CONSUMER Q&A: THREE MINUTES WITH JAMES ‘Fatboy’ ONEN 

9th SEPTEMBER 2021

James ‘Fatboy’ Onen is the CEO of RX Radio, a Uganda-based online radio station and podcast platform whose state goal is to serve the needs of a growing class of media consumers who are looking for high-quality radio content.

James ‘Fatboy’ Onen CEO of RX Radio

Here Fatboy spares a moment to answer some consumer questions…

What benefits does online/internet radio provide for listeners?

Online radio provides a convenient avenue through which audiences can listen to, engage with, and share media content in ways that were not possible before. Specifically, due to the removal of constraints on coverage, with online radio, a radio station can be accessed by listeners worldwide.  In addition, we are also able to make certain content available on-demand.

As a result of the Covid19 Pandemic, our children spend more time online, which may sometimes expose them to inappropriate content. So how is RX Radio protecting young consumers?

RX Radio protects its consumers by strictly adhering to the ethical guidelines related to content set forth by the government and enforced through the media regulator, UCC. 

What industry trends are you most excited about?

Radio is the most popular medium in Uganda. In 2017/18, 77.7% of individuals said they listened to the radio, according to the National Information Technology Survey. National Information Technology Survey 2018

According to the Uganda Communication Commission’s Post, Broadcasting and Telecommunications Market & Industry Q2 Report 2018, the net number of radio stations has not increased in the last five years. One could assume this is partly due to the decline in the available radio frequencies on the FM spectrum.

Indeed, in many areas of the country, no frequencies are available on which a new radio station could begin operating without causing interference to existing radio stations.

With the Internet, however, it is now easier to set up a radio station without applying for a radio frequency from the Uganda Communication Commission while being able to reach far more listeners than traditional terrestrial radio could.

The Ugandan Communications Commission’s 2020 report for Q4 2019 on the state of Uganda’s communication industry shows that the Uganda Internet market is dominated primarily by mobile Internet, showing tremendous growth in the sector.

  • Total mobile Internet subscriptions grew over the quarter from 15.4 million subscriptions in October 2019 to 16.9 million at the end of December 2019.
  • This represents an increase of 1.5 million new mobile internet data users in Uganda within a space of just three months.
  • At the end of December 2019, the number of active smartphones on the network had grown to 6.6 million

According to the Uganda Communications Commission Market Performance Report 4Q2020, as of the end of December 2020, the number of active internet subscriptions had grown to 21.4 million translating into an internet access reach of more than one active connection for every 2 Ugandans.

This UCC report highlights RX Radio’s entry into the market as well as changes in broadcasting trends, especially the growth of online media.

“In the retail radio space, the quarter yet again saw bigger adoption of online streaming services of both traditional radio and new digital-only radio streams like RX radio.” From: Uganda Communications Commission Market Performance Report 4Q2020

With online data subscriptions experiencing a constant upward growth trajectory, the proliferation of smartphones and the opportunities for online media platforms are endless. RX Radio is one of the pioneering media brands to establish itself in this exciting new digital media paradigm. And as its success shows, this is the future of media.

For more accessible consumer tips, tools and resources, get in touch with us via email at consumeraffairs@ucc.co.ug, toll-free on 0800222777 or Twitter @ConsumerUCC.

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