On July 4th, Capital Radio celebrated its one year anniversary as an international variety music station that covers the whole of the western area, and just reaches Bo and Kenema.
The Managing Director, Colin Mason of Capital radio which is often called ‘drivers’ friend’ for it’s most listened feature ‘Traffic Jam Busters’ explained that when initial discussions took place about the inception of the station, which is on broadcast frequency 104.9 FM, they identified a niche in the market to expand the choice of music listening in Freetown.
“We wanted to play West African music, but other stations were already doing it better than we could,” Mason said. “Playing international music would widen the choice and it seems to have worked.”
Although he admitted it was difficult to identify how Capital Radio stands up to other stations in capturing listeners, Mason pointed to the stations steadily increasing advertisement revenue as a barometer indicating their success.
June was the station’s best month in terms of advertising revenue.
“We don’t believe in boring people to death,” he said when explaining the programming format. The station tries to avoid excessive talking while harboring features like weather, travel and sports within its programs.
Capital Radio’s genesis began with Adonis Aboud who contacted Mason and Dave Stanley, a transmitter engineer who built transmitters in Sierra Leone in the 90s.
Stanley and Mason agreed to collaborate with Aboud provided he could obtain a broadcast operating license.
He explained that Capital Radio’s transmitter, which is at the top of Leicester Peak, in the same transmitting room with Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service, British Broadcasting Cooperation and Radio France International.
The coverage area is very good, it covers the whole of the western area – Freetown and the signal gets to Bo and Kenema as well.
We also have reliable reports that they’ve started receiving our signals in Conakry, he said.
When asked whether or not Capital Radio will expand to streaming internet broadcasts that could be broadcast internationally, namely to Sierra Leoneans living abroad, Mason stated that his station was currently not exploring such avenues due to growing copyright restrictions which are handing down heavy fines to stations in USA for that very thing.
However, he said the station is seeking to increase its broadcast hours, which currently run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Next year he said they would like to increase live coverage up to midnight.