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Maina Kageni: How I Accidentally Landed on Radio

“Basically if I had Ksh40,000 that day I’d never be on radio,” he observed

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Maina Kageni is known to many Kenyans as co-host of the wildly popular morning show on Classic 105, Maina and King’ang’i. He hosts the show alongside celebrated comedian Daniel ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki, aka Mwalimu King’ang’i.

With its interactive format centered on hot social topics and relationship issues, Maina and King’ang’i is one of the most listened to shows on Kenyan radio, and is responsible for Kageni being one of the highest-paid media personalities.

Reflecting on how he got into radio, Kageni states that it was by chance. Although his uncle is Royal Media Services (RMS) CEO SK Macharia, Kageni says that he had never considered a career in media before he accidentally landed a job at Capital FM.

Kageni’s parents had sent him to the UK to get a law degree but he soon dropped out to pursue various income-generating opportunities, including working for a fish distributor. He eventually found his way back to Kenya and thrust himself into various businesses including organizing events and selling cars.

Alongside friends including Trevor Kanja and DJ Pinye, he decided to set up a show in Kenya featuring DJs he connected with in the UK. They decided to advertise the event on Capital FM, a popular urban radio station. At the station, they were informed that they would need to pay an additional Ksh40,000 for the voice-over – money they didn’t have, prompting Kageni to decide to voice it himself.

“Basically if I had Ksh40,000 that day I’d never be on radio,” he observed in a past interview, explaining that he was offered script-reading roles at the station after Capital was impressed with his voice-over.

“I paid for the airtime, then they said we need Ksh40,000 for the voice-over – the guy who speaks the ad on the radio and its sound nice. I said can I do it? They said it’s your ad, if its rubbish its rubbish…I did the voice over and then they asked me, have you ever been on radio?” Kageni stated.

He was eventually offered the chance to host the Sunday soul show on Capital. To date, Kageni credits Capital with teaching him the ropes of radio.

He moved on from Capital after getting an offer to host a show on the then newly-launched Nation FM. Here, he established himself as a talented and skilled radio presenter, and Radio Africa Group soon came calling.

Radio Africa Group CEO Patrick Quarcoo personally reached out to Kageni to convince him o join his company. Telling the story of how he was hired over lunch at a city restaurant, Kageni revealed that, to get a better offer, he lied about how much he was making at Nation FM.

“We met at Trattoria and he tells me to make the big switch to Kíss FM. Nation was paying me Ksh60,000, but I told him I am being paid Ksh180,000,” Kageni stated. Quarcoo offered to double it, handing him a Ksh360,000 salary.

Over time, his salary has reportedly increased to well over a million. He has also expanded his business interests beyond media to PR consultancy and a travel and lifestyle business.




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