SemaBOX’s WAZO Launch: A New Era for African Podcasting Begins

SemaBOX, Africa’s largest podcast incubator, made waves this week as they officially launched WAZO, an innovative podcast distribution platform. The Baraza Media Lab offices were transformed into a glamorous setting for this star-studded affair. As guests arrived, they were greeted with the warmth of the hosts, SemaBOX, who served mouthwatering mishikaki snacks and complimentary glasses of selected wine.

To ensure an immersive experience, headsets were provided for the guests to follow the proceedings instead of the typical blaring speaker systems. The charismatic main host of the evening was none other than Ben Cyco, a gospel artist who has transitioned into the world of podcasting. With a twinkle in his eye, Ben praised the decision, playfully joking that the days of public address systems blasting in people’s faces during events like crusades were finally over.

Panel Discussions

The guest list boasted an array of stars, including comedian Eddie Butita, as well as renowned media personalities Mark Masai, Adele Onyango, and Willis Raburu. These celebrated figures, who had left legacy media to focus on podcasting, were the center of attention. Mark Masai, formerly of Nation Media Group, took the stage to host separate panel discussions featuring Willis Raburu, formerly of Royal Media Services, and Adele Onyango, formerly of Radio Africa (Kiss FM). These three journalists shared their personal journeys of venturing into the world of podcasting, each with their unique reasons. However, they all agreed that podcasting offered advantages such as flexibility, creative control, less censorship, and ownership of brand and capital.

In addition to the media legends, the panels showcased various up-and-coming podcasters who had found a home at SemaBOX. These talented individuals shared their experiences of starting out and how SemaBOX had fast-tracked their growth. The incubator provided them with the guidance and support needed to thrive in the competitive podcasting landscape.

Introducing WAZO: Africa’s Groundbreaking Podcast Platform

Created by SemaBOX specifically for Kenyan and African podcasters, WAZO is a groundbreaking online podcast distribution platform. The platform allows podcasters to earn directly from plays and advertising revenue. WAZO, which means “Thought” in Kiswahili, offers a brand-new revenue stream for creators while providing advertisers access to an aggregated audience of over 39 million listeners across the SemaBOX creator network.

What sets WAZO apart is its focus on Kenyan content and creators. While major Western platforms currently lack monetization options for Kenyan creators, WAZO changes the game. Advertisers now have a one-stop shop to reach the Kenyan podcast audience effectively. Furthermore, WAZO aggregates data about Kenyan podcasts and podcasters, empowering creators to grow their products and make informed investment decisions for advertisers.

SemaBOX, Africa’s leading podcast incubator, has been instrumental in the development of WAZO. With a range of tools and platforms, SemaBOX empowers African creators to monetize their content effectively. The company’s vision is to build a sustainable and thriving digital content ecosystem in Africa. Through their efforts, emerging podcasters can now create and distribute their stories to a global audience.

Dan Aceda’s Presentation

At the launch event, SemaBOX’s founder and CEO, Dan Aceda, expressed his excitement about WAZO and the journey leading up to its launch. He acknowledged the challenges, including raising revenue to pay developers, but humorously remarked that Africa No Filter had been a crucial supporter, even aiding in the finances that paid the developer once and for all. A recurring theme throughout the evening was monetization, with Dan Aceda emphasizing the need for creators to benefit financially from their world-class content, picking up the tempo from other speakers earlier in the evening:

” We also hope that by introducing monetization right from the start, the rest of the podcast industry will follow. These wonderful creators are making world-class content, and it’s about time they started to benefit from this.”

During his presentation, Dan Aceda invited a representative from the newly formed digital economy and startup office at the Nairobi City County Government. The representative shared a message of goodwill from the governor, announcing a partnership between the local government and SemaBOX. This collaboration aims to establish digital media incubation spaces in all 85 council wards of Nairobi, empowering young people to monetize their creative skills. As the representative concluded their speech, the crowd erupted with anticipation. With an enthusiastic countdown from five, WAZO was officially launched, marking a new chapter in African podcasting. The platform immediately became available globally on the web, followed shortly after by the release of iOS and Android apps.