Born in 1943
Head of Royal Media Services Samuel Kamau Macharia
reigns today over a media empire. As the owner of a television channel and a number of local language radio stations, he is one of the key players in the Kenyan media sector and one of the richest people in the country. His Royal Media Services
(RMS) group is one of three major companies controlling the media in Kenya, along with the state-controlled Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
and the Aga Khan
’s Nation Media Group.
“SK”, as he is popularly known, currently controls 47% of the radio broadcasting market in Kenya and his market share is still increasing. By the end of 2012, he should have 50% of the market, according to the Kenya Advertising Research Foundation
(KARF). He is a discreet figure but keeps tight control of Royal Media Services with the support of family members and a number of close collaborators.
After having been given a difficult time under Daniel arap Moi
, Macharia is today a staunch supporter of the current president, Mwai Kibaki
. He made no bones, moreover, about lining up his media behind the head of state in the 2005 referendum. With general elections due in March 2013, followed by the departure of Kibaki, he has taken care to maintain good relations with other political figures. As an enemy of deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta
, he has moved closer to prime minister Raila Odinga
, showing him increasingly clear support as the 2013 elections approach. He has been careful, however, to maintain old business and political friendships while at the same time enlarging his circle of influential allies.