The 10 most powerful media personalities in East Africa

Posted on July 6, 2015 12:01 am

The media industry in East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania(My bad I couldn’t include Rwanda and Burundi – their media companies are nascent) is ruled by handshakes and long lunches, the measure of power is not as simple as the plaque on your door. Some offices, such as chief executives, wield influence by virtue of their roles. Others are touched by ratings, have produced the most innovative and edgy programs or presided over long careers or vast slates.Contador Harrison informally canvassed a panel of friends working as experts, critics, executives and industry insiders to give their opinion on list I compiled this list of the 10 most influential people in media across East Africa.The media’s financial glory days may be over in the region thanks to digital migration that has disrupted the market, but when it comes to wielding power in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania one of your best bets is still running a media empire, editing a newspaper or writing a regular column.

Eight media men and, yes, they are all blokes feature on list that has only two ladies.This ranking only features most influential East Africans and predicts whether their clout will rise or fall over the next calendar.Even for an industry changing at a dizzying speed, power in the East African media is in a special state of flux. Tv stations that were traditionally dominant are shaking themselves off after their doomed digital migration experiment, and the upcoming general elections in Uganda and Tanzania are expected to upend the chess board.

Dr. Anthony Diallo – Sahara Media Group owner and CEO.Having met him several times, he’s one of the most tech savvy media moguls in East Africa.Linked inextricably to Sahara media’s DNA, and leads Star Tv in its new golden age and foray in digital television,he’s led the channel to be one of the highly rated,led it into a stronger, more robust business since his retirement as a politician representing Ilemela constituency in Mwanza.

Joyce Mhavile – Managing Director, ITV/Radio One is undoubtedly one of the two ladies on my top ten media.Those of us who’ve visited United Republic of Tanzania know Independent Television(ITV) is the market leader thanks to Ms Mhavile steering it into a path of innovation towards a bigger audience and stronger profits.ITV is part of IPP media, the second largest media conglomerate in East Africa after Nation Media Group.

Sam Shollei – Chief Executive Officer of Standard Media Group, Kenya’s second largest media company.He is credited with turning around the fortunes of the Mombasa road based company since taking over when it was grappling with a raft of inherited problems, but has presided over Standard Media Group’s first gains in years.

Linus Gitahi – Former Nation Media Group CEO who left last week, turned East Africa’s largest media company into an innovative, multi-platform leader with presence in four countries Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.He has since been replaced by Joseph Muganda.

Robert Kabushenga – New Vision Group CEO has enabled the Ugandan government owned media company to evolve as a multicultural print and electronic media business and into an edgy, forward-thinking player in Uganda and the region.Bukkedde Tv is now the most watched Luganda language television channel in the country and New Vision newspaper is the best selling newspaper in Uganda thanks to his visionary skills.

Patrick Quarcoo – Founder and CEO of Radio Africa Group that owns some of Kenya’s leading media channels on print, digital, TV and radio.He also owns two radio stations in Uganda, the mainstream market leader Capital FM(am a fan of their Capital Gang Talk show) and Beat FM.Those who’ve visited Kenya knows the popularity of Classic FM is unrivaled.

Aggie Konde – Managing Director NTV Uganda now controls Uganda’s biggest audience TV network and she’s Uganda television’s princess of smoke, mirrors and program innovation who has turned free to air TV into a serious contender for the coveted most watched channel in a country of 35 million people.I must admit that I know her personally thanks to NTV mobi project that was spearheaded by Somocon Group where I trade my skills but that didn’t influence in any way expert’s views while compiling the ranking.The lady at the helm of the Nation Media Group’s flagship channel in Uganda has impressively performed in a male dominated industry.

Samuel Kamau Macharia – Founder and owner of Royal Media Services with a deep focus on Television and Radio business, the media company based in Nairobi Kenya has fourteen radio stations reaching diverse Kenyan communities in its stable and runs Kenya’s biggest audience television channel Citizen Television and arguably East African region as well where its accessible via satellite broadcaster DSTV, a South African company.

Joseph Kusaga – Founder and CEO Clouds Media Group, Kusaga is easily the most successfully serial business man in East Africa when it comes to Media and Entertainment and his excellent ideas have turned Clouds Media Group as an empire many of us would envy to posses.He has set new heights in business, media and technology throughout Tanzania and beyond.

Kin Kariisa – Chairman at Kin Group Limited is Uganda’s National Association of Broadcasters chairman and is the executive Director of NBS Television, one of Uganda’s leading television stations.NBS Tv seems to understand the changing media landscape and has more than 70% of local content.Kariisa is considered to be one of the media savvy owners in the region and has crafted business model of the free-to-airs that NBS competitors envy.

Contador Harrison