KBC Radio celebrates 93 years of broadcasting

Written By: Eric Biegon

From Right: Radio Programmes Manager Michael Mumo, Former KBC Radio News Anchor Yunia Amunga, Head of Coro FM Jane Mumbi and Editor-in-Chief Samuel Maina. Photo/Jackson Mnyamwezi

For nine decades, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s radio service has been on air conveying general public-interest information.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Since its first started broadcasting in 1928 as East African Broadcasting Corporation (EABC) when Kenya was a British colony, the national broadcaster has grown into a multimedia international broadcast service providing news and programming in more than 20 languages.

Its first broadcast was in English targeting the colonial masters then Africans during the World War II merely to update relatives of African soldiers of what was happening at the war front.

In 1953, Kiswahili Service was established under the African Broadcasting Service (ABS) followed by Dholuo, Kikuyu, Kinandi, Kiluhya, Kikamba and Arabic.

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Six years later, regional radios were rolled out as Sauti ya Mvita in Mombasa, Mount Kenya Station in Nyeri and Lake Station in Kisumu.

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After Kenya attained independence in 1963, the desire to enhance the authority of the government grew and in 1964 the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation was nationalized through an act of Parliament and became the Voice of Kenya (VoK).

Since its establishment, KBC journalists and presenters have been on the scene to cover and broadcast major world events such as politics, sports, discoveries and so on. The stations have also churned out informative and entertaining content to millions of listeners globally.

As globe marks the World Radio Day, KBC deemed it fit to commemorate its 93rd birthday in broadcasting in Kenya. This was an occasion for the station to cast its mind back to the services rendered through the years.

Michael Mumo, KBC Radio Programmes Manager speaking during celebrations

While acknowledging the numerous milestones recorded over the years, KBC Radio Programmes Manager Michael Mumo however says that the industry has to adapt quickly, especially to the dynamism of technology and content.

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“We need to change how we do business, people used to consume content in a certain manner, not any more. They want to listen to you online, they want to listen to you over their mobile phones,” Mumo noted.

Former KBC icons Jacob Kimulwa (left) and former KBC Radio News Anchor Yunia Amunga (centre) and Radio Programmes Manager Michael Mumo (right). Photo/Jackson Mnyamwezi

His sentiments receiving support from the Assistant Radio Programmes Manager Jonah Kusero who spoke of the impact of social media and the digital world in radio. He says today’s radio presenters and producers have no option but utilize most of their time carrying out research.

“You have to use 80 percent (of your time) in preparation and 20 percent executing what you have prepared outside the studio. That is the innovation we are talking about. So that, to whoever is listening, you can become relevant and connect with that person,” he said.

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According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Radio Day is an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of radio, its evolution, and constant adaptation for over a century to societies’ changes.

KBC English Service’s Sundowner Host Catherine Ndonye (Left) with Yunia Amunga. Photo/Jackson Mnyamwezi
KBC journalists and producers. Photo/Jackson Mnyamwezi

Today, the Corporation runs stations that are doing well in the media market: Radio Taifa, KBC English Service, Pwani FM, Coro FM (Kikuyu), Mayienga FM (Luo), Minto FM (Kisii), Mwago FM (Meru), Mwatu FM (Kamba), Nosim FM (Maasai), Kitwek FM (Kalenjin), Ingo FM (Luhya) and Iftiin FM (Somali).

Others are Sub-Services: Central Service (Kiembu), Eastern Service (Burji, Rendille, Turkana and Borana) and Western Service (Suba, Pokot, Teso and Kuria).

KBC Editor-in-Chief Samuel Maina. Photo/Jackson Mnyamwezi
Coro FM Producer Trizah Wainaina with her KBC Radio Taifa counterpart Bonny Musambi. Photo/Jackson Mnyamwezi

You can access KBC radio online https://www.kbc.co.ke/radio-live/

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