A community FM radio station set up by a school dropout Peter Ngugi, 25, in Nakuru County, 200 kilometers (124) northwest of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi is helping villagers to promote their business or even comes to their rescue in the times of distress.
“If you have to sell fresh milk or you want a tractor or you even want to give out your tractor for rent, you can tell Ngugi and announce it on the radio. You can also send greetings to your loved ones free of charge,” said Joyce Kago, a small-time businesswoman.
From an ordinary radio repairperson, Ngugi has traveled a distance by owning a radio station. He developed the station by using his skills innovating a transmitter and then setting a booster on a hill.
“I communicated with a relative who was on the ground and asked him whether he could hear me on their radio. I choose a frequency that was never used. It worked and I was very happy that I could be heard on the radio in the nearby localities,” he told Anadolu Agency on eve of World Radio Day, which is being observed on Sunday.
Every day at 1 p.m. local time, Ngugi takes up the microphone to broadcast news to villagers in the Subukia area of Nakuru subdivision, who eagerly await to listen to him.
“Good afternoon from wherever you are joining us, this is the lunchtime news with yours Peter Ngugi,” says the broadcaster, while signing the airwaves.
As people in the village enjoy their lunch at their homes or eateries, they hook up the frequency to update themselves about the village and nearby areas.
“Peter Muriuki is searching for a farm laborer to help him till his land,” comes his voice on the radio interrupting the vernacular music.
After completing primary school, Ngugi dropped out as he did not have the means to pursue education in high school. He, therefore, joined a radio mechanic course.
“It was during this that idea stuck to me to set up a radio station that broadcasts in vernacular or Swahili language,” he said.
Kago said the unique proposition of this radio station is that it broadcasts news and music in our language.
“I earn a small amount by charging advertisements. It is enough to maintain the radio station,” he said.
Villages hook to radio
Hellen Kuria, who operates a grocery shop, said they get all the village news and government announcements and programs through this radio.
“We get information about schools, immunization programs, and almost everything related to our lives,” she said.
Ngugi has named the radio Ime, the name of his village. He said he is indebted to villagers, who make the radio station function.
He is running this radio station from a one-room apartment that doubles as a studio as well as his bedroom.
Ngugi was invited to attend a conference, where he met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. He asked the president to arrange a broadcasting license.
Despite not being able to advance his studies, Ngugi hopes that one day he will own a commercial radio station and provide employment to educated youth.
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