15 years ago, Linda Holt had a dream. With KBC’s general service as the main provider of radio entertainment, Linda was dreaming up an uprising; one that would revolutionise the drab nature of Kenyan airwaves in a way that she would never have imagined.
She knew what she needed to get her dream on a footing at least and a big part of that was radio guru Phil Matthews. And so together, in 1996, the best mix of music 98.4 Capital FM was born.
It was the pioneer in professional radio, the new toy that everybody wanted to play with, the station that dared to talk about real issues whether or not the government was involved, the station that dared to talk about sex, the station that was not afraid to have fun while working and the radio platform that dared to be mzungu – i.e., play rock.
In the beginning, there were only two presenters, Phil Matthews and Nicola Miyawa. Shortly after there was Jack Ojiambo, Jo Thoenes, Neil McCloud, Zain Verjee, Michael Oyier, Caroline Mutoko, Maina Kageni, Robert Warobi, Sean Cardovillis, Muthoni Bwika, Julie Butt Gichuru, Bill Amira, Patricia Amira, Fareed Khimani, Pinky Ghelani, Nini Wacera, musician Amani (marketing), DJ Delite (David Mureithi), Jimmi Gathu, Ngatia, Teddy Muthusi, Kalekye Mumo, Leo Faya, Marcus Kwikiriza, Esther Arunga, Riz Jiwa, Waweru Njoroge, Eve D’souza, Gaetano Kagwa, Peter Mucai, Anne Kiguta, Janet Mbugua… and the list goes on.
Anybody who is anybody in the media industry had to have passed through the 19th floor of Lonrho House.
The professionalism and expertise beckoned to anyone who excelled at what they did and worked with fun and passion. In terms of programmes, sales, news, production, marketing, and sports nearly every other radio station that has graced the Kenyan airwaves, and especially in Nairobi, has part of the Capital FM family in their flock.
“Professionalism and quality. Basically that is what Capital is about. For any long running business, those are the attributes that make you a constant success,” said Patricia Amira, who hosted the first neo-soul music show in Kenya – on 98.4.
An empty spot at Capital gave room for a new name and the fans whose ‘radios don’t shika anything else’ did not leave our sides.
And now, 15 years later, Chris Foot, Janice Njuru, Italia Masiero, Kui Gitei, Cess Mutungi, Maqbul Mohammed, Joey Muthengi, Suleiman Munyua, Chao Tolle, Charles Kiarie, Eric Latiff, Wambui Waweru, Yunia Amunga, Chiko Lawi, Eddy Kimani, Jack Ojiambo and I are still holding it down.
Industrialist Chris Kirubi is proud to be the owner of Capital FM.
“I’m proud of the achievements we have made; it’s a challenge. We have built several families of listeners and fans especially now through our digital media platform,” he told Capital Lifestyle.
“With 3 million readers on our 10-in-one website everyday and thousands streaming live on it from all over the world, it is our intention to grow to have as much influence as the BBC, which is a powerful media,” he adds.
Kirubi, who goes by the name DJ CK on rock show The Fuse, is also proud to have a young dedicated team behind the scenes that puts everything together.
“It gives me great joy and purpose and I am looking forward to another 15 years!”
Kirubi has thanked all of Capital FM’s supporters in business, whom he says are confident that the work they give to Kenya’s oldest commercial radio station will be done excellently.
“We are enthusiastic about promoting business and not politics, and we are trying to train youth to be responsible and build Kenya for the future.”
“I’d like to wish all our listeners and the Capital FM Family a happy 15 years, and I invite you to join us tonight as we celebrate this milestone event at the Carnivore,” he said.
To all our well-loved fans, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Make sure you join us as we celebrate our life and growth from 6pm sharp. Asante sana.