Billionaire businessman Simon Gicharu, founder of Mount Kenya University, has been making headlines recently due to his latest investment in TV47 and Radio 47.
Despite being a newcomer in the industry, the new Radio 47 station has already made a splash by poaching top talent from well-established media houses like Radio Maisha and Milele FM, the latest of these being Alex Mwakideu.
The radio station is a sister company to TV 47, both of which are owned by Cape Media Company. Gicharu is understood to have acquired radio frequencies from a private investor who disposed of them after the elections in 2022.
The biggest casualty of Radio 47’s poaching spree so far has been Radio Maisha, owned by Standard Group.
The station has lost several presenters to Radio 47, including sports presenter Ali Kauleni Hassan, also known as Hassan Mwana wa Ali, as well as journalists and presenters Lynda Oriaso, Geoffrey Mang’ou, and Beatrice Maganga.
Meanwhile, Radio 47 has also raided Milele FM, owned by Mediamax Network and reportedly owned by the Kenyatta family, poaching presenter Evah Mwalili, popularly known as Mama Taifa.
Mwalili is a celebrated journalist, having won three major awards, and her departure from Milele FM has been a blow to the station.
Despite the controversy surrounding his recruitment tactics, Gicharu has been unapologetic about his raid on established media houses. In a statement, he stated that he intends to replicate the successes of his other media stations on Radio 47, and believes that poaching proven and tested presenters is the only way to go.
“The success of our sister stations (Royal FM and TV 47) has really proved that there is still space and segment for the audience with the right content, and we are optimistic and ready for the market as we launch Radio 47 this month,” Simon Gicharu said.
Royal FM broadcasts from Kigali, Rwanda, while TV 47 operates in Kenya. Both stations have gained a following for their innovative programming and engaging content, and Gicharu is hoping to replicate this success with Radio 47.
Simon Gicharu has also replenished TV47 as he prepares to have it compete and gain traction as one of Kenya’s foremost stations.