Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is the state-run media organisation of Kenya. It broadcasts in English and Swahili, as well as in most local languages of Kenya. The corporation started its life in 1928 when Kenya was a British colony. It was the first station in Kenya. In 1964, when Kenya became an independent country, the corporation’s name was changed to Voice of Kenya. In 1989, the Kenyan parliament reverted the corporation’s name from Voice of Kenya to Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
During the rule of president Daniel arap Moi, KBC became the mouthpiece of the government. Each broadcast opened with a piece on what the president had been doing that day. Under the then president, Mwai Kibaki, KBC took a more objective approach. The corporation helped most of Kenya’s notable journalists especially before the liberalisation of the airwaves in Kenya. The pioneer broadcasters post independence were Maurice Mwendah (TV), Simeon Ndesanjo (Radio), Dalail Mzee (Radio), Aziz Yakub, (Radio & TV), and Aish Jenneby (TV).
English service broadcasters who pioneered the service were Peter Clare, David Kelly, Hassan Mazoa, Sammy Lui, Norbert Okare, and Martin Billy Mutta, followed later by Peter Njoroge Mwaura, Elizabeth Omolo, Esther Kanyago, Yakub Ishaq, Amos Njogu amongst many.
In the 80s and 90s names such as Khamisi Themor, Omuga Kabisae, Ngulamu Mwaviro, and Enacled Araba, were also heard. The English service had its share of KIMC graduates, Serah Kihara, Gladys Erude. John Karani Wanjiru Kago Johnstone Omurunga, also opportunities were accorded to other KBC employees such as Ike Mulembo, Larry Wambua and others on the English Service.
KBC aired the popular Vitimbi comedy and drama show for more than 30 years before the show was taken off air on the national broadcaster in 2015.
Terrestrial television and radio broadcast network
1924: English radio broadcasting began. The broadcasts targeted white settlers who monitored news from their home and other parts of the world.
The first radio broadcasts targeting Africans came during the Second World War to inform parents and relatives of African soldiers what was happening at the war front.
1953: The first broadcast service was created for Africans. African Broadcasting Services carried programmes in Kiswahili, Dholuo, Kikuyu, Kinandi, Kiluhya, Kikib and Arabic.
1954: Kenya Broadcasting Services was established. Regional stations were set up in Mombasa (Sauti ya Mvita), Nyeri (Mount Kenya Station) and Kisumu (Lake Station).
1961: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation was formed to take over broadcasting services from the government controlled Kenya Broadcasting Services.
1962: Television was introduced in Kenya. The first transmitting station was set on a farm house in Limuru and the station transmitted to a radius of 24 kilometres (15 mi).
1 July 1964: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation was nationalised into Voice of Kenya through an Act of Parliament.
1978: Kenya television transitioned to color.
1980: a new television station opened in Mombasa to relay programmes and produce local dramas, music, cultural and other programmes
1989: the Voice of Kenya changed back to Kenya Broadcasting Corporation through an Act of Parliament.
1989: a contract was signed between KBC and Japan Telecommunications Engineering consultancy service (JETC) for improvement and expansion of the national medium wave frequency radio broadcasting network.
1991: KBC signed a contract with Marubeni Corporation of Tokyo, Japan for upgrading of medium wave transmitting stations and construction of new ones.
1993: KBC embarked on a major modernisation project to upgrade its transmitting station, construct new ones and improve on switching and rooting network.
1996: KBC commissioned Metro FM as a 90% music radio.
September 2000: KBC commissioned Metro Television as a sports and entertainment channel.
December 2000: KBC started Coro FM, transmitting in Kikuyu language to Nairobi and Mount Kenya Region.
2001: Pwani FM was started to cater to the Coast Region.
List of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Radio stations