Radio Maisha, Berur shine at Broadcasters Awards

Standard Group team celebrates after being awarded the People's choice favorite regional radio station (South Rift) during the annual Kuza Awards at Movenpick Hotel, Nairobi. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

In a rather nerve-wracking, awe-provoking, colorful Kuza awards ceremony, Radio Maisha and its sister station Berur, carried the day, winning in their categories to the envy of their competitors.

The Standard Group PLC-owned stations proved their leadership in the broadcasting station drums rolled for their celebrations during the annual event themed "Shaping The Future of Broadcasting: Towards a Creative Economy". It wasn't just a win but rather a 'Gold' trophy win for the two innovative radio stations whose triumph saw representatives from the giant multimedia center take turns on the podiums with fireworks renting the air.

The People's Choice Award Category win was the fifth straight for the station in the six years the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has hosted the awards. Berur, which scooped the best South Rift win in the Regional radio category, proved its prowess, this coming hardly two years since it was launched.

"This win brings me and the team great joy. We're all ecstatic about this fifth straight win at the Kuza Awards. The Kenyan listening public has unequivocally declared that Radio Maisha is indeed the people's choice radio station in the country. We can only offer thanks and promise to continue doing what we do best. At Radio Maisha we marry creativity with technology to give impactful journalism and radio experience, hence our slogan - radio zaidi ya radio," Tom Japani, General Manager- Radio, at Standard Group said.

"We built a brand that can withstand all manner of disruptions, especially talent movement. At Radio Maisha the station is the brand. Our knack for identifying and growing great talent has not only benefitted the station but the wider industry. Our greatest identifier has always been our unwavering focus on our audience's needs," he said.

Japani noted that Berur was a beautiful story of the Standard Group venturing into the vernacular market. The station, he said, boasts of some of the most accomplished, talented, and disciplined broadcasters. The already existing professional ecosystem, he noted, has helped hone their skills and offer the much need professional structures.

The ceremony, a red-carpet black-tie affair' that was attended by hundreds of players in the broadcasting sector was unique in that for the first time it incorporated online content creators in its People's Choice Awards category. Blessed Njugush won 'Bronze' with Crazy Kennar taking 'Silver' and comedian Muchiri Mike 'Gold'. In this category, the big honors went to celebrated actor and film producer Abel Mutua who was awarded the 'Platinum' trophy.

The fete also saw the recognition of unique regional FM stations as well as pay-for-streaming TV channels. The awards categories were based on broadcast content monitoring or programming code, inspection of broadcasters' facilities, complaints handling and resolution, and license conditions.

The Coast-based Mohammed Ali-owned Mo Radio FM - Jicho Pevu Limited was amongst the biggest winners, this coming only two years after it was launched. It won the Upcoming Broadcaster Radio award with the gospel Gabriel Times TV owned by Glorious Times Limited winning the Upcoming TV Broadcaster slot.

In his speech, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts, Ababu Namwamba, who was the chief guest, noted that the awards' theme was timely as it dovetails into the broader government agenda of reinvigorating our creative economy as the next frontier of economic transformation.

He said the ICT industry in general and the broadcasting sector in particular, is catalysing content creation in diverse forms, and with increased efforts to avail broadband access and expanding broadcasting platforms, is giving the much-needed impetus to the creative economy.

"With emerging technologies and platforms, our content creation must not just be inward looking but also target markets beyond our borders. Thanks to technological convergence, our local media and content creators can effectively completely on the global stage, even as our consumers also have access to diverse international content," Ababu said.

"As the value chain continues to change, so are how the content creators and distributors relate. While content creators have immense opportunities to distribute their content, and can now connect directly with the consumers, the question of distribution is no longer a going concern.

"In this age, everyone with a social media account is a content creator. Blogs and websites are fundamentally influencing what we consume. No one can now claim monopoly in this sphere. Online streaming platforms such as YouTube have democratized content creation. Data shows that every minute, 300 hours of content are added to YouTube alone," said the CS.

His sentiments were complimented by Ezra Chiloba, the Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya as he emphasized the value and worth of the creative economy.

"According to research data published for the period 2019-2021, the worth of the creative economy in Kenya was approximated at Sh85 billion. It was noted that this worth not only translated to a contribution of about 5.3 per cent of our GDP but was also projected to have the potential of doubling if well nurtured. It is for this reason that we saw an opportunity to leverage the convergence between broadcasting, the creatives, and digital technology, a now renowned recipe for employment creation, in this era of 'youth bulge' in our country," said Chiloba.

"It was for this same reason, that this year's theme "Shaping the Future of Broadcasting: Towards a Creative Economy" was arrived at. Additionally, the selection of this theme was deliberate, symbolic, and a demonstration of our full commitment to support the delivery of the government's Bottom-up Economic Transformational Agenda (BETA)," he added.

Among the notable regional innovative winners included Radio Kaya in the Coast, Mutongoi FM in Lower Eastern, Pillar TV in Central, Sidai FM from Narok, and Ata Nayeche FM located in Kakuma.