While Capital FM pioneered private radio English broadcasting in Kenya in 1996, Kameme FM would do the same in vernacular radio broadcasting in 2000 amid a hostile environment brought about by then ruling KANU's regime that was vehemently opposed to the idea.
Despite the KANU government's unfounded paranoia of vernacular radio more so Kikuyu that would see it restrict the new station's broadcasting scope to only Nairobi, Kameme FM would consequently go ahead to make lemonade from lemons by establishing itself as an equal player in Nairobi among English and Swahili radio stations broadcasting in the capital to a wider audience.
This would see the then Rose Kimotho-owned radio station nicknamed 'the Kikuyu's Capital FM' widely due to its unprecedented success and popularity among the Kikuyus residing in the city. Kameme FM has apparently continued to live to Nairobi's Kikuyu expectations if a recent Geopoll survey that ranks it as the seventh most popular station in Nairobi, is anything to go by.
All the other Kikuyu radio stations that have cropped up after Kameme including its arch-rival, Inooro FM, have found it a tall order to dislodge the now Mediamax network-owned station from its coveted position in Nairobi, the 'bedroom' of media advertising revenues.
Nonetheless, why does Kameme FM enjoy a sizeable fanbase in Nairobi even to an extent of polling better than what you would consider as urban-oriented radio stations?
Below are some of the likely possibilities that could have made the station the de facto and unchallenged Kikuyu radio market leader in Kenya's capital.
1. The station's appeal to all Kikuyu demographics in Nairobi
Kameme FM seemingly appeals to both uptown and downtown Kikuyus, elites and typical Kikuyus residing in the vast city. This can perhaps be attributed to some of its programmings that is urban-oriented. A good example is its long-running Sunday musical show, Kameme Country.
As noted earlier, Kameme FM began its now almost two decades journey by broadcasting in Nairobi only where it established its roots before spreading to other areas across the country. This seems to have made it master the art of vernacular broadcasting in an urban setup.
3. Institutional memory among its Nairobi fanbase
Having been the first ever dedicated 24-hour Kikuyu radio station to hit the Nairobi airwaves, there are those among its city fanbase whom the only Kikuyu radio station they can identify with, is Kameme FM which they may argue to have grown with through various stages of their social, political and economic lives.