November 29, 2022

In 2015, when news broke that President Barack Obama would visit Kenya, news anchors Jeff Koinange and Larry Madowo had placed a bet on who would land an interview with him.

They both agreed that if either of them got to interview the then leader of the free world, the loser would have to part with Ksh 100,000. If they both lost, the journalists would add Ksh 20,000 and donate it to charity. 

As fate would have it, they both missed the opportunity that went to NTV’s Olive Burrows, who worked for Capital FM at the time.

News anchor, Olive Burrows, in an interview with President Barack Obama in 2015

After the interview, the media house released a video explaining how it landed the exclusive interview.

Former Capital FM Editorial Director, Michael Mumo, narrated that when Obama’s visit was announced, Olive asked him “Why can’t we get an interview with the US president?”

Mumo told her to start thinking about the type of questions that she would ask if granted the opportunity.

He then wrote to the US Embassy Department of Public Affairs requesting to conduct the interview, which was sent to Washington. 

As the date of Obama’s arrival drew closer, the embassy contacted Mumo, instructing him to start planning the possibility of conducting the interview. 

Olive recalled that her biggest fear was that she would ask stupid questions because everyone cautioned her about it. 

“I just wished people would tell me what the stupid questions were, so that I would know to avoid them,” she narrated. 

Before the interview started, Obama threw Olive off her game, when he entered and called her by name.

“I had planned to start with a House of Cards question. I wanted him to relax, to chill and be more receptive to answer my questions. But he comes in and says ‘I’m ready to start now’. This is someone whose time you don’t want to waste,” the news anchor recalled. 

“Overall for a novice, as I’ve been branded, it was good. I’m happy with the interview. I’m so grateful to the Capital FM news team. 

“This wasn’t a one-person effort, everybody came out fully. This was a Capital FM news team project. This was ours, we owned it and I think we killed it,” Olive concluded.   

News anchor Olive Burrows in an interview with President Barack Obama in 2015

Watch the Capital FM team narrate how the interview was arranged.  

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