There is no argument over the fact that KissFm is the most popular radio station in Nairobi and every other urban center that it currently reaches. Synonymous with this radio station is one Caroline Mutoko, the main presenter of the station's morning breakfast show. Caroline has got to be the most popular radio presenter in the region and has become a major celebrity figure who is instantly recognizable everywhere she goes.
The story is told of how young Ms Mutoko was riding in a matatu when she heard that Capital Fm were looking for presenters. She presented herself and the rest is history.
Caroline "KissFm" Mutoko: Hon Martha Karua is familiar with this popular radio presenter
But even more interesting is the history of her current employers, KissFm. Launched during the Moi era, by one Henry Kwaku, a Ghanian who had already been successful in radio in Uganda and was looking to get a foothold in Kenya, the radio station was one of the first private ones to be licensed by the conservative, paranoid Moi regime. The truth is that in those days radio licenses were virtually impossible to get, so what shrewd Kwaku did was to partner with the influential Kittony family (or shall we say used them as fronts). With the right contacts and with Kwaku's deep knowledge on the true potential of radio—even alongside TV and Internet—the radio station has grown into a major powerhouse in the region.
Interestingly one of the other popular shows on the radio station is the political discussion forum aptly called Crossfire that Kwaku himself hosts on Sunday evenings. It is said that the participants receive Kshs 20,000 every time they make an appearance at the show.
But the main focus and driving force of the radio station remains the controversial Caroline Mutoko who has grown in leaps and bounds with the popular radio station. There is little doubt that she has learnt quickly from her mentor, Mr Kwaku.
Ironically the most memorable event involving Caroline was the time she got on the wrong side of Narc-Kenya Iron lady and Minister of Justice, Martha Karua. Nairobians really got excited and amused when in 2003, the Minister was carjacked at around midnight and the only person she was with at the time was one father Wamugunda. Caroline had a field day asking her eager listeners all sorts of hypothetical and hilarious rhetorical questions addressing the mystery as to what the minister may have been doing with the Catholic Father at that time of the night. Hon Karua does not take kindly to that kind of press coverage (ask Mburu Mucoki publisher of the Independent who has recently been sentenced to a jail term for a similar story he published on the Minister.)
Caroline suddenly found herself in the court corridors and faced with all sorts of restraining orders. "Respect me and I will respect you," Hon Karua is fond of telling journalists who dare attempt to bring up the issue of Father Wamugunda and the carjacking incident.
They say that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones and apparently Ms Mutoko has secret issues of her own which she would hate to be publicized, but I guess it all goes with her image and popularity.
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