Fight between NRG Radio, KISS 100 shows why businesses should not copy paste strategies

By M&M Reporter

The ongoing court case between NRG Radio and its two top presenters Andrew Kibe and Kamene Goro who have been poached by Radio Africa Group as KISS 100 may appear like an ordinary media war.

Last week, a Nairobi court issued orders barring them from working at KISS 100 until the case that has been filed by their former employer has been heard and determined.

On the face of it appears like an attempt by rising star of urban radio, NRG Radio, to shut down KISS 100 which recently fired its top presenters including Shaffie Weru.

However, the rivalry also underscores the value of developing unique business strategies to grow a winner brand in a market controlled by older and well-funded brands. This is the case for NRG Radio which is a recent entrant in the Kenyan radio business.

In the one year it has been in the show business NRG Radio has built a unique brand combining great music and unorthodox talk shows targeted at urban youth demographic.

Thanks to the Kenyan unpredictable radio audience preference, NRG has earned the people’s hearts.

Media research by market research firm, TIFA Research show that NRG Radio has displaced Radio Africa’s two top stations, KISS 100 and Classic FM as Nairobi’s favourite radio stations. In the research, NRG commands a listenership of 8 percent against KISS 100 ‘s 7 percent and Classic FM’s 7 percent.

But the fight is also a lesson of why copying business strategies from competitors can back fire on a company.

This is the case for Radio Africa that has grown on guerilla style poaching of top talent that has at times almost crippled other radio stations.

But poaching top talent from other stations does not always lead to good results. This has proven true in the Kenyan radio business.

While it may have worked in the past when Radio Africa poached top talent such as Caroline Mutoko and Maina Kageni from Capital FM, there is evidence that it is no longer the magic wand in the radio business.

Cases abound of top radio talents who were poached from small radio stations and failed to shine in their new employers.

That is the case for Hot 96, which has persistently tried to poach talents but has always been an underperformer in the Royal Media Group. The same is true for the various radio stations that Nation Media Group has tried to operate through staff poaching and failed miserably.

The fact that NRG Radio has managed to become Nairobi’s top radio in just one year is a remarkable feat. It is proof that the radio’s brand marketing strategy remains the envy of many and has sent shockwaves across the media industry triggering a war.

In poaching Kamene and Kibe from NRG Radio, Radio Africa planned to have the two young presenters take over their flagship KISS breakfast show that served as a platfotm for Caroline Mutoko and Adelle Onyango. To accord the same opportunity to an inexperienced Kamene and the foul-mouthed Kibe might be a mistep that may cost dearly! Rumor also has it that popular online personality Xtian Dela, who was once accused of attempting to extort 50 million from Vimal Shah, was expected to be part of the Kamen-Kibe team at KISS 100 as a producer.

NRG Radio having invested in developing their own talent (complete with photoshoots, concerts, billboards, and fancy cars), quickly moved to court citing breach of contract and secured a court order barring Kamene and Kibe from going on air on July 1 2019.

Money & Markets can now exclusively reveal Radio Africa’s elaborate plan to copy and paste NRG Radio’s business model in an effort to rescue its dwindling fortunes.

NRG Studios, technology and brand strategy have made all their competitors look very old school.  Kiss is desperately trying to catch up but poaching NRG talent is not the answer. Radio Africa may have scot free when it poached Mutoko and Kageni from Capital FM but hiring someone a misogynist like Kibe will definitely turn away female audiences.

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