Evaluation Of PR Management At Kameme Fm Radio Station
Public Relations (PR) has emerged as a critical aspect of management in many an organization. According to Frank Jefkins, all organizations whether commercial or noncommercial, public or private require PR, which greatly contributes to their success (Jefkins 1980). Therefore PR should be taken seriously and practiced within a carefully planned, executed and measured PR strategy (Black 1972). The definition of PR is somewhat nebulous with various definitions In search of a universal definition, in 1975, PR leaders participated in a study, which analyzed 472 definitions and offered the following definition: PR is a distinctive management function that helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communications, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues, helps management to stay informed in and responsible to public opinion, defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as early warning system to help anticipate trends and uses research and sound and ethical communication techniques as its principal tools (Seitel 1987). The following characteristics are key in the definition of PR • PR is planned and organized. • It is a tangible activity with specific objectives that are measurable • PR is a management function. • PR helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other 8 • PR is based on truth and honesty as well as declaration of full information • PR should be evaluated from time to time • PR requires resources • PR requires constant research. In the media industry today, nothing stands still for long. The credibility of media organizations is constantly being challenged and as a result PR is becoming more and more useful as well as sophisticated. PR today is not mere product publicity, lavish trips or gifts to the media It conceives themes and programs, advises management on thorny issues, deals constructively with a wide variety of oft-conflicting publics, writes capably and imaginatively, surveys attitudes, promotes good community, employer relations, plans for mergers, creates radio and television programs , meets with analysts, brokers and managers collaborates in marketing and advertising campaigns and so on and on (Seitel 1987). Many media organizations the world over have begun to recognize PR as an important management function. This recognition has led such organizations to set up PR departments or employ the services of PR consultancy firms. PR then adds value to the organization as it enables the organization to balance the self-interest of the organization with the interests of the people who are affected by its decisions or its publics at large (Grunig 2001). Mrs Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed, the chairperson, Public Relations Society of Kenya acknowledges that more organizations are using public relations as a tool for successful management In recent years, even academic qualifications in PR have also gained impetus. 9 This recognition has not only led to emergence of PR professionals but also the development of a comprehensive theory that puts PR at par with recognized professions such as law or medicine Research indicates that there is a relationship between PR and increased sales, organizational credibility, customer relations, penetrating new markets as well as attracting investors. (Susan MaGee: How to establish a PR campaign 2000). In the United States, it has been proved beyond doubt that good PR pays in business. If planned strategically and executed well, PR can add value to the company by helping it better employ people, provide a return to share holders and deliver product/service value to the customers (Black 1972:p5). Radio organizations in Kenya and world over are not only business ventures out to make profits but also have a social responsibility of informing, educating and entertaining their publics. PR has a direct role in the success of radio organizations Since liberalization of the media industry in the late 1990s, Kenya enjoys a vibrant and very competitive media industry with over ten radio stations Among these radio stations is KAMEME FM, a community radio station which targets Kikuyu-speaking communities aged twenty-five and above. The station was launched in Nairobi and the greater Nairobi region in 2000 and this year it started broadcasting to Nyeri and its environs. According to research done by Steadman Research Services Limited, KAMEME FM elicited a lot of excitement and became one of the most listened to FM station in Nairobi when it was launched in the year 2000 and consequently attracted many advertisers. With time both its listenership and the advertisers share started going down as competition in 10 the radio industry stiffened.
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