There are over 40 TV stations in Kenya many of which are owned by politicians and other powerful businesspeople in the country.
And with the media industry offering a wide range of opportunities for investors, it tells why the number of both radios and TVs in the country has surged in the recent past with TV stations being recorded at over 40 whereas radios at over 100..
Even though we did not get hold of all those who own these media houses, we managed to get ten prominent politicians and powerful businesspeople in the country who own them.
The journalist-cum-politician bosts as one of Kenyans who own media houses having founded his radio station called MO Radio.
In less than one year, the station has so far managed to host prominent politicians like Deputy President William Ruto in less than a year since its launch.
Chirau Ali Makwere
Makwere owns Kaya Fm which operates from the coastal region. It has been on the air for more than a decade having been established in 2007. It was founded purposefully to air content which relates which people from the coastal region.
The controversial Kirinyaga Women Representative Ngirici and her husband Andrew Ngirici own Slopes Media House Limited which houses Mt Kenya TV.
The TV station came into the limelight when it poached a number of journalists from Inooro TV in 2018 but failed to balance their payroll months later. It was recently flagged by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for airing explicit sexual content.
Athiani FM is a radio station owned and run by Athiani Holdings Limited, It is a Kamba radio station that churns out content that is consumed and relevant to the Akamba community. The station operates from the Mihrab Building along Lenana Road, Nairobi.
Omukoko is the founder and the Group Managing Director of Metropol Corporation which houses different business units including Metropol CRB, Metropol TV among others.
Metropol TV was launched in March 2019 and airs 80 percent business content and shares 20 percent with sports and entertainment both of which still shape their programming from a business perspective. The station first hired former Citizen TV journalists Terryan Chebet as its General Manager and Gikonyo Macharia as Head of Broadcast who both later quit due to personal reasons.
Kiprono Kittony, the son of Zipporah Kittony, who is a relative of former President Daniel Moi, has an ownership stake in Radio Africa Group. The group owns The Star newspaper, Kiss TV, and 6 radio stations which include Kiss 100 and Classic 105.
Radio Africa Group was founded by a Ghanaian-Kenyan-based businessman Patrick Quarcoo.
Prof Simon Gicharu
Professor Simon Gicharu is a Nairobi-based businessman and founder of Cape Media, a firm established by Mount Kenya University (MKU) and now owns TV47. Cape Media is managed by Prof Gicharu’s son called Kevin Gicharu who started TV journey in 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. He also plans to launch Beats 47 radio station after operating radio and TV stations in Rwanda for three years.
Mbeneka is the First Lady of Laikipia County and owns Ghetto Radio Foundation which owns Ghetto Radio. This is an urban radio station located in Nairobi. Ghetto Radio Nairobi was established in 2007 and is currently a popular station among youngsters.
Former Citizen TV Head of Camera John Marete who lost his job in 2016 went ahead to venture into the media industry. He is now the owner of Weru TV which commands entire viewership in the Meru region including both the TV and Weru FM.
Marete appears to have learned a lesson from his former employer, RMS after getting fired in 2016, only to follow in its footsteps.
Macharia is a business mogul who has shaped Keya’s business industry since the Moi era. He is the owner of Royal Media Services (RMS) which houses Citizen TV, Inooro TV, Ramogi TV plus 14 other radio stations.
Citizen TV takes pride as one of the largest stations in the country and controls 46 percent of Kenya’s viewership leaving the rest to be divided among stations.
Kenya has experienced a growing number of both TV and radios but it does not come with cheap operational costs to manage them.
For example in 2015 after broadcasters faulted KBC-owned Signet and China-based PANG for charging higher operation costs, the CA resolved to revise downwards the cost per megabit on monthly basis.
Under the new rates, broadcasters pay Ksh.89,545 per megabit per month for signal distribution within Nairobi and its environs down from the previous Ksh.125,990 translating to a 29% reduction.
The cost of distributing digital signals in other major towns was revised by 60 percent to Ksh.37,311 from the previous Ksh.93,202. The television broadcasters are currently paying Ksh.32,961 monthly fees for signal distribution within remote areas.
Those in other major towns paid Ksh.37,311 in 2017 and are currently paying Ksh.39,074.
The new rates became effective on December 1, 2016.