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KTN Wiki Info:
KTN ( Kenya Television Network ) is the leading television station in Kenya with its headquarters at the I & M Towers in downtown Nairobi. It was founded in March 1990 by Jared Kangwana and was the first non-pay privately owned TV-station in Africa, and the first to break KBC’s monopoly in Kenya. KTN became famous for Activism Journalism in the 1990s, developing a sophisticated, aggressive and unique style news coverage, and has continued with the same hard line stance, issues-based reporting to date, branding itself as the ‘authoritative and independent’ news channel. KTN became the model for some governments in Africa when they allowed media liberalisation to take place in the late 1990s. Many of the new radio and TV stations across Central and East Africa not only relied on KTN(Kenyan Television Network) as a model, but benefited directly in terms of recruiting former KTN staff to run their operations.
History of KTN:
Since 1990, Kenya Television Network has offered a mixture of relayed re-transmission of Cable News Network (CNN) programming, business and entertainment, as well as MTV, and European, American and Australian programming, in addition to programs developed in other African states. KTN also filed stories for use by affiliated foreign stations. KTN reporters doubled as foreign correspondents and news sources for CNN World Report, BBC, and VOA. Transmitting on the UHF channel, KTN started out as a pilot project for a 24-hour subscriber TV service in Nairobi and its environs, but abandoned plans to scramble its signal and for most of the 1990s derived its revenue from advertising and TV production services. Founded by Jared Kangwana, its early success attracted bids for joint ownership by London-based Maxwell Communications, by South African MNET, and by the then ruling party Kenya African National Union (KANU).
The station won the bid to carry the 1992 Olympics, as well as the rights to several other international events. The negotiations for global television rights to the 1992 Olympic festivals in Albertville and Barcelona marked the first time that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had exercised complete authority over financial discussions with the world’s television networks. KTN has proven adept at competing internationally against other media corporations. Effectively, the competition represented KTN forced the state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Service, as well as other stations in neighbouring African states to improve the quality of programming.
While Jared Kangwana had plans to expand KTN, and had built new facilities to house the station, he allowed free rein to KTN’s news division. Then ruling party KANU functionaries are said to have frequently called the newsroom and editors on behalf of the state-president of Kenya, Daniel arap Moi, to demand the spiking of KTN news stories. Such control was said to have been sanctioned by Moi himself, who had developed the habit while he was still vice-president under state-president Jomo Kenyatta. As vice-president, Daniel arap Moi had grown used to making regular calls to the offices of The Standard which was foreign-owned at that time, and to other media outlets, to demand that they drop stories or modify them. The practice was revived when KTN was established.
Nonetheless, the success of KTN inspired Africans. As a result, several independent productions were set up in Kenya to generate programs to service both KTN and KBC, as well as other stations that were to be established. Many of the exile communities from neighbouring African states relied on KTN to air their concerns. The station fostered a marked change in the urban culture of Kenya as well.
The vast majority of beneficiaries of the growth of KTN were the music and theatre industries, as well as the African fashion industry that benefited from the improved media culture. Nairobi, already the hub of the East and Central African region, became even more fashionable, hosting more international events and trade shows, and attracting more tourists from all over the world. The quality and popularity of programming at KTN was remarkably exceptional, even by international standards. In these early years, Kenyan commercials began to win international awards, and foreign correspondents flying into Africa came increasingly to depend on KTN reporters for orientation and research. KTN also provided briefings for relief agencies and corporate investors, as well as access to KTN facilities for editing and filing stories to stations outside Africa.
Even though it was privately owned, KTN struggled to provide independent news coverage because of excessive political interference with its editorial direction. The political interference finally forced KTN to scrap the transmission of local news for over one year between 1993 and 1994. In the editorial meeting at which the announcement was made by the General Manager Mike Roles, the reporters in the newsroom stood stunned while Roles rationalised the decision to scrap the reporting on local news, claiming that it was necessitated by financial considerations only.
Eventually KTN was acquired by the Standard Group, consisting of African business people, and partly owned by Daniel arap Moi. [The Standard]  then had a daily circulation of 54,000 and this has improved remarkably since a 2008 relaunch as ‘the bold new Standard’ taking on prime competitor the Daily Nation’s readership. It also publishes a Swahili paper called Baraza which has since been continued though it retains it in its official name KTN Baraza Limited. Besides The Standard and KTN, the media house operated Capital FM radio which broadcasts in most urban Kenyan towns and world wide via the internet. Capital FM has since been acquired by Chris Kirubi a Kenyan businessman. The Standard Group in 2008 announced its intentions to enter the lucrative business and subsequently acquired Toads Media Limited, which operated Radio Simba and had national frequencies. The station went off-air in early 2009 and is expected to resume transmission after a rebrand as part of the Standard Group family.
Kangwana later sued the government and the Standard Group for moneys owed him and for compensation for his losses.