Citizen television, Kenya’s leading TV station in terms of viewership, has lost one of its best presenters in what is a major blow to Royal Media Services.
Willis Raburu, who has risen to fame while at Citizen TV, resigned a few weeks ago and is now serving notice. It is not clear when his last day of working is, but inside sources say he could be leaving Royal Media Services any time from now.
Raburu, arguably one of the fast-rising journalists in Kenya, was hired by citizen TV in October 2010 when he was just 24 years after he graduated from Moi University with a degree in information science, specializing in media. Before then, he had worked for K24 as an intern.
“When I was 24 and I got hired by Citizen Television straight out of campus,” he is quoted as saying in a past interview.
“That was a very pivotal point in my life. Many did not believe that one can get employed at a reputable organization without having connections. The job came at a time when I had been turned down by other local TV stations – they told me I did not have the right type of voice for broadcast.”
Although he has not publicly stated his next stop, it is understood that he could be joining NTV, where he will take up The Trend show from Larry Madowo, who abandoned the programme due to what he called imitations by other TV stations.
Raburu has been presenting various programme at Citizen TV, including Power Breakfast, lunchtime news bulletin and 10 over 10 show on Saturday night. Some time back he used to bring the weekly TruthMeter show, which was stopped.
This is the second biggest loss for Citizen TV this year after the broadcast powerhouse lost prime-time news presenter Janet Mbugua, who had become synonymous with the station.
Raburu, who has put on weight considerably since joining Citizen seven years ago, has won fans on TV through his engaging presentation skills. Quite often, he finds himself part of the audience, which he had perfected with now popular 10 over 10 show. A source close to his family said, his wife has expressed reservations on the manner in which he ‘mingles with ladies’ on the night show.
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At one time, in January 2016, he injured his leg live on air while taking part in physical exercise in the studio during a power breakfast show forcing his co-host Kirigo Ng’arua to end the show abruptly. [see video at the end]
He has won a number of awards including Maji Award was for a three part feature series Deadly Waters, Children’s Rights Award for a series on the Journey of Resilience of children from Rwanda and Road Safety Awar for the series Killer Drivers.
Over a month ago, Raburu announced on social media that he could be starting his own media business soon and even shared a photo of the company’s logo. This was the first signal that he could be on his way off the Citizen TV screen.
If he joins NTV, it will be a big catch for Nation Media Group as he could bring in a light way of presentation that is lacking at the station. He also has huge following on social media and Instagram, which can easily be converted into TV viewers.
He is said to make ‘lots of money’ from corporates and other organisations for whom he promotes brands and campaigns, though this could be negatively affected if he decides to leave media completely.