Top Radio Stations in Uganda and why they are leading

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By Moses Kaketo

Over 300 radio stations are registered in Uganda. In its 2015 third quarter report, the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) revealed that 292 FM stations were operational (and 12 stations nonoperational).

However, many of these stations are restricted to certain geographical areas. As thus, listenership is fragmented. For example, Due to the local nature of radio stations, the Kantar GeoPoll Media Measurement (KGMM) report finds that even the leading station, Capital FM, only has on average 10% of the audience share, with 51% of radio audiences listening to “other” local stations

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The latest report by research firm, IPOS, (Q2, 2016) reveals that: Capital FM, CBS 88.8, Beat FM, Radio Simba, and Monitor Publications -KFM are the most listened to radio stations.

According to the report the top English radio stations are: Capital radio (with 13%) followed by KFM at 9 percent, Sanyu FM at 5 percent and Radio One at 4 percent.

The top Luganda/ Kampala FM radios are: CBS 88.8 with 15% having declined from 16 percent, Beat FM, a sister station to Capital FM follows with 14 %, Simba FM and CBS 89.2 are in third place with 12% each. The CBS FM decline is attributed to the unstable signal. No serious listener has time to waste on unclear radio signal.

The Dustan Street based Akaboozi ( also known as Radio two)87.9 and Rubaga based owned by embattled Hon. Peter Ssematimba- Super FM tie in fourth place with 7%.

Others are Galaxy FM with 6%, Star FM 4%, Bukedde FM with 3%, Ssubi FM with 3% and Digida FM with 1% up from 2%.

The IPOS findings are not different from the June 2016 report by Kantar GeoPoll Media Measurement (KGMM). The Q2 KGMM 2016 found that Capital FM and CBS Radio were the top radio stations, followed by Radio Simba.

The top radio stations and why they are leading

Positioning and targeting is key in any business and the radio business is not any different. Otherwise, many local investors have started radio stations without a clear target market only to waste their resources. Below are the top stations and their target group

Radio Simba

Owned by seasoned entrepreneur, Aga Ssekalala Junior and broadcasting on 97.3, Radio Simba mainly targets youth between 20-35. The youth who are not A’ class.

To serve her market, the station is positioned as a happy station. The station is  all about fun and laughter. However, there are a few special programs that target the old. This clear positioning, targeting and segmentation has helped the station to grow and grow in listenership.


Owned by Kingdom of Buganda and Broadcasting on 88.8, the Mengo based station is one of the earliest FM stations. Her main target market is the old and conservative Muganda. This is reflected in radio station’s programming; the news, and music.

For example, it is the only radio station with two hours (Midday and 6:00 p:m in the evening) dedicated to death announcements. It is little wonder; the station’s main listeners are in the villages. The station is

Beat FM

The Kisementi based station and sister station to Capital FM broadcasts on 96.3 FM. The station target market is largely a copy of Radio Simba and CBS. The station also targets an average female Ugandan. This is depicted in their programming. Having clearly mastered this, the station is now among the top.

Akaboozi 87.5 FM

Owned by former Finance Minister, Maria Kiwanuka, the Dustan Street based station targets youth between 25 to 35 years. Also known as Radio Two, the station is also into sports, fun and politics. Market reports indicate, it is one of the top stations with best sports coverage and analysis.
Akaboozi FM main competitors when it comes to sports are Ssubi FM and Super FM. Ssubi FM is said to be very popular among the Boda Boda riders.

Besides sports, Super FM is also about laughter and fun. Super FM is said to be very popular among Taxi drivers. However, for purposes of verification, research on radio listenership are carried out in fixed locations. Otherwise, the station would be among the top three.

Radio One FM 90

Radio One 90.0 FM is for the A’ class of this country- the old, rich English speaking class( the old School) This is still reflected in the music they play and programs aired. So if your target market is the rich class, you know where to advertise for maximum benefits.

It is little wonder the top advertisers are: Tourism, Household, Personal care and Foods.

CBS 89.2 FM

CBS 89.2 FM is the sister station of CBS 88.8. The station was initially meant to serve the Eastern Uganda particularly the Busoga region. However, the rise of new stations in Busoga region left the station in the vacuum. The station recently rebranded to target the Youth-hence new tagline-Radio Yabavubuka bomulembe Omutebi. This positioning seems to be working out. The station is now among Luganda/Kampala the top six.

Sanyu FM

Sanyu FM 88.2 is one of the first FM stations in Uganda. Owned by city tycoon Sundhir Ruperelia, the station’s main target the urban youth. For example, It is hard to find your ordinary Taxi driver, or an average downtown Ugandan tuned to Sanyu FM. It is station for corporate youth class.


Broadcasting on 93.3, KFM is a brand of Monitor publications Limited. The station is a replica of the Daily Monitor Newspaper.

The Namuwongo based Newspaper is about Politics, talks and analysis. Nearly all her programs have some topic to talk about. The station target market is the Urban English speaking Ugandan but also those with interest in national issues.

Capital FM

The Kisementi based station is one of the earliest FM stations in Uganda. Capital FM is one of the few stations that have managed to stay on top since it was launched in the early 90’s. It is little wonder her advertising rate card is slightly above other radio stations. No agency will miss giving capital radio an advert for any campaign that is within her target market.

Capital FM leadership is attributed to national wide coverage, consistency in everything, including programming, retaining her presenters for long, and the use of National celebrities.

The station’s main target market are the youth-who are in their late 20’s, educated. Taken together, they are targeting the corporate class. It is little wonder; the station commands a lion’s share of English advertising budget.

Confused positioning has also negatively affected stations like New Vision Group’s XFM and Bukedde FM. The other with poor positioning are Monitor Publication’s Dembe FM, Digida FM, Ssuubi FM, Metro FM among others.

To be continued……

More about the Author- click here: MOSES KAKETO

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