Leading Kenyan media group, the Royal Media Services (RMS), which owns the popular Citizen Radio and Television stations, is making inroads into the Ugandan media industry by acquiring stakes in the Voice Media Group owned by Soroti MP Mike Mukula. Voice Group runs Soroti-based Voice of Teso, one of the oldest FM stations in Uganda and Jinja-based Voice of Busoga.
Leading Kenyan media group, the Royal Media Services (RMS), which owns the popular Citizen Radio and Television stations, is making inroads into the Ugandan media industry by acquiring stakes in the Voice Media Group owned by Soroti MP Mike Mukula.
Voice Group runs Soroti-based Voice of Teso, one of the oldest FM stations in Uganda and Jinja-based Voice of Busoga.
According to Voice Media Group’s Manager, Lucy Ekadu, the group has acquired the franchise for RMS in Uganda, meaning Mukula’s outlets will run like RMS vernacular outlets in Kenya.
Royal Media Services is the leading radio and TV group in Kenya, founded by businessman Samuel Kamau Macharia.
According to the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), Royal Media Services owns a total of 62 FM frequencies, of which it uses 42. That makes it Kenya’s most prolific broadcaster, surpassing Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, which broadcasts on just 30 frequencies.
RMS began in 1999 with its flagship station, Radio Citizen, which transmits in Kenya’s national language Swahili and targets the common man. The group’s current stable of 11 stations includes nine major vernacular outlets.
According to information posted on its website, Royal Media Services Group is planning to unveil more stations as well as establish a Pan–African vernacular footprint, which could explain why it is entering the Ugandan market.
Already in Uganda the Royal Media Group broadcasts the popular Citizen TV, both on satellite and free-to-air.
Ekadu says the franchise will enable Voice Media Group to brand its programming on Royal Media Group's outlook. The group stresses the local person's touch in its branding, which has made it rise to the leading position in Kenya.
When contacted, Mukula downplayed the developments saying that it’s a story not worth writing about.
The entrance of Royal Media Services comes after its Kenyan rival, Nation Media Group, acquired Kampala-based Dembe FM from businessman Patrick Bitature. Nation Media Group already owns Daily Monitor, KFM and NTV in Uganda.
Associate Professor Monica Chibita, the head of mass communications department at Uganda Christian University, said the new media acquisitions by regional media powerhouses are indicative of the changing media landscape in the country.
Prof. Chibita said small radio stations, particularly the ones upcountry, are not viable and this makes acquisitions by powerful media groups inevitable. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if more acquisitions are announced.
While the Uganda Communications Commission Act prescribes how a foreign company can own a media house in Uganda, it is silent on acquiring foreign media franchises, a loophole Voice Media Group and Royal Media Services could have exploited to get along.
kenyan royal media services
voice of teso
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