Making of the POTUS interview by Capital FM

July 30, 2015 9:23 am
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 US President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Olive Burrows, producer at Kenya's Capital FM, during a radio interview in Nairobi on July 26, 2015/AFP
US President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Olive Burrows, producer at Kenya’s Capital FM, during a radio interview in Nairobi on July 26, 2015/AFP

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – As Ogwo David Emenike said, the thin line between impossible and the possible is determination.

That was the exact attitude that Capital FM News employed when the most powerful individual in the world announced a visit to Kenya.

As soon as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, said he would be visiting Kenya in July 2015, the first thought that crossed the mind of every Kenyan media personality was to get an exclusive interview with him.

Kenya is a country filled with media running into their hundreds.

Capital Group Limited is an outlet that has a radio station (Capital FM 98.4) and an online platform that carries TV content. (www.capitalfm.co.ke).

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was the only other media that clinched an interview with President Obama ahead of his visit.

Before his arrival, there was discussion on social media that the contest to interview Obama was between only two TV presenters.

That did not deter Capital FM News from pursuing its dream of solely getting the Obama interview.

It all started when Capital TV News Producer Olive Burrows approached the Editorial Director Michael Mumo with persistence that Capital FM needed to get a one-on-one interview with Obama.

“I recall one evening my colleague Burrows came to my desk and said why can’t we get an interview with the US President? I said to myself, why not? I recall asking her to start thinking about the kind of issues she would pose to him if at all she were to get that kind of an interview,” Mumo explained.

He then sent an email to Tiffany McGriff who works in the Public Affairs Department at the US Embassy, Nairobi requesting for an interview with Obama.

“The issue went quiet. Few weeks closer to the visit I raised the issue with her. This was in a meeting where other media people were and what we were told is that the requests had been sent to Washington and we should await a response.”

The answer took longer than expected but Mumo was still determined.

He sent other reminders.

It was only two days before Obama’s visit that his determination finally paid off.

Capital FM News was promised an exclusive with Obama but, this was not to be publicised yet.

On the sidelines, the newsroom was working on a number of questions that Burrows would ask during the interview.

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