Rhythm100radio is a newcomer in the world of radio broadcasting, but that has not stopped this commercial Internet radio station from posing as competition to well-established stations like YFM and East Coast Radio. The station launched about two years ago and already boasts a listenership of over 100 000 people from around the globe. What distinguishes Rhythm100radio from other stations is its passion and aim to promote African content and talent. The man behind Africa’s number one internet radio station tells all in this short but informative interview.
Q: To those who don’t know you, who is Kaunda Chama?
A: Kaunda Chama is a son, a father, a brother and a journalist with a passion for online, print and broadcast media. He is currently the general manager of Rhythm100 Radio, based in Johannesburg and targeted at the youth all over the world.
Q: What is Rhythm100 Radio about?
A: As out motto states: Africa is our soul and our soul is African. It is basically about young African talent on air showcasing talent from in and around their own communities and others on the continent.
Q: What inspired you to launch an internet radio station?
A: It is something I have always wanted to do, so once my partners and I identified the opportunity and put together a business plan and a strategy, we just decided to go for it. It was something that Africa needed.
Q: How did you recognize the opportunity to start a radio station?
A. My partners and I were scanning through local radio stations and at that time they were all sounding the same and playing the same songs and that was boring! So, we decided to provide an alternative radio experience and decided to target it at the whole of Africa and other people around the world that are interested in African talent. The continent has so much to offer to itself and the rest of the world. At the same time, we use the station as a platform for developing young radio talent. There are a lot of youngsters out there with talent and they just don’t have an outlet, and the station is a perfect place for them to develop and even move on to bigger things.
Q: Creating a radio station requires a lot of money. How did you finance the project?
A: We all scraped every bit of savings that we had together to set up the station. However, that is just stage one. After the station is set up, keeping it alive requires strong advertising and marketing strategies and external funding. We are currently at the stage of developing the station to stage two so external funding is the best option.
Q: How is it different from other radio stations?
A: Firstly it is primarily internet-based; the internet is our primary delivery platform. Secondly, we focus on showcasing African talent both signed and unsigned and we give opportunities to talented youngsters who might otherwise have not had the chance to develop their radio presenting talent.
Q: Describe the ideal listener.
The Rhythm100 Radio listener is anyone around the world who is interested in African music, arts and culture and is between the ages of 16 and 45 years old. If it’s good and it’s African, you will hear it or about it on the station.
Q: How has the response been from people so far?
A: It’s been incredible, the fact that a lot of people are logging on to listen proves that our initial instincts were right. People were hungry for a different radio programming and more African content. Once again it has been remarkable.
Q. Have any Rhythm100radio presenters gone onto mainstream radio?
A: Quite a lot of them; they have moved on to East Coast Radio, YFM and others to other alternative stations like TransAfrica Radio.
Q: Which shows have the most listeners?
A: In all fairness all of our shows are enjoying good listenership at the moment because the word is out and people are showing a lot of support. The only shows that are getting fewer listeners are the new shows, and even for them it’s just a matter of time.
Q: How does one apply to be a presenter or producer?
A: The best way is to send me a motivational email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well as a demo and I’ll take it from there.
Q: Any words of wisdom for aspiring radio personalities and entrepreneurs?
A: Go with your gut instincts, if you can dream it, you can do it. Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t do anything because nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing. My demo was rejected by a number of stations, but here I am today with my own!