In part one of Spinning, we covered Barry Gordy, CBS Records and Simeon Ndesandjo.
In part 2 we will look at other connections here and to the ever faithful musical tune. The magical song, the background to our lives and memories.
WVON (1690 AM) is a radio station licensed to Berwyn, Illinois, serving the greater Chicago area, airing an African-American-oriented talk format. WVON is managed by Midway Broadcasting Corporation, via a local marketing agreement with frequency owner Clear Channel Communications. Civil rights leaders the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Jackson’s daughter, Santita, host talk shows on the station.
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is an American mass media company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1972 by Lowry Mays and B. J. “Red” McCombs, the company was taken private by Bain Capital, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners in a leveraged buyout in 2008; as a result, the company now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of CC Media Holdings, Inc.
Clear Channel specializes in radio broadcasting through subsidiary Clear Channel Broadcasting, Inc. and division Clear Channel Media and Entertainment (formerly Clear Channel Radio); and billboard advertising through subsidiary Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.. Clear Channel is the largest owner of full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations and twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and is also the largest pure-play radio station owner and operator. The group was in the television business until it sold all of its TV stations to Newport Television in 2008.
The term “clear channel” comes from AM broadcasting, referring to a channel (frequency) on which only one station transmits. In U.S. and Canadian broadcasting history, “clear channel” (or class I-A) stations had exclusive rights to their frequencies throughout most of the continent at night, when AM stations travel very far due to skywave. WOAI in San Antonio, Clear Channel’s flagship station, was such a station.
Simeon Ndsandjo was partners with Peter Colmore at High Fidelity Company:
Nairobi — A personal memoir of East Africa’s first and most succesful impresario by his longtime friend and business associate, the equally illustrious ALLY SYKES of Tanzania
In 1958 I formed my first company, Sykes Sales Promotion Consultancy, and an old friend, Peter Colmore, who had by then built up a very successful sales promotion business in Nairobi, appointed me his agent in Tanganyika.
I cannot remember the first time I met Ally Sykes, but I knew him when I was very young. Ally Sykes was one of a kind.
Many do not know of the key role that this iconic figure played in Tanganyika’s drive for Independence, but he shared a lot with me when I was writing a book about his elder brother.
It was Ally and his brother Abdulwahid who took in Julius Nyerere when he first came to Dar es Salaam in 1952, and proposed him to stand for Tanganyika African Association presidency in 1953, which was then held by Abdulwahid himself. Nyerere won that election and the Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu) was formed in 1954.
Ally and Abdulwahid, along with John Rupia, Dossa Aziz and Nyerere formed the inner circle of the nascent nationalist movement, and they were the vanguard in the Independence struggle.
The two Sykes brothers were natural insiders in the political awakening in Tanganyika since their father, Kleist Sykes, was the founding secretary of the African Association in 1929.
When Tanu was founded in July 1954, Ally Sykes, from his own pocket, printed the first 1,000 Tanu cards. He issued Tanu card no. 1 to “Territorial president” Julius Nyerere and card no. 2 to himself, card no. 3 to his elder brother Abdulwahid Sykes, card no. 4 to Dossa Aziz, card no. 5 to Dennis Phombeah, a Nyasa from Nyasaland, card no. 6 to Dome Okochi Budohi, one of the Kenyan nationalists in Tanu, and card no. 7 to John Rupia.
He printed a further 2,000 cards from money borrowed from Tanganyika African Government Servant Association, of which he was secretary.
In the early 1960s, we were living on Lindi Street (which before Independence was known as Kirk Street) near International Hotel in Dar es Salaam. The hotel still exists today, although the house we used to live in was torn down and replaced by a high rise building.
Ally had his office just across our house. He and my father had been friends since childhood; they had gone to school together in Dar es Salaam. I later learned that this office was owned by Peter Colmore, the managing director of High Fidelity Productions, a publicity and advertising agency based in Nairobi, and Ally was his representative in Dar es Salaam.
Ally was a civil servant in the Labour Department but after office hours, he would work at the agency.
Humplick was a popular figure even with children, particularly because of his song Kwenye kabati kuna nyoka (There is a snake in the cupboard) which was very popular for its satire depicting
the musician as a schoolteacher teaching English to students who found it difficult to grasp the real meaning of English vocabulary. After several sessions, he started narrating to me his life after being discharged from the King’s African Rifles at the end of World War Two in 1945. Sykes said that, in his opinion, the most appropriate person for me to talk to about that period was his friend and business partner of many years, Peter Colmore. SYKES THEN CALLED COLMORE in Nairobi and it was arranged that I travel to Nairobi to talk to him. I interviewed Colmore at his Muthaiga residence and had the chance to see his photo archive comprising photos of musicians whose songs he had produced.
MAILING LIST ARCHIVE: [DEHAI] (Independent – UK) Multitalented entrepreneur in
the new Kenya
“Colmore was involved in the training of Ethiopian refugees as “irregulars” to serve with Commonwealth armies which advanced into Italian East Africa from the Northern Frontier District of Kenya and from the Sudan. The latter were halted by the stubborn defence of Keren in Eritrea but the advance from Kenya through Somalia to Addis Ababa, led by General Sir William Platt, was to prove the fastest advance in military history. Colmore was Platt’s ADC.”
Peter Colmore Multitalented entrepreneur in the new Kenya 05 February 2004
Peter Dashwood Murray Colmore, soldier, flying-boat traffic officer, businessman, broadcaster, musician, producer and impresario: born London 22 November 1919; died Nairobi 24 January 2004.
In Kenya, in the aftermath of the Second World War, such was the fame and popularity of a young Englishman, as a bandleader, broadcaster and producer, that several parents named their children “Peter Colmore” after him. His life story is at one with that of the development of vernacular musical entertainment throughout the Swahili-speaking world and beyond, and indeed with the cultural life of modern Kenya.
Peter Colmore hailed from a military background. He was the only son of Harry Colmore, a captain in the 7th Hussars, and Nina Gostling-Murray, a colonel’s daughter. But, ever something of a rebel, after schooling at Sherborne their talented boy opted to study aero-engineering at Hamble in Hampshire before joining Imperial Airways. In 1938 he sailed to East Africa. Recent television films recalling the colourful era of the Empire Flying-Boat Service reveal him as a young man guiding the docking of those gracious planes on the rippling waters of Lake Victoria at Kisumu.
The Ethiopian empire which foreigners then called Abyssinia had been overrun by Mussolini’s troops in 1935-36, but, once the Italians declared war in June 1940, indigenous Patriot guerrillas there were supported by infiltrated British officers – including such legendary figures as Dan Sandford, Wilfred Thesiger, Orde Wingate, Bimbashi Bagge and many others.
Colmore was involved in the training of Ethiopian refugees as “irregulars” to serve with Commonwealth armies which advanced into Italian East Africa from the Northern Frontier District of Kenya and from the Sudan. The latter were halted by the stubborn defence of Keren in Eritrea but the advance from Kenya through Somalia to Addis Ababa, led by General Sir William Platt, was to prove the fastest advance in military history. Colmore was Platt’s ADC.
*Updated 10/10/2013 h/t Alf:
Kenya Breweries, East African Industries, and Bata Shoe Company were the industrial giants that fought for the hearts and minds of consumers. A variety of goods hit the Kenyan market in the ’60s and ’70s as the economy boomed and consumption rose.
How their makers won over the buying class. Some of these products have stood the test of time and continue to thrive, yet others fell by the wayside.
The High Fidelity Studios, owned by Peter Colmore and Stephen Ndesanjo, produced some of the finest commercials of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Kenya Breweries, East African Industries, and Bata Shoe Company were the industrial giants that fought for the hearts and minds of consumers.Some of these products have stood the test of time and continue to thrive, yet others fell by the wayside.
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