Mount Kenya University founder and multi-billionaire Simon Gicharu has recently been in the news for his most recent investment in Radio 47, a brand-new radio station that is expected to disrupt Kenya’s airwaves.
Radio 47 was officially launched today, and despite being a relative newcomer to the market, it has already made a big impression by luring top talent away from reputable media organizations like Radio Maisha and Milele FM.
The radio station and TV 47 are both owned by Cape Media Company, as is the radio station.
Gicharu is understood to have acquired radio frequencies from a private investor who disposed of them after the elections. As the launch date approaches, the station has been busy recruiting top talent to fill key positions.
The biggest casualty of Radio 47’s poaching spree so far has been Radio Maisha, owned by Standard Group.
The station has lost several presenters to Radio 47, including sports presenter Ali Kauleni Hassan, also known as Hassan Mwana wa Ali, as well as journalists and presenters Lynda Oriaso, Geoffrey Mang’ou, and Beatrice Maganga.
Meanwhile, Radio 47 has also raided Milele FM, owned by Mediamax Network and reportedly owned by the Kenyatta family, poaching presenter Evah Mwalili, popularly known as Mama Taifa.
Mwalili is a celebrated journalist, having won three major awards, and her departure from Milele FM has been a blow to the station.
Despite the controversy surrounding his recruitment tactics, Gicharu has been unapologetic about his raid on established media houses.
In a statement, he stated that he intends to replicate the successes of his other media stations on Radio 47, and believes that poaching proven and tested presenters is the only way to go.
“The success of our sister stations (Royal FM and TV 47) have really proved that there is still space and segment for the audience with the right content, and we are optimistic and ready for the market as we launch Radio 47 this month,” Gicharu said.
Royal FM broadcasts from Kigali, Rwanda, while TV 47 operates in Kenya.
Both stations have gained a following for their innovative programming and engaging content, and Gicharu is hoping to replicate this success with Radio 47.