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Actors in radio breakthrough

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th June 2006 03:00 AM

Today, many actors and actresses are joining radio. Kato Lubwama, Abbey Mukiibi, Mulindwa Muwonge and Paddy Bitama, are some of the artistes who have spearheaded this movement.

Today, many actors and actresses are joining radio. Kato Lubwama, Abbey Mukiibi, Mulindwa Muwonge and Paddy Bitama, are some of the artistes who have spearheaded this movement.

By Jay Muwanga

Today, many actors and actresses are joining radio. Kato Lubwama, Abbey Mukiibi, Mulindwa Muwonge and Paddy Bitama, are some of the artistes who have spearheaded this movement.
However, is the move due to the search for greener pastures or the urge to try out new roles in the entertainment business?

The move is a result of the emergence of private radio stations since 1994. Before then, there was no breakthrough for theatre artistes into radio. A radio presenter had to be deejay in some nightclub and these were the likes of Alex Ndawula, Rasta Rob, R.S Elvis and Menton Summer (rip). Sanyu FM, the first private FM radio basically played foreign music.

However, when Peter Sematimba’s production company, Semat Production was given a contract to run CBS in 1996, he caused a revolution in radio.

He took on Kato Lubwama and Abbey Mukiibi, then actors in Diamond Ensemble, to the airwaves. Their presence on radio gave it a new face, and they inspired other artistes to venture into radio.
Today, artistes Abu Kawenja, Meddi Nsereko, Patriko Mujjuka and Sheila Nvannungi all of CBS 88.9, Amarula’s Amooti, and Siasa Ssenkubuge, of Radio Simba, as well as Mulindwa Muwonge, are rocking the airways. They have made a household name.

According to Mujjuka, also a member of the Afri-talent: “The reason I joined radio was to expand my career as an entertainer.”

Lubwama, a veteran actor says: “People had always conceived us actors as failures. They used to call us “Bannakatemba” and “Abayaaye”. But when we started working on radio, they started respecting us and valuing our work.”

“We have money and publicity. It is not like without radio we cannot survive. If I am working on radio today, it is because I am enjoying it and also doing a service to my Kabaka,” says an artiste who preferred anonymity.

However, some actors like Billy Katumba, a.k.a ‘Kasonde’ and ‘Kayibanda’, have become popular after going on radio. Their humourous stories have earned them a big fan base. On many functions where they have been invited to perform, their payment is estimated at sh1.5m, per show.

Stella Nakiwala of Bwaise thinks artistes like Kasonde and Kayibanda should be grateful to the radio station that discovered them. “When they are on radio, we are eager to meet them in person and that is why we have to pay for every concert at which they are to perform,” she said.

Whether it is money, fame or gaining more skills in this enterprise, these artistes owe much to the radio stations.

Actors in radio breakthrough

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