Gone are the days when Voice of Kenya (VoK), was the only television station in Kenya. It later changed its name to Kenya broadcasting corporation (KBC). Today you’ll find so many broadcasting services and the numbers keep increasing as pending applications are approved.
More than 68 television stations operate in Kenya as per the latest market information. The shift from analog to digital opened up the airwaves and played a critical role in attracting local and foreign investors.
Did you, however, know that tycoons own most top TV and Radio stations in the country? The sector proves attractive for wealthy individuals to increase their net worth.
This article will look at the top 10 tycoons owning leading TV stations in Kenya.
- Gideon Moi
- S.K Macharia
- Simon Gicharu
- Andrew Ngirici
- Joshua Chepkwony
- Sam Omukoko
- Leo Slingerland
- Ali Jamah
- Mutahi Ngunyi
- John Marete
1. Gideon Moi
The “Moi” pops up when talking about the top tycoons in Kenya owning TV stations. The son of Kenya’s second president, the late Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, runs the Standard Media Group.
Under its arm is KTN Home, 3rd largest TV station in Kenya, KTN News (the fourth largest TV channel in Kenya), Farmers TV, and Burudani TV. The stations offer entertainment, politics, business, socio-economic aspects, and more.
KTN began operations in 1990 and has hosted some of Kenya’s top journalists. Waweru Njoroge, Mercy Abura, Maina Kageni, Catherine Kasavuli are some notable mentions.
Gideon Kipsiele Moi was born in October 1963 in Kenya and is 58 years old. The media tycoon is interested in other sectors, including farming, banking, real estate, transport, and is worth about $120 billion.
2. S.K Macharia
Samuel Kamau Macharia, or simply SK Macharia, is one of the most recognized names regarding super-wealthy media owners. For decades, he has been growing his network in a bid to reach out to more Kenyans.
The media mogul’s Royal Media Service (RMS) group runs several stations, including Citizen TV, Inooro TV, and the newly launched Ramogi TV.
Citizen is the oldest channel and was launched in 1999. Inooro TV began in 2015, while Ramogi TV started in 2021. The firm also runs Viusasa, a Video on Demands platform.
This TV station has about 1.7 million viewers watching at any given time, making it the most-watched TV station in Kenya. Other than Kenya, it’s also available in Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.
The free-to-air channel is also accessible via paid services DSTV and GOTV.
Inooro TV targets central Kenya and broadcasts in Kikuyu vernacular language. Ramogi TV caters to a Dholuo-speaking audience.
Top presenters like Jeff Koinange, Swaleh Mdoe, Lillian Muli, and Linda Oguttu have worked at the firm.
SK Macharia was born in Ndakaini Village, Murang’a County, Kenya in 1942. In addition to media, he also has interests in banking, agriculture, real estate, and his net worth is speculated to be around $ 650 million.
3. Simon Gicharu
Simon Gicharu owns TV47, a station that offers news on the 47 counties in Kenya, hence the name.
Cape Media ltd runs the operations and broadcast in Swahili and English languages. With offices in Nairobi and Mombassa, the broadcaster enjoys a decent viewership.
The free-to-air TV channel began operations in 2019 and is also available on DSTV channel 268. It’s a 24/7 station, and growth has been gradual.
The firm boasts well-known journalists and broadcasters like Fredrick Muitiriri and Lolani Kalu.
In addition to owning the TV station, the wealthy entrepreneur is the founder of Mount Kenya University (MKU), the largest private university in east and central Africa.
Professor Simon Gicharu was born in Gathiruini village, Kiambu County Kenya, in 1964.
He is the eldest of 7 children, and best describes himself as an educationalist and entrepreneur. Despite coming from a humble background, he has achieved billionaire status through hard work.
4. Andrew Ngirici
The Ngirici name is well known in Kenyan political scenes. Andrew Ngirici’s wife, purity Ngirici is the current Kirinyanga county woman representative.
She’s very vocal and regularly makes news headlines. She attributes her success to her supportive husband, Andrew Ngirici, a laidback Kenyan billionaire.
This astute businessperson owns Mt Kenya Tv, one of Kenya’s emerging and popular TV channels. The station offers entertainment, political news, and business reporting.
Slopes Media Company runs the operations in the firm. Market reports showed mass employee exit due to what they termed as delayed pay. According to Ngirici, the station has not made any money since its launch in 2018.
The company’s woes worsened after the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) suspended the station on April 19, 2021, for airing inappropriate content. Additionally, the station was fined Kshs 500,000 and was mandated to train its employees.
Andrew Peter Ngirici’s story can be termed “grass to grace.” Born in a poor background and ending his education in standard/ class 4, the billionaire strived hard to become a renowned tycoon in Kenya.
5. Joshua Chepkwony
Mention “silent billionaire,” and Joshua Chepkwony’s name comes to mind. Although not very popular in the media circles, Kass TV is quite popular.
The Kalenjin community regards it as their go-to channel for broadcasting business, political, social, and political news in the Kalenjin dialect.
The TV channel was launched on December 13, 2016, and has more than 5 million viewers. Its services are available through any digital TV and on DStv and GOtv platforms.
Kass Media Group runs the operations, and notable presenters include Triz Cherorot and Shadrack Mutai.
Mr. Chepkwony has interests besides the media and owns Faiba Telecom, Jamii Milling in Uasin Gishu, and Euro copter helicopter worth more than Kshs 300 million.
The billionaire enjoys politics and rubs shoulders with political heavyweights like Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago, Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, and the late Joyce Laboso.
6. Sam Omukoko
Sam Omukoko owns Metropol TV and serves as the managing director. The TV station has national coverage and focuses mainly on market analysis and business news.
The TV station began operations in March 2018 and has played host to prominent media personalities, including Terryanne Chebet (formerly of citizen TV and the acclaimed stock market trader and analyst Aly Khan Satchu. Nina Shaban and Yvonne Toywa are other notable mentions.
Metropol TV targets entrepreneurs and business-minded individuals looking to understand the market and economic parameters through business news articles and financial analysis,
Sam Omukoko describes himself as a businessperson, politician, and philanthropist. He is the group-managing director of Metropol East Africa, a firm offering credit collection and reporting services in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi.
7. Leo Slingerland
Family TV is the most popular faith channel in Kenya and has been around for more than two decades.
The TV station ranks among the top Christian televisions in the east and central Africa and began in 1999. Its viewership has been growing regionally and targets people of different faiths.
Leo and Anneke Slingerland own the Family Media Group that runs the TV stations. They have a hands-on approach, which has proven very effective in running the firm.
Through programs such as Jam 316, Man Up, Prayer Circle, She, Nderemo, Youth on the Move, Shake, and Sounds of Africa, the TV station appeals to different age groups and social segments.
8. Ali Jamah
You, like many other people, may never have heard about Ali Jamah. However, you are familiar with Ebru Tv. Mr. Jamah owns Ebru TV station and bought it from a Turkish firm, Samanyolu Broadcasting Company (SBC).
According to data from the Communication Authority of Kenya, the TV channel holds a 3-4% market share.
Anab Mohammed, Jamah’s wife, runs the operations at the station. Before taking this role, she was United States International University (USIU), one of Kenya’s top private universities, Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The media house has been home to Kenya’s renowned presenters and journalists. You may be familiar with Joan Obwaka, Kamene Goro, Doreen Gatwiri, Milliah Tabitha Kisenya, and Diana Rachel.
9. Mutahi Ngunyi
5th estate TV focuses on political news affecting Kenya. A panel of journalists and political science students touches on the country’s most current affairs.
The TV station was launched in 2019, and the number of viewers has been growing owing to the rising political temperatures in the country.
Mutahi Ngunyi, famous for the “tyranny of numbers’ hypothesis, is the force behind the digital Tv channel. Not only does he own it, but he also plays a crucial role in its daily operations.
The former University of Nairobi don made money from offering political analysis and advisory to politicians and political firms.
He is a staunch supporter of the current ruling party and uses the TV platform to express his views and opinions.
The free-to-air TV channel started as a YouTube channel broadcasting content regularly.
An increase in audience and general acceptance saw it morph into a TV station airing weekly shows via PANG, GOtv, and Star-Times. Currently, it’s a fully-fledged channel with daily shows and a host of guests.
10. John Marete
John Marete stands proud of two promising TV Stations- Weru and Mutongoi TV stations.
The former broadcasts in Meru vernacular language while the latter broadcasts in Kamba. Weru TV was launched in 2016 and covers Meru, Machakos, isiolo, tharaka nithi, and embu.
Mutongoi TV began operations in 2021 and is available in Machakos, kitui, mwingi, and its environs. The channel offers entertainment, educative, political, and business content,
John Marete’s journey was not easy. Citizen TV fired him as its Head of Camera unit when he started.
Owned by Royal Media Services (RMS) and one of the largest broadcast stations in Kenya and beyond, many journalists desire to work at Citizen TV.
It boasts of top-notch and highly paid journalists in the industry. However, the turn of events didn’t stop him from achieving his dream and ambition.
Like any other industry, TV and radio are pretty competitive. New stations will open while existing ones will close.
The stations seek to provide entertainment, regional news, and educate the masses. It is essential to ensure the content is suitable for the general public.
The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) regulates the TV and Radio stations to ensure the content is non-offensive, non-discriminatory, and suitable.