The press in Kenya is lively and provides reasonable coverage of international news. There are more than a hundred radio stations for music, while satellite TV offers numerous home-grown and international channels, including the BBC, CNN and European sports stations.
Radio and TV
The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts radio news and current affairs services in English, Swahili and local languages across most of the country. The Nation newspaper group runs a news station, Nation FM (96.4FM), while the BBC World Service can be picked up on FM in Nairobi (93.7MHz) and Mombasa (93.9MHz). With so many commercial FM music radio stations, you simply need to find one playing the music you like. For popular newly released music, try Capital FM (98.4FM) or Kiss FM (100.3FM). Most radio stations are available on the internet – good for pre-departure immersion – and you can tune in at radio.or.ke.
Kenyan television, much of it imported, carries a mix of English and Swahili programmes. There are three main channels: the stuffy and hesitant state-run KBC, which carries BBC World for much of the day; the upbeat, mainly urban KTN owned by the Standard newspaper group, which carries CNN during the night and much of the morning; and the Nation newspaper group’s channel, NTV. An increasing number of homes, bars and hotels have satellite TV, usually on the South African DSTV service, giving access to Britain’s Sky TV, Eurosport and other foreign channels.
Kenya is a nation absorbed in its press, though the papers, as everywhere, struggle to hold their own against online media. The leading mainstream newspaper is the Daily Nation, which has reasonable news coverage, including international news and European football results, and a letters page full of insights into Kenyan life. Its main competitor is The Standard. Both papers are available online. Unfortunately, sharp analysis is in short supply and many editorials and opinion pieces lack bite. For a more critical take on the news, turn to The Star, which is much more outspoken but tends to be gossipy. Intelligent weekly The East African covers news from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and focuses on economic and political issues in the region.
Of the foreign press, one- or two-day-old editions of British, German and US newspapers, and a fair number of foreign magazines, can be found at newsstands and hotel lobby shops in Nairobi and busy areas on the coast in high season.
There are few events listings publications and “what’s on” portals. The Daily Nation, The Standard and The Star carry (limited) listings, usually on Fridays and Saturdays, but little more than what’s showing at the cinemas. Checking Kenya Buzz is your best bet, though some information about venues is out of date. Other cultural resources include the sprawling artmatters.info, the lively blog nairobinow.wordpress.com, which has arts events in Nairobi flagged up in good time, and kwani.org, Kenya’s pre-eminent literary website.
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