Kenya: Isiolo Residents Seek to Revive Community Radio Station Closed Over Cash Crunch

Stakeholders in Isiolo have unveiled plans to revive a community radio station shut down in 2019 due to a cash crunch.

Garbatulla Ranet FM is among six countrywide radio stations established in 2016 with support from UKAid through several agencies, including the National Drought Management Authority.

The other radio stations are Kangema FM (Murang'a), Oltoilo Le Maa FM (Narok), Bulala FM (Busia), Nganyi FM (Vihiga) and Kwale FM.

The Garbatulla station, which provided real-time locally tailored weather and climate forecasts and covered topical issues affecting the local community such as agriculture and health, was closed when donor funding ended.

At the time, the non-profit station employed more than 10 casual workers, a majority of them Form Four leavers, a fact that was blamed for the station's woes alongside lack of clear working guidelines.

Full revamping

But now, a consortium of several organisations, led by the Merti Integrated Development Programme (MID-P), has rolled out plans to breathe new life into the station.

MID-P Executive Director Molu Tepo announced that the German government had offered Sh2 million for the revival of the station.

At least Sh5 million is needed for a full revamping he said.

Besides recruiting staff to run the station, there are plans to expand its reach from 30km to 100km.

Doing so, Mr Tepo said, will ensure it attracts business from local traders, banks and schools among other institutions so it can sustain itself.

Staff will be hired on merit and that they will be subjected to regular training to ensure the station matches the standards of other community radio stations in the county, Mr Tepo said.

The station is slated to reopen by the end of the year.

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