Tuesday, February 06, 2007


We stayed at the Methodist Guest House and then at Cathy Scott's. I tried to click through the TV at both places just to see what was available to TV viewers in Kenya. There are at least two right wing Christian channels. One is the Family Channel, playing US cartoons and the 700 Club, and one channel called God TV which claims on their web site (www.god.tv) that they want to reach one billion souls for the Kingdom of God. They are on 12 satellites and say they cover 4/5 of the world's surface. In Kenya they claim three transmitters reaching over 15 million people. However this "reach" may be only a signal that skims across the shacktowns, as there are barely a million TV sets in Kenya.

Three of the TV channels (STV, CITIZEN TV and KBC TV) schedule regular programming from the Voice of America, especially a program called Africa Journal, which is hosted by Vincent Makori. In addition to Africa Journal, VOA plays many old Annenberg educational series, especially ones about entrepreneurship and global business. Most of these series are at least 10 years old, which makes VOA look like a relic from the past century, and quite a contrast to the snazzy graphics from another Kenyan channel, NTV (Nation TV), which has daily programs from Al Jazeera English.KBC, in addition to Voice of America, plays classic sit coms featuring African Americans, such as The Jeffersons, Sanford and Sons and Different Strokes. They even play Martha Stewart's daily program, presumably for the embassy/CIA wives. And of course there is the BBC World News and CNN everynight.

There is very little local news, and even less local drama.

The Voice of America is initiating a new service to the Horn of Africa, where the recent U.S. bomb attacks on "terrorists" have killed many Somali civilians. I guess they'll need a lot of information from VOA to understand that. http://www.voanews.com/english/About/2007-02-09-somali-launch.cfm


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