotted line at Radio 47. Former Radio Maisha news editor Geoffrey Mung’ou is also said to have signed a contract at Radio 47.
Other journalists who left Radio Maisha include news reader Beatrice Maganga, as well as producers Irene Kaimuri and Eric Wambugu. We have not established their next moves but it could be a matter of time before Radio 47 comes calling.