Irene Karamuta: “I have what it takes to build my own media empire because God has given me all I need.”
For a young lady like Irene Karamuta to harbour the seeemingly overzealous media ownership ambitions, to many people, it might look crazy, absurd and above all unachievable.
But for keen media watchers, Karamuta’s desires are not unfounded. The initiator of first ever vernacular FM radio station was a woman. Rose Kimotho in year 2000 against all odds, pioneered private vernacular radio broadcasting in Kenya through Kameme FM which today prides as the mother of vernacular radio.
But as you wonder which wheel Karamuta then is about to reinvent if there was a woman before her, MKN reporter had a chat with the Meru FM news presenter and undoubtedly her fast rising career star holds more than meets the eye.
MKN REPORTER: Today, you are a well known Kimeru radio presenter but few people know your story before you hit the airwaves. How or where did it all begin?
IRENE: Well, before I graduated, that is towards the end of 2013, I joined Mwariama FM radio which is based in Meru just to grow my career. As you know, If you want to be forgotten as a journalist, complete college and go back to the village.
MKN REPORTER: I like your last point about the the village because nothing comes on a silverly platter. If you need bush meat, you can’t avoid venturing into the bush. So, how is Mwariama FM?
IRENE: You should have phrased your question in past tense because I only stayed at Mwariama FM for 9 months. But unknown to many, I used to receive no pay but I thank God I made it through. In fact, I can boldly say that God sent angels to support me all through.
But my faith, I always say, was much supported by the fact that I was brought up in the village where hardwork and trust in God were taught to me as some of the strongest virtues one can ever have amid impossibilities.
MKN REPORTER: Great stuffthere! If we could only have 10 people like you. Tell us what happened after your nine months stay at Mwariama FM.
IRENE: It was not after because while still at Mwariama, I received a call from Meru FM Head of Radio Frank Gituma Makathimo after he heard me present news at Mwariama FM. Frank encouraged me to keep it up and in mid 2014 I applied for an intership at Mediamax when Meru FM was just two years old, and thank God I got it!
By then Meru FM’s social media and website were down. As such, I was tasked to take the Meru FM Digital platform to the next level which I did by making it a pure Kimeru website where posts were done in Kimeru language, a move tha was welcomed by our head Gituma Makathimo.
When this approach was replicated on our Facebook platform that had minimal followers, we would immediately start to witness drastic growth.
MKN REPORTER: Are you in a nutshell telling us that the use of Kimeru language is the only thing that was lacking?
IRENE: No! Determination to see the page pick and grow was also a driving force. I remember I could use my phone at night to share the Kimeru content allover. The feedback motivated me. And as we began the year 2015, I was employed as Meru FM Digital Editor.
MKN REPORTER: Sounds like your hustle has just started to pay back…
IRENE: Depends on what you term as pay back because I think I am a thousand mile away. But I can’t complain because after a few months I was given Saturday shift to anchor news in the afternoon.
MKN REPORTER: By all assessments you have had a radio breakthrough. In other words, you have gotten to a point where many can only dream of. Tell us how you managed to get there.
IRENE: First, in everything I get to do, I give it my all and that is what I did while assigned to Meru FM Digital and Saturday news. But my breakthrough, as you put it, I can say came after I initiated ‘Uramuigua’ (Have you heard them) show.
The main aim of this program was to highlight how people rise from grass to grace through highlighting their profiles. The program was received so well that it became like my identity.This encouraged me so much such that as we talk today, the feature is still airing on Meru FM.
MKN REPORTER: Mmmm….so this was your climax of radio journey?
IRENE: Tufiakwa (God forbid)! Two years ago I left the Meru FM digital desk news desk as a news editor and presenter during the breakfast shift which I did it till I went for a maternity break. Currently, I am in the evening shift (6pm to 9pm) following the recent restructuring that mainly affected the station’s news desk.
God rewards a genuine soul. So, in everything you go for, do it with a genuine heart and give it your all!
This coming Monday, 19 August 2019, Irene, the self-proclaimed Meru female media personality with the biggest following on social media, will be celebrating her 2nd wedding anniversary together with her beloved gospel music husband, Caleb Masaki.
MKN wish the two lovebirds happy moments as they continue to grow old together while reminding them that the world has not forgotten the vows they made to each other. As such, stick to your vows & promises!
HAPPY 2ND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY IRENE & CALEB.
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