Airtel’s radio countdown show to enhance brand, product awareness in 17 African countries


Wyre - The Kenyan artiste will be among those featured on Airtel's Music Express countdown radio show.
Wyre – The Kenyan artiste will be among those featured on Airtel’s Music Express countdown radio show.

Airtel has announce a partnership with US-based Radio Express, an international branded audio company, to launch two newly created shows on local radio stations across 17 African countries – including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The weekly countdown shows, airtel Music Express (in English) and airtel Musique Express (in French) are produced by Radio Express and feature the hottest Hip-Hop, R&B, and pop artists on the African airwaves, connecting people to performers from Africa and beyond. Both shows feature global hits, as well as local hits in each country. The charts are based on airplay reports from dominant mainstream music radio stations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

airtel Music Express is an English language program hosted by African superstar IK (“I.K.”), and features music from artists including Wyre (Kenya), Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), Magic System (Côte d’Ivoire), Bebe Cool (Uganda), and Lady Jaydee (Tanzania). airtel Music Express airs weekly in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Seychelles, on six stations in Ghana and on 13 stations across Nigeria, including Lagos, Abuja, Pt. Harcourt, Jos, Benin, Awka, Nsukka, Ibadan, Kaduna, Kano, Oraifite and Effurun.

The second radio show, airtel Musique Express is a French language program hosted by African personality, Jed, and features music from French-speaking artists like Alain Ramanisum (Mauritius), Constance (Senegal), DJ Arafat (Côte d’Ivoire) and Fally Ipupa (Dem. Rep. of Congo). airtel Musique Express airs weekly in Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Niger, Chad, Rep. of Congo, Dem. Rep. of Congo and in Gabon.

Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer at airtel Africa, said: “Our objective is to raise brand and product awareness for airtel among consumers in Africa. Radio is the world’s most accessible and personally engaging mass medium, and it was a natural choice to work with Radio Express and these popular radio stations to bring airtel Music Express and airtel Musique Express to music lovers across these 17 countries. We think listeners will love the mix of world music and local music hits in the shows’ engaging countdown format.”

He added: “airtel Music Express helps communicate our commitment to supporting up and coming performers and their music.”

Tom Rounds, Radio Express’ CEO, said: “It is a thrill to announce the launch of these two new radio shows across 35 stations in 17 countries in Africa. It has been a tremendous honor and pleasure to build this show and network with airtel and with our friends at these great radio stations. We couldn’t be more excited about the show and our partnership with airtel and our station affiliates.”

With a presence across 17 African countries, airtel is the largest telecom service provider across the Continent in terms of geographical reach and had over 66 million customers at the end of quarter ended September 30, 2013. Globally, airtel is ranked as the 4th largest mobile operators in terms of subscribers.

Tom Rounds is an American radio innovator who founded the largest American Syndicator, Watermark, in the late 60s. In 1970, with Casey Kasem, he headed the team that launched and marketed the iconic and ubiquitous original hit countdown show, American Top 40. After Watermark was acquired by ABC in 1982, Rounds started Radio Express with ABC as its first supplier. By the late 1990s, Radio Express was producing most of its own product.

This won’t be first time Airtel is settling on music to drive its brand and product awareness message across Africa. In 2011, Airtel organised the One8 campaign which involved some big names in music both locally and internationally. The campaign was successful and later voted as one of the top 2 most creative and innovative marketing campaigns worldwide at MIDEM.