Boy oh boy, things are heating up in Kenya’s broadcasting arena! It’s like a game of musical chairs, except with TV and radio licenses instead of chairs. The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been a busy bee, dishing out a whopping 26 new licenses to broadcasters in just three months up to March. Talk about an influx of fresh blood!

Now, we’re not just talking about a handful of licenses here. The grand total has soared to a staggering 616 licensees. That’s a 4.4 percent increase from the previous count of 590 in December. Looks like Kenya is becoming a hotbed of broadcasting excitement!

Out of those 26 shiny new licenses, 12 were snatched up by commercial free-to-air TV stations, while 10 lucky folks got their hands on licenses for commercial FM radio stations. And let’s not forget the four licenses that were gleefully received by community FM radio operators. It’s like a party, and everyone’s invited!

On top of it, the CA has been playing matchmaker, assigning a generous helping of 14 FM sound broadcasting frequencies to broadcasters during this review period. That’s double the amount they assigned in the previous quarter. It’s like they’re saying, “You get a frequency, and you get a frequency, and everybody gets a frequency!”

The CA isn’t stopping there. They’ve got big plans up their sleeves. They’re on a mission to introduce a new digital radio standard before December next year. Why, you ask? Well, it’s all about addressing the scarcity of analogue frequencies, which are teetering on the edge of saturation. We don’t want our frequencies feeling all claustrophobic now, do we?

The pilot program for this digital radio extravaganza, called Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB), will kick off in Nairobi and its surroundings. This nifty technology will allow broadcasters to utilize their current spectrum for transmitting signals. It’s like a magic trick, but instead of pulling rabbits out of hats, they’re pulling out wider coverage, business opportunities, and a kick to the entry barriers. Plus, it promises better audio quality, diverse content, and cha-ching, more moolah for the government.

Oh, and did I mention the growing subscriptions to broadcasting services? They might have only increased by a humble 0.2 percent to reach 6.21 million from 6.19 million, but every little bit counts, right? Leading the pack in the pay-TV services is GOtv, strutting its stuff with a whopping 2.67 million subscribers. Looks like they’ve got Kenya hooked on their fabulous content!