Bulala FM is located in Budalangi Division, Busia County. The radio station broadcasts upto 50 km radius both in Olunyala, the community’s local language, and in Kiswahili to various parts of Busia County. The radio signal can also be heard in Lugala, across the border in Uganda. Currently, the station broadcasts 14 hours of programming a day, from 5am to midnight, on 107.5FM. Bulala FM is managed by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) at the National level and owned by the local community. The Administrator seconded by KMD is responsible for the overall management of the station. The local community ensures active participation, ownership and content development.
- Frequency: 107.5 FM
- Geographical reach: 50 KM Radius
- Language/s of broadcast: Olunyala and Kiswahili
- Broadcast duration: 14 hours, from 5a.m to midnight
- Location: Budalangi, Busia County
- Estimated audience: 150,000 listeners
- Contact Person: Samuel Namuleli, Officer in Charge
Bulala FM was established in Budalangi by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD). The radio went on air on July 4th, 2009. The radio station is one of the four stations run by KMD, as part of the RANET-Kenya project – which aims to set up communications infrastructure to inform communities about the weather and the environment. Other similar RANET FM stations in Kenya, which are operational, include Kangema-Murang’a (a landslide prone area), Suswa-Narok (frequent drought), Kwale (prone to drought and malaria and Bunyala(a flood prone area). RANET (RAdio InterNET) – Kenya is part of the global RANET project – a rural communications project that seeks to transmit weather and climate information to rural communities using Internet and radio.
Bulala FM was initiated in 2004 after a seminar by the KMD. A launch was planned in 2005, but lack of funding, and later the political violence of 2007/8, slowed it down. In February 2009, the KMD encouraged formation of a new committee and sent some of the new committee members on a KMD radio training course in Nairobi. The KMD also sent committee members to another of its radio projects, Kangema FM, to see how Kangema – regarded as the flagship station of the RANET-Kenya project – worked. The trainees returned to Budalangi and conducted seminars with members of their listenership community. They also set about raising funds for a building. Success came in the form of grants from the international NGO, Action Aid, for the foundations of the building. The station later received funding from the Western Kenya Community Driven Development and Flood Mitigation Project, a partnership between the World Bank and the Ministry of Special Programmes, which helped build the offices. The KMD donated equipment. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) gave a grant for power connection
Structures were formed and staff recruited on the advice of the KMD. Bulala FM is overseen by a local Management Committee. The local management committee was established in 2007 and was launched in February 2008 by the then District Officer and approved by the District Commissioner (D.C) Bunyala on behalf of the Kenya Meteorological Department. The initial mandate of the committee was; sensitize the community members about the importance of the radio, identify site for the operationalisation of the radio and recruit broadcasters among the Abanyala and recommend them for training by Kenya Meteorological Services (KMS). The current primary responsibility of the Local Management Committee is to provide leadership, guidance, strategic direction and to make policies.
The vision of the radio station is to become a leading, community operational forecasting station that provides optimum contribution for improved livelihoods. Its mission is to communicate weather and climate and other developmental information, predictions, warnings and other public-good information to rural communities. Its goal is to Inform, educate and entertain for sustainable livelihoods