Kenya’s Top 10 Radio Shows

October 10, 2012
1. Mambo Mseto Willy M Tuva
A production of Citizen Radio, Mambo Mseto is a show that has gained popularity all over East and Central Africa. The host of the show, Willy .M. Tuva or “Mzazi”, as his fans call him has packaged the show to cover music from Eastern Africa. He is known to give new and upcoming artists a platform to showcase their talents in a segment on his show. The fact that he presents in Kiswahili makes the show popular in the region as almost everyone speaks and hears Swahili. This way the show transcends borders getting listenership in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. His nick name “Mzazi” comes from the reputation of the show being among the first to recognize, nurture and promote new music talents. Mzazi is also gifted with a voice and Swahili fluency that enable him to present with such ease, The popularity of this show has grown to a TV show “Mseto East Africa” which is equally successful. This popular show is probably why Tuva could be the highest paid radio presenter at Royal Media Services.
2. Maina Kageni and Churchill Kingangi
You can almost be sure that the next public service vehicle you board early in the morning will be tuned to Classic FM’s breakfast show. This is where Churchill got his “Mwalimu Kingangi” name, being the the title he goes by on the show. He pokes fun at events and occurrences that happen in everyday life and brings out the humor in them on his “Kasheshe” segment. Basically he says things that every “Mwananchi” can relate to. Maina Kageni on the other hand is that bubbly radio host who can get your energy levels from zero to good enough to last you all day, he has the wits to say anything on air. Its no a wonder to hear Maina belt out a kikuyu exclamation such as “Gai Fafa”. However the most captivating part of the show is the call in segment where they tackle very contentious and controversial issues that happen in relationships and marriages. It is those callers that have the confidence to “say it as it is” that most listeners tune in to hear, “Wakanai” for instance, a caller who holds nothing back in expressing his prefference in women or sex positions.  Basically the topic of the day is always interesting with Churchill bringing some fun in it as well.
3. Goteana- Mbusii and Bonoko
Goteana is Ghetto Radio’s drive show hosted by Mbusi and once street urchin, Bonoko. Three minutes after the crew announces their arrival on the Ghetto Radio Facebook fan page, the status gets over 500 comments. The number increases during the show and hits over 1000 by the end of the show. Mbusii uses sheng and slang to present the show; he has also adopts Jamaican patois in some instances during the show. Some of the most popular street phrases in Nairobi such as ‘Hakuna mbbrcha” also originated from this show. Goteana which means greetings in sheng, has risen to become the identity of Ghetto radio being its most popular. His freestyle type of presentations augurs well with listeners of the middle and lower class caste who form the majority in Nairobi. Goteana commands a strong base in Eastlands which has the highest number of youth in Nairobi. It was recently nominated at the Chaguo La Teeniz awards for the best radio show. A spot check revealed that out of ten public service vehicles, four of them are tuned to Goteana in the afternoon.
4. The Jam- Capital FM -Cess and Maqbul
The Jam on Capital FM has always been good afternoon company for many. Somehow Capital FM’s “Chairman” Chris Kirubi has managed to get good hosts for this show, from the days of Marcus and Leo Faya, Chris and Allan to the current duo of Cess and Maqbul. This show dedicates a different genre of music each day of the week, such as Neo soul, soul to old school. The Jam plays music that cuts across demographics, more so among the urbane and suave listeners. The fact that the station streams online and has the advantage of time difference plays a big role in making it popular. The show airs in the afternoon, which is often at night in the diasporas conveniently bagging that audience. This coupled with Cess Mutungi’s out of the world humor makes the show a must listen for many. More often than not, you will see people on social media posting about being hooked on “The Jam” or the office radio is tuned in to Capital. The mixes of Deejay Joe Mfalme and Deejay Adrian are also part of the reason why this show has a loyal following.
5. The Big Breakfast- Caroline Mutoko and Jalango
The ‘Big Breakfast’ is Kiss Fm’s morning show hosted by Caroline Mutoko and Jalango. Caroline has been taunted as Kenya’s radio queen and featured in the world famous CNN’s “African Voices” feature segment. Her co-host Felix Oduor aka Jalango does a good job in injecting some humor to the show and probably make it relatable to everyone. Kiss FM has a national coverage and quite a good chunk of the country tunes in every morning. The show is known to advocate on development issues and tackling matters of interest for different people such as job seekers. Having the nerves to take on politician has also endeared fans to Caroline and given the show more clout. She also comes off as the people’s advocate, a factor that has earned the show more listeners.
6. Overdrive- Shiku Muiruri and Nick Odhiambo
This show is the home of “busted” one of the most popular radio show segments in Kenya. Overdrive is Classic FM’s drive show that airs in the afternoon. The “busted” part of the show has made it popular as it involves the intrigues of “busting” a cheating spouse with his/her pants down through a phone call. Many will remember one lady who got caught flat footed and her only reaction was ‘Oh my God” an exclamation she made repeatedly in shock. However the chemistry between the two hosts, Nick and Shiku gives the show a blend of humor and drama, a good recipe for any radio audience. Shiku and Nick’s abilities to make prank calls to unsuspecting people and the humorous reactions they get make the show all more captivating. They also allow listeners to call in and vent especially about relationship matters. The weird stories from the call ins are quite mouth watering and keep listeners glued to the show.
7. G Money in the Morning- Homeboyz Radio 91.5
Nairobi’s young urban suave lads and lasses may not identify with many breakfast shows but they strike a chord with “G Money In The Morning”. This show has its loyal following owing to the various segments on the show that are diverse in nature. There is a segment where he plays songs from the same artist and the reggae Segway that brings the curtain down on the show. The presenter also spares a few minutes for some much needed inspiration for his readers. Having USA and UK exposure G Money aka Conrad Gray brings some international flair and flavor to Kenyan radio, something many young listeners would like to be associated with.
8. IZ Vipi- Radio Maisha – Peter Adams
This is a local music show that also features artists from the region. It is also presented in Kiswahili by Peter Adams who has a good command of the language. Coupled with Swahili fluency and disc jockey skills, Peter Adams has taken this show to great heights fighting it out with other big shows such as Citizen Radio’s Mambo Mseto. The national reach of the station puts it in a position to garner more listeners. Peter Adam’s good understanding and connections in the entertainment arena play a big role spices the show up. Once in a while listeners are suprised with a  phone interview with a big shot artist across the border.
9. Roga Roga-– Citizen Radio – Fred Obachi
Roga roga is a weekend show hosted by Fred Obachi, popularly known as “Machoka”. This show is targeted to the older members of society, those that were there when Franco and Madilu System were the hottest thing in town. He also throws in modern or new tracks that gel well with listeners in that target group. The music he plays is African, mostly sang in either Swahili or Lingala. It is however the way he presents the show that gets the attention of many, he has an assertive voice and having been around for quite some time has earned him credibility from listeners. His grasp of lingala and good knowledge of “rhumba” music also sets him apart from other radio presenters targeting senior citizens he likes to call “vijana wa jana ” – yesterdays youth. Citizen Radio’s reach has also played a role in making this one of the most listened to shows in Kenya. The rural demographic this show appeals to is the majority in Kenya hence explains why “Roga roga” has the numbers. There are more villages in Kenya than there are city estates, that should drive the point home. The show has had to get more time allocated to it as listeners demanded more time with this Rhumba maestro.
10. One Drive Adelle Onyango One FM
One drive is One FM’s drive show hosted by one Adelle Onyango. The show features music strictly from the Kenya and Africa. It has gained popularity and has become one of the first stop new music makes in Kenya. You are more likely to hear a Naija hit first from One Drive than any other place. One FM also streams online hence gets listenership across the continent. The stations twitter handle bursts into life and traffic soon as this show kicks off. Social media shout outs to the show and the presenter from artists all over Africa are testament that the show has gained credibility in the region.
© Vibe Weekly

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