By DailyNewsUG Correspondent,
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in huge financial pressures on Radio stations across the country with little or no revenue from advertisers, the main source of income for the broadcasters.
Several businesses have come to a standstill since the lockdown which started in March. The absence of advertisers, and sponsors for programmes and talkshows hosted by the radio stations means that they can nolonger make enough money to sustain their wage bill and other running costs.
At Radio Pacis in West Nile, a Catholic founded radio, local revenues have reduced almost by half. The station representative Gaetano Apamaku said that program sponsorships have drastically fallen
James Bagyenzi from Hope Radio in Kabale, says some staff have unfortunately been laid off, especially the presenters and this is because of the hard times.
According to Dick Nvule, an Editor at Radio Simba in Kampala says that the selection of essential and non essential staff has resulted in rifts and evoked suspicion among the staffs who advised to stay home.
Gilbert Matsiko, the station manager of Mountains of the Moon FM in Fort Portal says they asked some of their staff and volunteers who stay far away from the radio station to stay home.
From Northern Uganda ,Jackie Adure, the News Editor of Speak FM in Gulu says that the station revenues from adverts, announcements and sponsorships have drastically dropped.
At Karamoja FM located in Kotido, things are a little different , possibly because it is the only radio station in the district.
ENTER 88.2 SANYU FM: Fat Boy and several Sanyu FM staff, who went on strike despite the pleas from station management have been replaced from the flagship radio station after management questioned why they should continue taking home hefty salaries despite failing to hit targets in the months of March, April and May 2020.
Sanyu FM top management convened a meeting on Thursday to quiz James, popularly known as Fat Boy, and other radio staff over their failure to hit more than 50 per cent of the revenue targets that were set for the radio station last. It is reported the staff flatly rejected the offer but instead chose to go on strike.
However, Fat Boy led his fellow staff in shunning the meeting, and rather declared a sit-down strike, rejecting several pleas to resolve the matter amicably.
Sanyu FM management explained to Fat Boy and the other striking staff that it was prudent to hold a meeting to discuss a way forward since the station’s failure to hit the 2019 targets had been exacerbated by the lockdowns due to the #Covid-19 pandemic.
Fat Boy and the other radio were, however, adamant and they flatly refused to have talks with their employer in order to amicably resolve the issue, effectively firing themselves from the top radio station.
As news of Fat Boy’s leaving started trickling in, radio enthusiasts analysed that his leaving is a blessing for Sanyu FM as it offers the station a chance to do away with stale and monotonous presenters, and bring in refreshed radio crews.
As one of Uganda’s oldest private radio station,88.2 Sanyu FM controls a big listenership and, according to several surverys,is Kampala’s most listened to radio station for the critical age-bracket of the youth.
And the station did not take long to find a dynamic replacement for Fat Boy, as top city comedian Patrick Salvador, who operates under the stage name Man from Ombokolo, will make his debut on the Sanyu Breakfast Show tomorrow morning.
Founded in 1993 by the Katto family, Sanyu Fm is the oldest surviving privately owned radio station. Sanyu FM targets the 18-35 year old age group, or the ABC1-C2 socio-economic class with a brand promise offering “Today’ Best Music”.
This would not be the first time the station is hit and survives a massive start walkout. In 1996, there was a massive staff exodus that saw presenters like Rasta Rob, Christine Mawadri, Gloria Kamba, Samson Bill and RS Elvis all quit the station.
Fresh blood that included the likes of Nash Kiwanuka, John Miles, Allan Kasujja, Ragga Dee and Emperor Orlando join the station to fill the void.
Globally on Radio: Here are a collection of layoffs, furloughs, and closures caused by the coronavirus’ critical blow to the economy and journalism around the world
- Meruelo Media had furloughs. Meruelo has stations in five markets.
- Forever Media had layoffs . Forever has stations in 11 markets.
- Townsquare Media Group had pay cuts and layoffs. Townsquare has stations and sites in 67 markets.
- iHeartMedia had furloughs and pay cuts. iHeart has stations in 153 markets.
- JVC Broadcasting furloughed some employees. JVC has stations in New York and Florida.
- American General Media had layoffs, . American General Media has stations in seven markets.
- Beasley Media had layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs. Beasley has stations in 15 markets.
- Entercom had layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs. Entercom has stations in 46 markets.
- Radio One/Urban One had layoffs and furloughs. The company owns stations in 15 markets.
- Cumulus had temporary furloughs and pay cuts. Cumulus owns 424 stations in 87 markets.
- Alpha Media had layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours. Alpha Media has stations in 21 states.
- NPR had pay cuts for executives and cut pay and benefits.
- Minnesota Public Radio had 14 people accept voluntary buyouts. It also had voluntary furloughs.
- St. Louis Public Radio had layoffs and pay cuts, Poynter has learned. The layoffs include three full-time positions and two part-time positions.
- Hubbard Radio stations had layoffs in St. Louis, Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and Phoenix.
- American Public Media announced buyouts and furloughs, including at MPR News in Minnesota. Fourteen people took voluntary buyouts and the same number took voluntary furloughs.