Whereas education plays a big role in informing the thought patterns of society; media has become the leading tool for informing the thought pattern of the world at large. In Uganda, social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp play the part of the biggest role in informing how people view and perceive matters.
Before social media became popular in Uganda, the leading media platforms were television and radio. However, the popularity of social media has increased the flow of information to the point that radio stations and television stations are only used to confirm rumors.
Television and radio are no longer the main sources of information. They are only used to stamp what people are already gossiping about. With such a background, you are left thinking, what is television like in Uganda? Do they operate like other television stations around the world?
Even though we would wish to dive deeper into the above queries, we shall simply lean more towards painting a picture of what television is like in Uganda. Below are some of the kinds of programs that define television in Uganda.
For a television station to gain the respect of authenticity in Uganda, it must stand out from the crowd as the most reliable source of news in the country. There are mainly three television stations that share the news pie. That is NBS television, NTV and Bukedde TV.
There are several other television stations that have bulletins but they are only watched by a few people. NBS and NTV are ranked in their own special category since they are more of “English television stations” while Bukedde is typically a Luganda television station.
It is therefore right to deduce that NTV and NBS are the leading sources of News Television stations in Uganda given their ability to reach any part of Uganda due to their ability to have a mixture of Luganda and English.
News is most popular at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. However, Bukedde Television has a special Bulletin at 10 pm
Movies are the second leading factor of influence among Ugandan television stations. For any television station to command an audience, they have aired opera soaps, series, or movies every day.
For instance, NBS came to the scene because of its news and the 3:00 pm movies. NTV came to the scene because of the News and the 8:00 pm opera soaps. Bukedde television also came to the scene because of the translated opera soaps and news.
Many new television stations have failed to get a breakthrough via Bulletins but they have been able to get audiences through movies and opera soaps. Spark Television is one of the television stations that have an audience because of soaps. KBS television has an audience because of translated movies.
Other television stations have tried using movies to get audiences unfortunately due to inconsistencies; they have not been able to maintain their audience base after revising their movie airing timelines. It is not just about showing movies but also the time matters.
For instance, Magic1 is fond of showing new movies outside the 3:00 pm popular movie slot. For this reason, it is not as popular as KBS even though it airs new movies so often. It should also be important to note that translated movies are still more popular than non-translated movies.
For a television station to be recognized in Uganda, it must be good at either music shows or movies. All the respected television stations in Uganda such as NBS, and NTV among several others are very vibrant when it comes to music shows.
It is also important to note that these are the easiest television shows to secure sponsorships for. Brands like MTN, and Pepsi, among others, know very well that music shows help them to get extra mileage than any other television show. It is therefore very hard to get sponsorship from companies like Pepsi for no music shows unless it’s sports-related.
Music shows are common from 17hours to 19hours. There are also very common during lunchtime. They are also used as fillers every time the television station has nothing serious to air. If you are to do a total some of which programs get the highest air time in Uganda; it’s music.
With music fillers and music shows securing the highest amount of airtime, gossip shows in Uganda are also very popular given the fact that they are simply spinoffs of the music industry in most cases.
Television in Uganda had gotten a new prime-time program besides the conventional bulletins. That were gossip shows. Unfortunately at the pick of their fame; they were banned from airing during prime time as well as during the day.
According to UCC, these programs are rated 18. Therefore they cannot air during the day. They were all shifted to 22hours and beyond. With this new restriction, they were denied replay slots during the day thus reducing their popularity.
Even though these programs still air, they are no longer very popular programs.
The sports industry in Uganda has been graced with at least two television stations from the NXT media family. That is NBS-sport and Sanyuka Television. The main sport discussed during sports shows is football. You should never get surprised after tuning into a sports show only to find the panel discussing football throughout the show.
NBS and NTV are still the leading television stations in the sport of course not forgetting Bukedde and UBC. Actually, UBC is a forgotten television station until the time of major tournaments like the world cup and the Africa cup of nations.
Sports are often slotted in during the morning shows. It usually gets a full program in the afternoon and later in the night between 10 pm and midnight.
Political Talk Shows
Uganda is still a poor country and the blame has always been pinned on the government. Therefore, every single day; someone is given a slot to whine about the things the government has failed to do. It is not common for people to discuss issues without playing the blame game.
On some special days, you have those who choose to defend the government against all odds even if it means denying the reality.
NBS, NTV, and Bukedde are still the leading television stations when it comes to political talk shows in Uganda. Unfortunately; they prefer opinions in most cases to facts. People often spin facts instead of merely discussing them.
Uganda is mostly a Christian country. Most of the television stations in Uganda are either owned by churches or pastors. It is therefore very common to find a television station in Uganda mainly airing sermons and playing gospel music as fillers.
Even though most Christian television stations air news bulletins, they are known for their pastors, not the programs they air. However, besides the Christian and church-owned television stations; NBS, NTV, and other secular television stations have paid slots for sermons more so on Sundays.
It should also be noted that Muslims also have slots for their sermons but they are not as popular as the Christians.
Bukedde television, NTV, NBS, Spark T, and Salt T.V among several other television stations have interview-based documentaries where they simply visit someone to do a video interview-biography.
These programs are known but they are not as popular as the music shows, and movie slots among other slots. These are simply the kind of shows that someone stumbles on and simply chooses not to change the channel because they hosted someone they might have an interest in.
These kinds of programs are often aired around mid-morning during working days and on Sundays.
Kids and Youth Programs
The kids and Youth programs mainly focus on gadgets, music, fashion, and movies. They usually air on Saturday mid-morning.
Among the other programs you should expect on Ugandan television stations are wedding ceremony programs that are usually aired on Sundays, agricultural programs, sponsored corporate programs that are usually aired in the mid-morning, marriage/Relationship talk shows, dance programs, and fashion programs, among several other programs.
In conclusion, Ugandan television is mainly about movies, news, politics, and music. Failure to break through in any of the above four frontiers renders your television station into the “others” slot.