Online radio is not a new thing in Kenya. Personally, I have been streaming Capital FM since the late 2000s and it was so cool at the time.
Radio is arguably the best way to reach Kenyans. Over 10 million people listen to radio everyday in Kenya through the traditional means (radio headsets or their phones). However, I don’t believe that online radio has really peaked in Kenya.
Online radio needs a few things that traditional radio does not need: Great and consistent internet connection and a device to connect to the internet and either a data plan or Wi-Fi to listen to the content over the air.
This is why MyRadio.co.ke is interesting to me. The founder, Bob Koech has made it easy to listen to over 100 Kenyan radio stations live on his neat website.
“I got this idea early last year at around February. It was the same time Covid-19 had kicked in,” he revealed in an interview. 2020 was indeed a tough yeah but it was most certainly a great year for technology as Kenyans bought more computers than ever before.
As you browse MyRadio, you can basically find your favourite radio stations listed here. When you click on the online radio of choice, there is a handy dandy description of the online radio station of choice that plays automatically after a little buffering.
As I was checking out this site, I was concerned whether the radio stations posted have problems with him posting their direct live radio links on the website. “No, Radio stations don’t have a problem with having their stations on the site,” he said. “If there is then I haven’t gotten any complaints. In fact a number of new radio stations have come up to me requesting that their stations be added to the site.”
It is pretty interesting that radio stations are requesting him to be added tot he swath of live stations posted on his site. It makes sense since the radio industry is immensely competitive for the 10 million or so daily listeners as per GeoPoll data. It is still unclear what percentage actually listen to radio via online means and the percentage could be so minute to be considered significant.
However, that does not mean that he is stopping there. He has plans for the site. Bob says that he has plans for apps on the major mobile platforms. “With the Android and iOS apps, I’ve got someone currently working on it and they will be up before the end of February,” he added.
Obviously, such platforms have their own pains and MyRadio is no different and it is one unique to online media platforms. “One major challenge is constantly maintainig the streaming links since some can stop working and without constantly checking, you wont notice. A bad experience for listeners too.” In my experience, it works quite well which means whatever he is doing at the backend is working well.
I’m not particularly a fan of radio nowadays (blame music streaming sites and podcasts for that) but such initiatives like MyRadio may inspire me to stream radio from time to time.