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Peculiar ways of the Kenyan radio hosts and listeners


To kill monotony and make their programmes more engaging, entertaining and interactive, most FM radio stations have call-in sessions.

Forget for a moment the recent trend of comedian co-hosts who crack jokes and make light of weighty matters, some of the things callers say during such segments can make for great comedy.

FM stations, especially those that broadcast countrywide in Kiswahili, have some of the most hilarious listeners. One of the most common obsession that listeners, particularly those from Western Kenya have, is sending greetings to friends, relatives and associates.


Take, for instance, the characters who call in when debate on a serious topic like unga is raging, only to request for a song, or beg to send shoutouts, or to ask what the topic of discussion is so that they can contribute.

“Hello, my name is James. I am from Western Kenya, but today I’m calling from Central Kenya where I am visiting an aunt to a relative’s friend (as if the clarification is even important or necessary).

I was not listening to the show, but I just want to contribute to the debate. Kindly remind me the topic of discussion,” some listeners would sheepishly ask.

As a fellow listener, you are left wondering: “Did he just called because he wanted to listen to himself on radio, or he did he do so just for the heck of it?”

This has happened enough times on Radio Maisha, Citizen Radio, Radio Jambo and others that target mass audiences, leaving fellow listeners in stitches.

The furious hosts, of course, always disconnects such calls, with others loudly wondering what such listeners smoke before calling radio stations.

“Punguza bangi kijana (go easy on smoking weed young man),” a furious presenter once scoffed, after unceremoniously disconnecting a call from a listener who began reading Jubilee government the riot act during a call-in session for a show on relationships.

Others would call in and derail the topic of discussion by introducing other unrelated matters. Like this man who recently called Radio Jambo to apparently contribute to a debate that was discussed three days earlier, saying he didn’t have airtime to call when the matter was being discussed, yet he had what he thought were interesting and important perspectives he wanted to share.

Some listeners make the most outrageous confessions that would even shock the devil himself into gasping: “Jesus Christ’!”

Take, for example, the chilling rape and even murder confessions some listeners of Radio Maisha make during the now popular ‘Siri Yangu (My Secret)’ segment during the station’s evening drive show.

With assured protection of their identities and locations, some have called in, confessing how they killed their own fathers or kin.

The most recent case was of a step child who narrated how she poisoned her overbearing step-father and that of a lady who murdered her ex-boyfriend in a similar fashion, after he impregnated her and denied responsibility.

A former rapist also recently left listeners utterly gob-smacked after explaining how he used to subject his teenage victims to the indecent act before strangling and knifing them to death.


What’s more, if the material some people send to radio hosts for discussion or seeking advice on was to be exposed, listeners would be a traumatised lot and some stations would be shut down by the Communication Authority of Kenya.

Take, for instance, the list of nasty text messages, with questions ranging from unnatural sexual acts, lesbianism, infidelity and other nasty questions sent to Classic FM’s Maina Kageni that leaked and went viral a while back.

There were women making confessions on tens of abortions they have procured and other revelations that would earn them instant divorce; some asked sexually explicit questions that would shock and traumatise the average gynaecologist to those exposing their husbands in ways that would permanently put them at loggerheads with their in-laws and pastors.

You, however, have to give it up to our radio presenters, especially for their multitasking abilities. Others work as DJs, marketers, shrinks, agony aunts, sexologist, debt collectors, comedians, matchmakers and whatnot all rolled up in one.

Nowadays, when you have a problem — social, political or financial — these are the go to guys. When your MP ignores your phone calls and starts playing hide-and-seek, simply call your favourite radio presenter.

Have you ever noticed it’s always women who call in, seeking advice or solutions to this or that problem (men only call to give views on politics or to defend the ever-under siege male species)? Interestingly, these geeks never disappoint; they always have something profound to say, however complex the matter may be.


Someone has never been to a medical school, but masquerades as one of the best gynaecologists in town, with solutions to every problem female listeners call in with about their birth canals. Or those clowns who talk about rocket science as if it were their area of expertise.

Interesting to note also is the fact that there’s always a woman whining or having a heart-to-heart conversation with the ‘shrink’, who, of course, always has answers to all questions asked.

Women are always reporting a cheating or ‘useless’ husband or a randy boss, hitting on her. Modern-day radio presenters deserve a pat on the back.

They apply soothing balm to frustrated souls, pacify distressed ones, and have a solution to virtually all problems.

Not long ago, a woman called a vernacular FM station, complaining that her spanking brand new underwear had gone missing from a communal cloth line.

The caring presenter was furious. He stopped the background jingles and while seething with rage, took it upon himself to order petty thieves in the woman’s locale, suspected to be listening, to return the darn garment with immediate effect or else... As if, failure to which, there was something he would do to them. It was hilarious.

The good presenter did not stop there; he condemned and threw in a word of caution to other would-be underwear thieves. And while at it, he rapped and put night runners, too, who, yet another listener had complained about, on notice.

“Night runners need to style up. How does a hairy grownup derive pleasure or peace of mind from running butt naked at night and hurling pebbles on people’s mabati rooftops? Nkt! They should be a ashamed of themselves! Actually, their days are numbered!” he read them the riot act.

At some point, he advised drunkards to cut down on their alcohol consumption, and warned Nyeri women against battering their husbands. Just when you thought he was done, he launched into a fervent prayer for a caller who had complained about her alcoholic husband, requesting the good Lord amwonekanie — to prevail upon him.

The multitasking brother was not done, just yet. He had much to say about politics, threatening politicians who abuse each others’ grandmothers at funerals to cease henceforth. What’s more, he lampooned government, wondering loud what they smoke nowadays, in the wake of the current problems facing the nation. “Why are Cabinet secretaries campaigning for the president? Isn’t this against the law?” He went on and on to rave and rant.

Radio Maisha seems to have some of the craziest and entertaining presenters. Among other hilarious stuff they do is collecting debts, by posing as mean policemen on behalf of distraught creditors after their debtors begin playing cat-and-mouse with them.

“Kijana, uko wapi? Sisi ni polisi, tunakupigia kuhusu hii deni umekataa kulipa. Utalipa kwa M-Pesa sa hii ama tukuje tukuchukue uongelee mbele?” one would menacingly roar, before the scared debtor promises to pay via the said money transfer service, pronto.

Unlike what used to happen back in the day, the average FM radio show is today offers entertainment galore. It’s common to hear a presenter warn malicious gossips to leave people’s good names alone.

Others act as marriage counsellors and reconcile divorced or separated couples on air. Soon and very soon gynaecologists, psychiatrists and marriage counsellors will be rendered jobless, courtesy of radio presenters. Just wait and see.

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