The government recently announced a new raft of measures to deal with some of the industries that are at the centre of the communication narrative for the nation. These guidelines will be touching on that which is considered a vital valve of a nation’s survival – the media and its content offering.
If the government has its way, the people who run the media houses will have to change their business in a fundamental manner. Many people have been shaken to the core from advertisers, to broadcasters and the clergy who use media to broadcast. For the first time, there will be someone who will be looking out to ensure certain standards that deal with children and consumers are met.
With this new landscape, I am left wondering what on earth these segments of our society who are affected will do to ensure they retain the same huge audience and thus retain revenues. Here are a few suggestions:
a) Radio broadcasters
This is possibly the simplest of the three segments that can get around these rules. You can expect the people who run the shows to change the mood of the shows that are being run at the watershed hours and thus most listened to. Here is a sample of what one of your popular morning shows will sound like after the rules are in effect.
Maina: Good morning King’ang’i. Today our hot topic has to be potatoes. Now this past weekend I met a lady and she told me that potatoes are her favourite food. However her husband doesn’t allow her to eat potatoes. What do you think?
King’ang’i: (grunts) Morning. Maina you are not serious.
Maina: What do you mean I am not serious? If the woman loves potatoes she should be able to eat potatoes. What has her husband got to with her diet?
King’ang’i: You Maina are a disgrace to men. Potatoes are only eaten when you are young. When you are older you can’t expect a grown man to eat potatoes with his wife? Potatoes are for young people.
Maina: What do you mean they are for young people only? Even older women need to eat potatoes. Call in and give us your opinion. Also remember to tune in tomorrow and hear about the man who wants chicken but hasn’t been able to eat any since 2012.
With such a radio broadcast, who would dare talk about the rules being broken?
b) Mbegu Preachers
This one will be a bit more complicated to get around, but any televangelist worth their salt wouldn’t allow a simple thing as “the law” to get in the way of their contributions from the flock. Here is a sample sermon of a wily preacher appealing to his flock to give their tithe to the Lord. His monologue would go something like this:
Pastor Winner Wa Nyari: Praise the Lord who healed the sick and raised the dead. He also set the captives free. If you want to be part of the Lord’s blessings on earth and in the afterlife then you need to buy a heavenly plot. The heavenly plots are going at only Sh100,000 for an acre which is closest to the Lord’s personal residence. If you want in on this deal then send your payment to the number on your screen and you will be sent a virtual title dee(d). The more money you spend the better your chance of getting even closer to the Lord our saviour Jesus Christ’s house. This means more blessings for you and your family. Start buying those heavenly plots today!
They say sex sells, so it will be very difficult to sell many products that in the advertisers’ mind would only be done so with this enticement. The next generation of advertisers will have no choice but to think harder to sell products to certain demographics. Here is a sample for a car that would have possibly used sex appeal to sell to Kenyan buyers.
Advert: This is the Aston Martin. This is the car that will have everyone wondering, “where did this person get so much money that he can afford one?” When you post your photo on Facebook driving this car, your peers will quickly say, “I knew him when he was nobody and five years later he can afford such cars. He is so lucky!” The Aston Martin is the car for you!
Venue Review: Royal Court Hotel, Mombasa
This past holiday season saw me waiting to board a night bus back to Nairobi from Mombasa where I had gone with my family. Having checked out of my accommodation and with hours to kill before time of boarding, I needed to sit somewhere and have some food and drink which was child-friendly enough to allow my child to swim in the Mombasa heat. A friend suggested Royal Court Hotel off Haile Selassie Avenue in the central business district. The staff at the reception were friendly and on making my request, a bellboy led us to the elevator which would lead us to the pool area. The cost for the child to swim came to Sh400 and as he changed, we observed a beautiful view of Mombasa from the sixth floor balcony. I ordered a cold Tusker which was fortunately very cold given the heat of that coastal town.
The child was not too impressed with the pool as it was neither long enough nor deep enough. At 147cm at the deep-end, he could stand on his feet and took only a few strokes to get from one end to the other but it worked in so far as it helped him cool down in the Mombasa heat. Unfortunately this was not the same for the adults. Needing to charge our phones, we went into the dining room which had some electric outlets and some screens for anyone who would have been keen on watching a game or that all-Kenyan of pastimes, watching the news. The dining room had some ceiling fans and some air-conditioning outlets. The air conditioning was off and unfortunately because of the open windows, one barely felt the breeze from the ceiling fans. It was therefore necessary to cool down with a Tusker and fortunately, the highly attentive bartender brought some very cold ones at Sh290.
Before 7pm one could only order snacks from the restaurant so the child ordered ice-cream, and after seven we ordered dinner. He ordered chips and fish fingers and I ordered fish and a vegetable stir-fry. The child meal was great but I had to send the dinner back as it did not have some of the vegetables stipulated on the menu. It was returned with many apologies 10 minutes later and made for a decent meal.
As we ate, other dinners started streaming in. Most of the people looked like business people from Nairobi or the East African region – a fitting clientele perhaps for a hotel in the CBD with ease of access to the ferry, railway and airport. The restaurant does not swipe as I learnt quickly when I wanted to pay, and I had to go downstairs to the lobby to pay the bill.
A recap of the venue
Good: Central, disability access, friendly staff, prompt service, very cold and reasonably priced beers.
Bad: Swimming pool too small if swimming is a major reason for visiting this hotel.
Overall: Decent hotel with excellent service. A great place to while away time while waiting for meetings or buses out of town.