The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will install a total of 90 FM radio and television broadcast loggers equipment valued at Sh1billion countrywide in the next three financial years to enhance its broadcast logging capacity.
The equipment in the project to be implemented in three phases will be rack-mounted and preferably connected to an FM and TV antenna (Aerial) erected to receive the broadcasted signals in the locations. A wide area network will also be deployed for connectivity.
According to the Communications Authority of Kenya Director in-charge of Frequencies Spectrum Management, Mr Tom Olwero, the government has allocated Sh400 million for the first phase that begins this financial year 2021-2022.
Olwero revealed that 19 broadcast loggers will be installed in Kisii, Meru, Webuye, Kitui, Kapenguria, Narok, Marsabit, Migori, Embu, Lodwar, Kericho, Kabarnet, Maralal, Malindi, Voi, Kakuma, Siaya, Busia, and Kinamba in phase one.
In phase two, which begins July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 installation of the broadcast loggers will begin. Kakamega, Wajir, Homa Bay, Chuka, Kapsakwony, Murang’a, Maseno, Rongo, Nanyuki, Mandera, Hola, Garsen and Kilifi.
And in Phase three that begins July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024 the following centres will have broadcast loggers; Garbatulla, Holo Market, Juja, Kapsowar, Kawangware, Kayole, Kehancha, Kahawa, Kerarapon, Kianjai, South C, Kinoo and Korogocho
Olwero who was speaking during a site visit to government offices within Kericho Town to identify hosting sites for installation of the broadcast loggers said the equipment is useful in case issues arise concerning the broadcasts, which can then be retrieved.
“It also helps us in regulating this resource in terms of the content. To check whether what is in the content there is the required minimum amount of Kenyan content transmitted by these radio and TV stations and whether content for children is catered for because even children are consumers of broadcast services and we must have children’s programmes in the law,” said Olwero.
The CA Director in charge of Frequencies Spectrum Management also assured that the broadcast loggers are safe and such loggers have already been in existence in major towns including Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, and Kisumu.
“We have now seen the need to have them installed in smaller towns so that we have a record of the content of the broadcast and this is content that is ordinarily transmitted to the mwananchi. So, what we are recording is just a record of it and it is not a very different or new content other than what is aired on radio and TV,”said Olwero.
He explained that the broadcast signals travel for around 40 to 60 kilometers noting that in large counties there will be a need for more than one broadcast logger.
“We are looking for accommodation mostly in government offices and parastatals where it will be easy to finalise and then we install this equipment in due course. And so we are currently carrying out a survey at various government premises for purposes of ascertaining whether they meet the site specification requirements,” added the director.
Olwero was accompanied by Mr Peter Ikumilu, the Communications Authority of Kenya Assistant Director in charge of Multi-Media content and innovation (Broadcasting), who pointed out that the Authority has the mandate to come up with the programming code which is basically the broadcast standard that has a number of requirements including local content which should be 40 percent.
Ikumilu further said that broadcasters should comply with the code on children programming which is two hours of every week and should broadcast appropriate content within the watershed period which is between 5 am to 10 pm adding that broadcasters are also supposed to adhere to other journalistic codes of conduct for the practice of journalism in the country.
“For us to effectively ensure that the broadcasters uphold these standards, we record all broadcast done on TV and radio. The recorded broadcast will help us review and be able to address issues raised and also be able to analyze to see whether broadcasters are complying and to undertake any regulatory action that is needed,” Ikumilu said.
He noted that as the country gears up towards the 2022 polls, it was really necessary for the authority to be able to record all broadcasts and be able to address matters expeditiously to ensure that the broadcasters are aligned to what they are supposed to do.
On his part, the Acting Communications Authority of Kenya Regional Manager – Nyanza Regional Office, Mr Brian Mukhongo, reiterated that the purpose of the broadcast loggers is to protect the consumer by recording information so as to address the various complaints that emanate from the consumption of ICT services.
“So, if we get a complaint, we can actually go back and analyze the data and address the complaint. So that is the mandate CA is charged with under the law,” said Mukhongo.
During the site visit to Kericho, the Directors identified three premises where the broadcast loggers will be hosted in the town including the Kericho County Commissioner’s office, the Kericho Kenya News Agency office, and the Kericho Post Office.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is charged with the responsibility of regulating the Information and Communications Sectors including broadcasting, cybersecurity, multimedia, telecommunications, electronic commerce, postal, and courier services as well as managing the numbering and frequency spectrum resources.
By Kibe Mburu