With Uganda going through the phase of a 42-day lock down, Media has been incredibly put in the spotlight on how they distribute information to support the fight against the pandemic. For the larger part, the Media in Uganda has been an undoubtedly strong force with many of the employees even using their platforms to encourage the masses to test and vaccinate.
We caught up with the Digital Manager of Sanyu FM, Raheem Abdul, to find out why he believes Radio stations still have the nation’s trust during this COVID-19 pandemic: Mr. Raheem Abdul stated “Radio is the one thing where you never worry about a subscription these days in order to get information, with Televisions moving swiftly to Package bouquets at a fee, Social Media being taxed and bundles being expensive, podcasts costing a monthly subscription, the daily newspapers also go at a fee! It shows how practical radio is to spread information to the farthest corners of Uganda. I know most people who just hop into their cars at the end of a really long day, and just a click of a button jolts a relief tingle in your ears when you listen to your regular evening show from your favorite presenter, a mix from your favorite DJ or even a classic tune which brings back memories. My biggest role is to create a fusion between the traditional way people understand radio and trends on Social Media. The biggest advantage with the modern era, is that every host, every deejay or speaker is a brand of his/her own and that grows the Sanyu FM Brand even more, not just as a business but as a family of listeners. The end goal is to have different people from all over the country listening to the one thing that unites them – POSITIVITY especially during these trying times ”
The main reason why Radio maintains its place in this period of the Pandemic I would say are: Trust: For most national news outlets, trust is at an all-time leverage point and reason for affinity to Sanyu FM. Radio, on the other hand, has always been a reliable source of information in times of crisis, call to action or national emergency (both AM and FM). With the President orchestrating the famous “coffee sipping” addresses, many people turn to radio especially in the rural areas & people on the go to have first-hand information reach them. Facts & Relatability: Listening to their favorite radio presenter during the COVID-19 epidemic helps listeners know what’s vital locally, discover what local services are available, feels connected to their neighborhood, and makes them feel less stressed and nervous. Radio stations give news and information, weather updates, traffic/highway/bridge closures, and, presently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, updates on how each local market is affected. Stress relief: Radio provides the right balance of current COVID-19 news and distraction from the stress and anxiety of stay-at-home orders and financial concerns. Our favorite DJ or local news/talk show host is one of us – a reliable source of information who is also in this with us. From the twists of comedy from the breakfast show with Salvador, Deedan and Yvonne to the Man Cave of Timothy Code & Jaluo, every piece of content shared seamlessly eases away the stress. The Influence of Music: According to research, humans are “hard-wired” to respond to music. Music engages more brain regions than any other human activity. Listening to our favorite music brings us comfort and transports us back to a period before COVID-19. Sanyu FM is one of the top radio stations that has mastered this art through their evening shows featuring DJ Cacie & DJ Xylz to balance out the need for happiness even during the pandemic Only newspapers are older media than commercial radio, which is 100 years old. Despite declining newspaper readership, most Ugandans aged 18 and above listen to radio at least once a week. Radio outperforms television, digital, or mobile in a market that predominantly prefer real news in comparison to trends.