By Joel Isabirye
I have seen some comments on social media attacking Sheila Gashumba over her level of education.
Some have wrongly claimed that the rates NTv used to pay her were low because she had no degree.
Viewership ratings do not need a phd or any degree for that matter…most of that stuff is made up of natural ability which is then coached to success.
Some of the best presenters and highest paid presenters I have known in the media in uganda and in other parts of the world, have not had any degree…and that is what made them even more special. Because no one could replicate what they were able to do…it was never taught in a classroom.
Sheila raises a critical question about low wages in the media. In fact many have left the media because of that… We lost Seanice, Dr. Mich, Joseph Sabiiti, Chris Obore, Samuel Apedel, Simon Kaheru…etc over time, simply because the numbers were not adding up.
Having worked in, and managed the media, I know that the industry as it is cannot be able to pay the sort of wages it would need to pay to retain or satisfy all their staff. If you look at what most of the media houses make, it is not that much.
But they will not say.
I have done consultancy work for big media houses that can take months without paying their suppliers because the cash flow is tight…and I have written articles for many of our leading newspapers in uganda, who had only paid me after nine months…very little money…because the cash flows are tight.
Sometimes because advertisers also do not pay on time. They are notorious for that. on the other hand a lot of the media houses are not realizing their fulladvertising potential.they are stuck in old age business development approaches.the media needs to evolve into newer business models in order to survive. And amongst those models should be to look for opportunities for their staff to grow, through win win off air opportunities…the way Dr. Innocent Nahabwe is doing for his staff at Galaxy Fm.
Presenters can also be given skills in financial management to transform the little they earn into something meaningful. At the same time, they can be encouraged to partake in sales at the media houses, which can be a sure way of growing income as their sales revenue grows.
With stagnating viewership, listenership and revenues, the media must also quickly become more competitive and especially differentiate…positioning was thrown out of the window…this business of pursuing generalist content and where one station is a replication of another station with a mere change of titles for different programs is a non-starter. Why should mtn sponsor ten after 5 look alike programs yet it can put money on the one that brings guaranteed viewership?
At the same time, presenters should break their backs to push their ratings to levels that can attract significant advertising.
Your show and its viewership or listenership is a life and death issue…let it not seem like you are passing time…put in work. If your show has ten sponsors, you are in a position to negotiate. It takes work, dedication and strategy to do so. But it is possible.
Lastly, on the matter of Kenya, Kenyan presenters earn more than ugandan presenters because the revenues that side are different.
An advert in Uganda that costs about 100,000 shillings costs about 1,500,000 shillings in Kenya, because their economy is more developed and that’s how it works. Hope that explains the difference.
For stations to pay astronomical sums of money to staff, they must make a lot of money. That is where the conversation needs to start…