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Pineapple TV: Delivering Positive Impact And Instilling African Culture – Carl Raccah

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Carl Raccah is the Managing Director of Pineapple TV and has been firmly embedded in various disciplines in the Nigerian Entertainment Industry since 1996. He is a Creative Industry Professional with vast experience both internationally and locally. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, He talked about the inspiration behind Pineapple TV and his journey into the entertainment, media and production industry in Nigeria and Africa. Excerpts.

Alaba: Could you briefly tell us about yourself and journey into media and production in Africa?

Carl: I have been involved in the creative industries since I left school, though initially as a singer, songwriter, and performer. In the mid 80’s I worked with the two-time Grammy Award winner, the late Nigel Gray, at his legendary Surrey Sound Studios. Older readers may remember his work with The Police, Godley & Crème, Paul Brady, and a host of others. The engineer for my projects, who is still a good friend of mine, was Jim Ebdon; he’s now the live sound engineer for the artist Sam Smith.

In the 90’s, I had the amazing privilege of working with the musical genius and Grammy Award winner David Hentschel who produced, engineered and arranged works for Genesis, The Yellow Jackets, Elton John, Missy Elliot, L.L. Cool J, and the list goes on. I was born in Kano, Nigeria but went to school and lived in England until I came back to Nigeria in 1995. One of the first gentlemen I met was Mr. Jimi Awosika who was then the Creative Director at Insight Communication. He, very kindly, based on my music background, started giving me jobs for some of their clients. I worked on the music for the Pepsi Big Blue Campaign, I composed jingles for UBA featuring Daddy Fresh and I created the theme music for the original series of The Ultimate Search. I was also the Music Director for The X-Factor here in Nigeria.

This, and the revelation that Nigeria had a largely untapped popular music scene, made me interested in staying in the country and working alongside some of those artists. I mention this only to highlight that I was firmly embedded in music; I didn’t think I would ever be involved in producing television content let alone co-own a TV Channel. I always mention that the inspiration for the TV Channel came about when I noticed my son watching, learning and absorbing information from the shows on CBBC and Disney Junior. This made me wonder if there was content available that would resonate more with the African Child, content that they could identify with. This was ten or so years ago, and I was amazed that there had been nothing since the NTA show, ‘Tales by Moonlight.’ I understood then that there was a space, so that’s how the idea for Pineapple TV came about.

Alaba: Kindly tell us about Pineapple TV, the inspiration and who is your target market?

Carl: Pineapple TV started with a focus on a target market of children from the ages of 4 to 16. After about 3 months of broadcast however, we started getting feedback from parents and grandparents saying that they were enjoying the channel and were watching alongside the children. Then we noticed teenagers outside of our target responding also; those of the 17 to 20 something age group. We have now shifted our content production and acquisition to include shows for the family while ensuring that Pineapple TV continues to be a safe viewing space.

Alaba: How is your brand unique and what kind of content are you creating to entertain African families in the continent and in Diaspora?

Carl: I believe we are the only channel on the African Continent broadcasting Africa for Africa family content. By that I mean, 95% of our shows must be produced or licenced on the African Continent fulfilling our mandate of invigorating this sector of the Creative Industry while providing quality content that resonates with our audience, which is the African Family. The remaining 5% allows us to partner with content producers elsewhere on projects that will impact our audience. At this time, most of the shows we have produced are made in Nigeria, and I don’t see this changing. I have seen that in Nigeria we have the producers, directors, and crew who, given the opportunity, can deliver content to an international broadcast standard. They are dedicated, professional and passionate.

Carl Raccah and His Team (Imagecredit:PineappleTV)

We are currently developing a Pineapple TV Mobile App. When this is available our content will be available to families in Diaspora and the rest of the continent. We are in discussion with various broadcast platforms who have indicated an interest in licencing the channel to other parts of the world. I’m pleased to say the importance of the Pineapple TV initiative and concept is beginning to be understood.

Alaba: Can you share your major challenge and how are you navigating through this dire time?

Carl: As a new channel, there are a few challenges that we had to overcome. The most difficult is convincing a broadcast platform to understand what your channel offering is. I was very lucky in that I was given an opportunity to present the Pineapple TV concept to The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who understood fully what I was trying to achieve and actually said and I quote, “Carl… You are preaching to the converted.” He kindly asked Mr. Segun Adeyemi to oversee the progress of the project. Mr. Adeyemi in turn introduced me to the COO of Startimes. Mr. Tunde Aina and that is how we are now on Startimes Channel 129. These three gentlemen have played a significant part in our progress and I am grateful to them.

Alaba: What is your leadership style and philosophy?

Carl: That’s an interesting question but perhaps better answered by those in the Pineapple TV team. I do think that in a creative space however, one should have defined parameters, so procedures, reporting and work flows are adhered to, but at the same time ensuring the office space is friendly so that creativity can flow. I like to encourage the whole team to suggest creative ideas no matter how out-of-the-box they may seem and no matter what position you hold in the business; I have an open door policy and I ask the executives and heads of departments to offer the same; we’ve had some exciting content concepts come to fruition in this way.

Alaba: Which is more important, data or content to the future of marketing?

Carl: In my opinion it’s always going to be content. Consumer’s won’t spend their hard-earned money on data if the content isn’t appealing… I am of the mindset that, as consumers are able to access content via ever more varied and available platforms, that what they want to access becomes even more important. So, whether its an advert, a series, a film or a song, it better be fantastic! As the saying goes, ‘Content Is King’ and I believe this is hugely relevant now.

Alaba: How do you see the convergence of digital and TV play out?

Carl: In Africa, for the foreseeable future, I think both will share the same arena. Data is still quite expensive, and coverage is not available everywhere, or all the time. I am looking forward to when the country flips fully to DTT. That will give a great option for consumers and producers alike.

Alaba: How does your organization measure its impact and what is the future for Pineapple TV?

Carl: Pineapple TV is here to stay. We will continue to invest in our area of the Creative Industry to ensure Nigerian talent across the whole process of our production needs is supported and invigorated. By that I mean the various women and men who are actors, producers, scriptwriters, film crew and content producers.

Carl Raccah and His Team (Image credit: Pineapple TV)

We will also broaden our content appeal to ensure that Pineapple TV is the channel that African Families tune in to for safe viewing, educational, inspiring and entertaining programming. We measure our impact by the positive feedback from our partners.

Alaba: What would be your advice to aspiring media entrepreneurs and investors in Nigeria and rest of the region?

Carl: Pineapple TV took me over 10 years to get going from concept to first broadcast. I experienced many hurdles on the way. So, the most important advice I would give to aspiring media entrepreneurs is to understand from the onset that it will not be easy, you must be ready to persevere. It helps if you are passionate about what you are trying to achieve, because if you’re not, it may be difficult to endure, figuratively speaking, the bumps and bruises you will undoubtedly receive on the way to fulfilling your ambition.

Also, it’s important to note that the creative sector is a business just like any other, and that it’s vital that whatever your discipline within the industry is, it is approached with the same tenacity as other entrepreneurs apply to other sectors. As far as investors are concerned, because the Nigerian Creative Sector is exciting and vibrant at every level, it has many years of potential growth ahead of it. Whether investing in studios, concert venues, equipment rental, movies, make up outfits, fashion design, book publishing and all the other areas that make up the creative industries, there is room for dedicated professional well managed entities in every area.

Alaba: How do you relax and what is your favourite tourist destination in Africa?

Carl: At the moment, I don’t have too much time to relax, but that’s fine by me. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to see 10 years of hard work trying to get this project off the ground actually moving now. Of course there are challenges, but every challenge resolved is a step forward. That’s a more relaxing place to be than wondering if the concept might ever get off the ground. For me and my co-directors, Heitham, Ali and Hadi Safieddine and for our Chairman, Mr. Francis Ogboro, The Pineapple TV project has become vocational.

We all fully understand the impact that our programming is having in inspiring culture and pride in all that is Nigerian and indeed African. We are happy to be playing a small but important part of Nation Building. As for my favourite tourist destination in Africa, that has to be Kano. I was born there, so whenever I go back, I’m filled with nostalgia and many amazing memories. When I visit Kano I feel I’m home.

Also Read Zahara Chetty: Equipping The Next Generation With 21st Century FutureSkills

P R O F I L E

Carl Raccah has been firmly embedded in various disciplines in the Nigerian Entertainment Industry since 1996. He is a Creative Industry Professional with vast experience both internationally and locally. As a musician he composed the jingles for many successful advertising campaigns and the theme tunes for The Gulder Ultimate Search Reality Show and ‘Diamond In The Sky’ for Diamond Bank.

As a producer he recorded successful albums for Yinka Davies, Ashionye, Daddy Fresh, Fadabasi and others. As a Production/Technical Manager, Carl has worked on some of the most ground-breaking live events in Nigeria such as Yello Fest, Star Trek, Star Mega Jam, The Tetmosol Girl Power Concert Tour and others. In conjunction with Sonic Spaza South Africa, he negotiated (licenced) the selected works of Ruggedman and Styl-Plus for use on the Nokia Express Music Phone and negotiated the works of various Nigerian artists, ‘The Nigerian Selection’ for use by Virgin Atlantic Airways as part of their in-flight entertainment bouquet. Carl Raccah is the Managing Director of Pineapple TV.

Visit: Pineapple TV

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CEO Corner

African Bank Appoints Kennedy Bungane, CEO

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African Bank New CEO, Kennedy Bungane (Press Release & Image: African Bank)

African Bank (“Board”) announces the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Bungane as the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as an executive director of the Bank and its holding company, African Bank Holdings Limited (“ABH”) effective 14 April 2021. The Bank confirms that the appointment of Kennedy was done in accordance with African Bank’s policy on the selection and nomination of executive directors, and in order to fill a vacancy as well as add to the skillset on the Board.

Kennedy brings over 20 years of banking experience with him, having started his career at Standard Bank in 1991, holding a number of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, CEO Corporate and Investment Banking for Standard Bank South Africa, and a member of the Standard Bank Group Executive Committee. After joining Barclays Africa in 2012 as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Limited and Head of Absa Group strategy, Kennedy led the sale of Barclays Africa Limited to the ABSA Group. More recently, Kennedy headed up the Phembani Group as its CEO. He also brings investment and strategic experience gained as the founder and chairman of Nokeng Telecoms and chairman of Idwala Capital.

Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School (USA).

Commenting on Kennedy’s appointment, the Chairman of the Board, Thabo Dloti, stated, “We welcome the appointment of Kennedy as the new permanent CEO. Kennedy has a keen sense for managing complex stakeholder issues. He has a proven track record in identifying and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results. His passion for the role that banking can play in transforming society resonated strongly with the Board.

As an experienced banker, he also critically has a good grasp of the strategic challenges facing the Bank, within a muted South African economy and competitive landscape, as well as the required regulatory and governance framework.

 

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African Visionary Fund (AVFund) Appoints New co-CEO, Atti Worku

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African Visionary Fund (AVFund) New co-CEO, Atti Worku (Source: African Visionary Fund Website)

About a year ago, African Visionary Fund launched with a bold mission to tackle the inequities and power imbalances in global philanthropy by driving unrestricted resources to African visionaries. At the heart of all they do their values of equity and solidarity, which compel them to center African voices at every level of the organization. They are thrilled to announce the Fund’s new Africa-based co-CEO, Atti Worku!

Atti brings a wealth of experience in the nonprofit world, is a strong advocate for local founders, and is dedicated to righting the historic funding inequity that can hold them back. Prior to joining the Fund, Atti founded and led Seeds of Africa for over 10 years. Seeds is an Ethiopian grassroots organization dedicated to developing the educational foundation for the next generation of African leaders. Under her leadership, Seeds grew from an after-school program serving 15 kids to becoming a full-time multi-dimensional school educating 250 students from pre-K to middle school, and working with over 150 of their mothers providing small business entrepreneurship micro-loans and resources. In just over a decade Seeds has impacted the lives of over 2,000 people, transforming the trajectories of students, teachers, mothers, and their families and creating a future brimming with possibilities beyond a poverty trap.

“My mission is to advocate for African visionaries to be recognized by funders as experts, equal partners and critical drivers of systems change. I’m excited to learn from incredible African leaders with big dreams and even bigger global potential.” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO

Why Co-leadership

The African Visionary Fund is built on the firm belief that proximity matters. Seeded by a group of foundations and philanthropists who wanted to not only take action on equity but also be intentional about shifting the power over resources to African visionaries, shared leadership has been part of the Fund’s DNA from the beginning.

“Co-leadership is mission critical. We cannot build new models for equity-centered philanthropy without living those values within our own institution.” -Katie Bunten-Wamaru, AVFund co-CEO

The AVFund’s organizational journey started with collective and shared leadership in mind as our Founding Working Group worked with our leadership to inform and design all aspects of our organization and funding model. This majority-African, majority-doer group considered a number of different leadership structures for the Fund but gravitated towards co-leadership because it prioritizes proximity and equity, centers the experience of African visionaries, and ultimately helps us shift power.

Our Founding Working Group proved that we can co-create new models of philanthropy centered on collective leadership that shift power and center equity – our co-leadership model is the natural, values-aligned extension of that founding idea.

The Fund

Atti’s lived experience as an African founder has given her firsthand experience of the realities and complexities that local innovators face, making her a great partner in executing the Fund’s mission.

“This role is very personal to me. I see myself in the ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs we engage with at the AVFund. I hope to learn from them, and partner with them to redesign funding systems that give African visionaries an equitable chance of success.” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO

The barriers for African visionaries have been well documented with data showing that less than 5.2% of US foundation giving specific to Africa goes to African-led organizations. And in Atti’s experience, sometimes philanthropy’s oversight of African founders translates into a heavy emotional toll, an internal struggle she also had to deal with in her experience fundraising for her organization. She is committed to helping other African visionaries by being “the voice that reassures and validates them in the face of injustices.”

“Raising philanthropic dollars can be a long trauma for African social entrepreneurs and other leaders of color. On one hand, you’re doing innovative, high-impact work, but on the other, you are constantly being asked to prove yourself on a level far beyond your peers, doing so, and somehow still falling short. Aggregate data on racial inequity in philanthropy already speaks volumes, but systemic injustice is deeply personal. It took me years to realize that I wasn’t the problem,” Atti shared.

On Co-leadership

At the core, the AVFund seeks to create a bridge between global philanthropy and innovative African social changemakers and to do that, it’s critical to have proximity to both our visionary partners and our funding partners. Shared leadership makes this possible.

“There is an inherent tension in the work of the AVFund – we call it the ‘play the game, change the game’ balance. We want to support African social changemakers to play the game to access more sustainable funding now, while also challenging the status quo in ways that build a more equitable philanthropic ecosystem in the long run,” Katie explained. “There will always be a need to balance this tension – having a co-leadership model helps us balance both sides of our work and not lose sight of either goal.”

Having been on both sides of the table, Atti believes a further added benefit of co-leadership lies in the fact that representation matters. “I have been a micro-funder through Seeds and have seen the value of someone like you believing in your vision and empowering it,” she shared.

“At AVFund, we celebrate and choose co-leadership because we recognize the importance of diversity for strong, grounded and authentic leadership.” -Melizsa Mugyenyi, Advisory Board Member.

The Future

Atti joins the Fund at a crucial season of our organizational journey as we look to deepen our impact across the continent – we are more than a third of the way towards reaching our goal to raise US$10 million which will enable us to provide 35 nonprofits across Africa with unrestricted, multiyear grants by 2023.

In the near-term, the Fund is also on track to commit atleast another $US1 million later this year and partner with more African social innovators. Atti is particularly excited to work with those at the forefront of leading-edge innovations whose potential for impact is inhibited by lack of resources and buy-in from funders.

“African visionaries aren’t often given the resources they need to validate the new concepts they have which really makes innovation very difficult. A lack of unrestricted funding for the disruptive ideas coming out of Africa limits potential and slows development. I’m ready to help change that in every way we can!” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO

Source AVFund

 

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Rolake Rosiji, ex-Country Manager M-KOPA Solar Appointed As The New CEO Of Jobberman Nigeria

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Rolake Rosiji, CEO at Jobberman (Source: ROAM)

Jobberman, the single largest job placement platform in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced the appointment of Rolake Rosiji as the new CEO. Rolake takes over from Hilda Kragha, now Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs, and will continue the work of establishing Jobberman as the primary platform for job searching, talent acquisition and transforming workplace productivity across Nigeria.

Jobberman’s technology-driven platform, which uses tools such as application tracking, data science for skills and personality assessment, connects over 1 million job seekers to employers. With over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, the company has built a reputation of trust and strong partnerships with the country’s most coveted employers; matching talented candidates with jobs according to their skillset.

Rolake joins Jobberman with a decade of global experience in strategic leadership and operational excellence. Most recently, she led the technology and sales operations for credit financed smartphones and solar power sets as Country Manager of M-KOPA Nigeria; a connected asset financing company that makes financing for everyday essentials accessible to everyone. Prior to that, she was Head of Strategy & Business Development for Arla Foods Africa, where she developed distribution and joint venture partnerships across West Africa to rapidly scale up sales and worked in Corporate Strategy roles in Denmark and the USA. Her proven track record of business expansion projects, digital and technical transformation and executing strategic partnerships will be key to her implementation for growth and development of the brand.

Commenting on her new role as CEO, Rolake Rosiji said “This is a very exciting chapter in my career and I am delighted to be joining such a passionate and innovative team. Jobberman has built a brand of excellence by using technology to revolutionise the recruitment sector. I look forward to steering the company vision to build a market of greater technology adoption, democratic access and transparency that will tackle dominant challenges, notably youth unemployment and underemployment.  It is a privilege for me to be at the helm of this dynamic team as we set out to empower job seekers with key skills and improve workplace productivity for employers in Nigeria.”

Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs added “I am delighted that Rolake has taken on this position. Rolake’s expertise, understanding of different markets and high performance is what makes her the perfect person to anchor the next phase for Jobberman. I look forward to working with her to take Jobberman to even greater heights.”

Rolake took on her role as CEO on February 1st 2021. Her focus will be to broaden the impact beyond the white-collar space and continue to work closely with Jobberman’s impact partners in tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria.

ROAM

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