Coming from the UK, one of the biggest differences in East Africa has been how products are marketed.
In the co-working space I was at in London we would talk about Google Ad campaigns and reaching users online through content marketing. Here though, the radio is a dominant form of advertising.
In this episode I talk with Suudi who runs Wave Records.
We discuss his extensive experience in the radio industry, why old car radios can only play on restricted frequency and listen to some of his catchy jingles, including a slightly… interesting one about a Ugandan girl getting a Chinese boyfriend (at around 18 minutes)
We were in his recording studio and so there might be a bit of activity/ phone interference going on in the background and it gets a bit echo-y at the end. Sorry about that.
Hopefully it won’t detract from one of the… most unique interviews I’ve had.
Here are some of the key quotes:
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years”
I do lots of things in the music industry and I started Wave Records a couple of years ago.
“We have all the customers”
The banks, telcos and other industries in Uganda who have radio adverts, they all come to us.
“TV as well”
Whilst most of what we do is radio, we also offer TV.
“Our adverts are like hit songs”
People are informed of what products through the catchy jingles which we produce.
“93% of people in Uganda listen to the radio”
Most people listen to the radio when they are in the taxi. In old cars you can only listen to frequency of 88-91. Newer cars have more stations.
“In urban centres there are 30 radio stations”
There are some popular stations and unpopular ones. It’s all to do with both music and the chat that the presenters have.
“I’ve been radio since I was 12 years old”
A lot of the population will know me. My business partner Ronnie is also a bit of a radio celebrity.
“Clients don’t follow machines”
They follow the people. When we left our old jobs and started Wave Records these clients came with us.
“We create according to the audience”
Some clients will want a simple voice-over. Others will want one with more catchy jingles. Often the same company will have several types of adverts out at the same time.
“Here are some jingles”
Go to around 16 minutes to listen to some jingles that we recently produced.
“We pay voice over artists a day rate”
Typically we’ll find people through friends and those who we meet. The more experience you have, the more you can charge, because clients can recognise the voice.
“I see opportunities in billboards”
They make a lot of money. If you’re doing a radio advert it’s also useful to follow it up with a billboard campaign too.
“I’ve done a million radio adverts”
I do 150 adverts a week. This is because we do adverts into lots of different languages. In Uganda there are 54 languages spoken.
“Social media has been tough on us”
These days clients are also using Facebook and WhatsApp which means there’s less room for radio adverts.
“Reach 10,000 people in 10 minutes”
Just set up a WhatsApp group have people share it and suddenly you’re getting good coverage.
“There’s coverage all over Uganda”
The government has a station in each region. There are also the private companies, like us, who exist. Unlike the BBC, the state-run radio stations here are probably the worst.
Social Media Follows etc.
Facebook: Dr Suudi