What KPL and Clubs can learn from Classic FM

I tend to look at football as a way of life as opposed to just a game. I have come to respect the Classic FM business model, though I have a problem with Maina and King’ang’i in the Morning. My beef with the two is on their content but I admire their approach. It made me look back to how the station started and how it has grown. 

I tend to look at football as a way of life as opposed to just a game. I have come to respect the Classic FM business model, though I have a problem with Maina and King’ang’i in the Morning. My beef with the two is on their content but I admire their approach. It made me look back to how the station started and how it has grown. 

Those who formed a music opinion in before 1990 appreciate Classic FM. To put it another way, it is a generation X station with generation Y sophistication. This is also the generation that went to the stadiums with their parents. They can remember Kenya losing to Egypt in the All African Games finals at Kasarani. Wilberforce Mulamba, Abbas Magongo, Ambrose Ayoyi and Sammy Onyango ‘jogoo’ are names that touch their heartstrings.

Classic was on air for close to two years, playing soul music without presenters. When it was officially launched as Classic FM, it was a far cry from what it is today. We had the classical Willy Mwangi reading news, Titi Nagwala was somewhere in there, I can’t get his exact place. Then there was also Granton Samboja. They played rhumba in the evenings and Maina Kageni must have come in for Drive show from Kiss FM.  

When Maina took over the morning show then Ndambuki came in, they did not hit the runway. They took time, and today their combination is so ‘iniesta-xavi’ that you can’t avoid listening to them. The exclusive rhumba and zilizopendwa time was trashed and the music spread throughout the day’s programmes.

What does this mean to football clubs? The basic concept is to identify your niche and evolve to meet its needs. If the Granton Samboja’s are not meeting the need, drop them and get Larry Asegos of this world.  If you as Gor Mahia or Sofapaka feel you want to meet the need of your fans from Kibera, do it. Re-invent yourself at every match and season to just remain fresh and classic like soul music. The introduction of ‘Player of the match’ and ‘kandanda awards’ are good and timely, but we can still do better.

Classic FM is not everybody’s cup of tea, but they have a huge following- there will always be haters. Patience, it is unfortunate how clubs hire and fire coaches and other personnel. Classic FM has evolved into what it is today over time. It is also obvious that a club must find players who combine so well like Maina-King’ang’I and Nick-Ciku type of execution. Player signing and deployment should be a product of a thought process.

Laughter is the best medicine- clubs must put the aspect of play even if football has become a business. People like Sofapaka’s Frank and Gor Mahia’s Jaro Soja have cracked the brief, football is fun. Rangers coach, Ezekiel Akhwana may come out as too verbose in a league where coaches and club administrators weigh their words, but he spices up the game. People have met their better half and even proposed in our stadia, there is more in a game of football to laugh and make fun about.

Classic FM is tailored to serve a generation which is the same generation that did not grow up on English Premier League. This does not lock out the younger generation either. It is this generation that is also able to pay for generation Y and Z to come to our stadia. 

I believe KPL can morph into the best league in Africa the recent security breech notwithstanding. In fact, it is an opportunity to now look at our game and fans in a different lens. The interest is there, the passion is evident, it is just a matter of channeling it in the right direction for the good of the game. We can talk to outsiders and learn vital lessons from them, it is a beautiful game.

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