I have always wanted to write about Nation FM. I have wanted to say how great a station it is. How it is the only radio station that cares about substance, quality. I have, with failure, wanted to praise Nation FM for informing and educating Kenyans on matters of current affairs, business, entrepreneurship, technology, family life, and politics. I have always wanted to use this forum to encourage Kenyans to listen to that great radio station if at all they wanted to listen to anything that matters. But just like we do to any great person, any great product, I said nothing. Although I am writing about Nation FM right now, there is nothing good that can come out of it as Nation Media Group has decided to send the station to rest in piece – my favorite radio station is no more.
It is Nation FM that cared to dissect, scientifically, the flooding menace that affected Nairobi a few months ago. It is Nation FM that dared to put Walter Mong’are to task to explain why the County Government of Nairobi keeps on making the same promises every flooding or collapsed buildings period, a task that Mong’are flopped at leading to his suspension as the County’s Communication Director.
When it came to dissecting the issues of public debt, the Eurobond Saga, corruption at NYS, and several other political scandals, Nation FM together with her listeners performed 5 times better than the other radio stations combined. When the other radio stations majored in sex scandals, relationship problems and general gossip, Nation FM tried to inform her listeners about the economy, the politics, and entrepreneurship. The station hosted quality guests; guests who were experts in their various fields. The quality of programming didn’t end with the station’s morning show by Jimmi Gathu and Mumbi but also extended to the 2 O’Clock sports by Sean Cardovillis and the evening breeze programme by Chris Okinda – which also stood to the station’s motto: Sense on Air.
I loved the station, but there is nothing I can do except to mourn. It breaks my heart that such a great radio station could fall to the axe at a time when all others spew garbage and useless gossip. Is it because the station lacked listeners? Far from it. Nation FM had few but dedicated listeners, majority of whom never cared to call in – but loyal listeners they were.
Nation FM could have lacked the numbers, but the few listeners they had were quality listeners. They were the academicians of this country. The professionals. The decision makers. The business men and women. If Nation FM died because the management couldn’t bring in business, they need to be told that the presenters or the programme managers are not to blame, but the blame squarely lies on the marketers who knew nothing about their audience or how to convince advertisers on the value of their professional audience. As a radio station that served a niche market, the marketers ought to have applied the principles of niche marketing in getting the much needed advertisements.
The nail has been driven and Nation FM shut down left to play music back to back. The big question remains, who will step up to fill the void left by the national broadcaster? Capital FM? KBC English Service? By the way, what does KBC English Service do nowadays?