Sunday April 23, 2006 ( By BBC presenter and journalist, Joseph Warungu )

The Director of BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman, visited Kenya in February this year for a five-day tour that included attending the launch of BBC radio programming on partner stations Star 97.0 FM.

BBC programmes from BBC Swahili and the BBC World Service English language output for Africa can be heard on both Sheki FM which broadcasts to Mombasa and Star FM which broadcasts to Garissa.

Star FM will also feature programmes from BBC Somali. Nigel Chapman said: "Kenya is a very important market for us with over four million weekly listeners, and I am delighted that audiences in Mombasa and Garissa now have the opportunity to listen to BBC programmes through their local stations.

Director of Sheki FM, Tony Msalame said: "The fact that listeners of Sheki FM will have the opportunity to enjoy BBC programmes is an exciting development for us.

"Sheki is the fastest growing FM radio station in Kenya's coast region and I know audiences will appreciate the added value which BBC programmes in Swahili and English will bring to our output."

Director of Star FM, Mohamed Osman said: "We are delighted that the Director of the BBC World Service, Mr Nigel Chapman, launched BBC programming on Star FM, the first and only FM Station in North Eastern Kenya.

"Our listeners can now get global and regional news and analysis from the BBC in Somali, Swahili and English alongside Star FM's news and entertainment programmes without changing frequency."

As part of the BBC's commitment to audiences in Kenya, for the first time in any country, promotional trails have been tailored to reflect the local feel and style of the country.

BBC programmes can also be heard on partner station Kameme FM in Nairobi, Nakuru, Nyeri and Meru and Radio Simba in Nairobi.