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Media Review

Business Today editor teaching at US university



James Ndone

A former Business Today editor is now a communication instructor in the United States. Mr James Ndone, who holds a first class honours in communication from Moi University, landed a Masters scholarship to further his studies at Illinois State University (ISU).

As part of his scholarship, Mr Ndone is teaching the basic course in communication known as Communication as Critical Inquiry, an equivalent of introduction to communication in the Kenyan curriculum.  “It’s a new experience and the system here is totally different from the Kenyan curriculum,” he said via a video call. “There is a lot of reading and research here and one has to stay on top of his game. I would call it survival of the fittest.”

He added: “I am teaching undergraduates in communication and the experience has been incredible. My students have been patient with me and they really appreciate the face of international scholars in the US, portraying a culture of diversity.”

Mr Ndone started off as an intern at BT in 2012 under the mentorship of renowned business writer and editor, Mr Luke Mulunda. He would later rise to the ranks of the editor, mentoring interns and news reporters at BT, Kenya’s leading online business portal.

“Business Today opened me to a world of possibilities,” said Mr Ndone, who before leaving for the US, worked briefly as a communications officer at Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS).  “When I joined BT, I had no idea how business articles are written or edited, but I learnt the ropes of business writing, editing.”

He says the problem with young writers is focusing on getting internships at large media houses. “They get the fame of the name of interning at the media giants, but they lack personalised attention like what I got from BT,” he said. “It’s always good to dream big, but the famous editors always start small. I took baby steps and patience paid off.
What next after getting the Masters? “I have not yet decided what to do, but there are two options – either go ahead and attain my doctorate or work for two years before going back for my doctorate.”

Mr Ndone, an ardent sports fan also runs a sports news website, “The skills I learnt from BT are manifested in Sportika, which will grow into a leading sports brand in Kenya,” he said.

James can be reached on phone +13095303287 or [email protected]

The writer, a correspondent with Business Today, is a football commentator and finds the money factor in the game. Email him at: [email protected]

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Media Review

Former KTN anchor James Smart launches digital TV show



TV personality James Smart (right), a renowned journalist has teamed with political strategist Marvin Tumbo to launch a new show.

Two smart guys with an unhealthy appetite for Afro-Politics and unmatched knowledge of International politics have come together to produce a TV series that captures African politics in the most hilarious fashion yet.  Simply, its two guys, two beers and their views…. in a bar!

These guys would be enemies if they were actual politicians but instead they are political pals because they don’t know who else to turn to with their constant brain surges of why the world works the way it does and what that means for Africa.

They don’t need to agree, they just need therapy. These guys are James Smart and Marvin Tumbo.

TV personality James Smart, a renowned journalist,  and Marvin Tumbo, a political strategist, have combined their expertise to come up with a political programme that’s gaining ground among audiences across Africa.

Marvin Tumbo is a well-respected political strategist having worked for three heads of state.  He has led many high profile projects including visits to Kenya by Obama and the Pope. Marvin helps government departments execute social media strategies to engage the public on various civic initiatives.

Having been a behind the scenes force for most of his career, Marvin is ready to share his political views with audiences everywhere. The two are working under What’s Good Networks, an online entertainment network run by young African creatives, which seeks to connecting young urban audiences through dedicated lifestyle channels featuring the next wave of African talent.

READ: Citizen TV’s Lulu Hassan lands a new job
SEE: Mark Maasai’s peculiar  side hustle

James Smart is one of Kenya’s most prolific political commentators popular with wide audiences, particularly on Twitter @JamesSmart.  Having started The Trend at NTV in 2009, he then moved to KTN in 2013 to start three new shows: News Sources, KTN Live Wire and The Breakfast Show.

James Smart’s new passion is engaging young audiences with political affairs in a digitable way and reaching them where they are: on mobile watching what they want when they want it.

Each show is themed towards current affairs with five segments featuring other topical issues. The hosts source one final topic from trending social news.

Show is recorded as live in a modern ‘local’ called J’s Fresh Bar & Kitchen, which is a sports bar popular with residents in the Lavington/Westlands/Kilimani area.

The show is filmed with the natural bar interactions- friendly conversations in the background complete with bar sounds because let’s face it- you wouldn’t have a natural conversation about politics in a studio, you’d be in your local.

SEE: Nation Media rehires form top editor as director


Thursday 8:30 pm – Africa & Global affairs

Sunday 8:30 pm – Kenya Affairs

Show format : 24 min

Show Milestones: Facebook

Episode 1 – 10.7k views

Episode 2 – 23k views

Episode 3 – 26.4k views

Episode 4 – 14k views

Epidoe 5 – 26k views

Episode 6 – 27k Views

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Executive Decision

NMG rehires former senior editor as director

Veteran editor rejoins media house’s board in an advisory role at a time its products are under the microscope over alleged political bias



Former Nation Media Group Editorial Director Wangethi Mwangi. He has rejoined the company as a non-executive director.

Former Nation Media Group (NMG) Editorial Director Wangethi Mwangi has made a comeback as the media house seeks to revamp its editorial output to boost revenue.

Mr Wangethi, who left the twin towers nearly 10 years ago, has been appointed as a non-executive director and will be playing an advisory role. NMG, the region’s largest media house, has seen its revenues decline over the years amid a squeeze in advertising spend by the government and major corporates.

Last year, former Special Projects Editor Macharia Gaitho was also recalled out of retirement to head the political desk at Nation Centre as the country prepared for the August 8 General Election.

However, the media house has been under the microscope both internally and externally, due to perceptions of bias in the coverage of issues emerging from the contested presidential election.

READ: Sh1 million up for grabs in Churchill comedy talent search
SEE: Standard top editor on the spot as layoff looms

On Thursday, for instance, questions were raised after the Daily Nation went to town with a splash headline indicating the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had been let off the hook while, in actual sense, the majority of the Supreme Court judges based their decision to nullify President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win on account of illegalities and irregularities it committed during the transmission of results.

The headline was based on the four judges’ view that though there were “systemic institutional problems”, they could not finger anyone to have been personally culpable for the same.

What raised more questions was that the headline was at variance with the paper’s editorial, which demanded that “IEBC must get it right in the repeat poll.”

In the newspaper industry, an editorial, also known as the leader, is the product of deliberations by the editorial board regarding which issues are important for their readership to know the newspaper’s opinion.

At other times, an editorial presents the opinion of the publisher, manager or the editor himself.

The question that then arises is at what point did Daily Nation’s editors decide to lead with a story exonerating IEBC when they had already made a decision that more was needed from the electoral agency ahead of the fresh election?

Related: Macharia Gaitho returns to Daily Nation as political reporter

The story was also at variance with a piece done by Gaitho on the same. Some critics have offered that the decision could have been informed by an attempt at product differentiation but still, this does not reflect well on the media house, which only recently had to reach out to Nasa after Siaya senator James Orengo asked Opposition supporters to boycott its products.

These are some of the issues Wangethi is expected to confront if he is to enhance NMG’s fortunes.

Currently, he is a member of the Media Complaints Commission (MCC), a position he was appointed to by Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru on September 6 last year for a period of three years.

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Media Review

Comedy is paying big – just ask Eric Omondi

When I started doing comedy, we were being paid with food. Now, it’s paying. (see story below)



ERIC OMONDI: Comedy is paying and the future is very bright.

Eric Omondi has thrown his weight behind the comedy industry as a good source of income. Omondi, who is one of the most successful comedians in Africa, says the future is bright for comedy.

He was speaking about his time in the industry, noting that when he started, he was being paid with food.

“The comedy industry is going good places,” he is quoted by Word Is as saying. “When I started doing comedy, we were being paid with food. Now, it’s paying. Parents need to encourage their kids. Comedy is paying and the future is very bright.”

The commedy industry has churned out a number of successful individuals who have become millionaires such as Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill, Eric Omondi himself, Felix Odiwour popularly known as Jalang’o and Walter Mong’are aka Nyambane, among others

Omondi, alongside other commedians, quit Churchill Show over what many believe is pay-related fallout.  Other programmes Vitimbi and Vioja Mahakamani are among comedy shows that have hit a rough patch due to payment issues.

The hardest hit by pay-related complain is Churchill Show, which has lost a number of comedians, adversely affecting the quality of his show. Media observers say if Churchill Show doesn’t enhance its appeal, it will lose the critical middle class audience that has kept it growing.

Perhaps Laugh Industry, the commercial arm of the business, should invest more in training and proper mentorship of the budding comedians to diversify their sense of humour from sex and relationships.

SEE: Maina Kageni tops highest paid radio and TV presenters

But what has worried the audience is the exits of key comedians. It started with Teacher Wanjiku, who it emerged felt shortchanged in terms of compensation. While on appearing on the show, she landed a deal with Airtel that made her lots of money, and her trouble began. It’s said the money she received from Airtel became an issue between her and Churchill who demand for a large percentage.

Teacher Wanjiku left Churchill for good and decided to try her own show which, unfortunately, did not work well for her.

Eric Omondi went solo. Mr Omondi, who had become a co-host also left the show in a mysterious way to “pursue his dream as a solo artist.” The comedian said he had come age. However, it is believed that there was a fallout.

Chipukeezy, the hilarious comedian-cum radio presenter also followed suit after the managers failed to pay him and decided to concentrate on his radio career. To him, all the Churchill comedians had issues with payments something that made most of them quit the show.

READ: Eric Omondi clinches lucrative deal with Bidco

YY is the recent comedian who has publicly said that he is quitting the show. He shared a post on his social media handle saying goodbye to his many fans. YY left Churchill show to look for greener pastures. According to the comedian, he earns peanuts yet he is a talented artist. Few days after quitting, YY got a new job with Kenyatta University television KUTV on “The Comic Show”.

Eric Omondi also recalled one of his worst shows where no one laughed at his jokes. “My worst show was in Malindi, they had never heard of me and a local TV was launching its mast. It was the first time people there were seeing me,” narrated Omondi. “I went there and I was late. I took the mic and I was like ‘Hawayunii’. For two hours nobody laughed. I will never forget that day.”

Is Churchill Show running out of ideas?


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Media Review

The highest paid TV and radio presenters

Maina Kageni of Classic 105 FM is the highest paid presenter while Jeff Koinange takes home the biggest salary among TV news anchors



Maina Kageni has made Classic 105 one of the most popular radio stations in Kenya

Over the past few years, journalism has become one of the most lucrative professions in Kenya. The industry, more so radio and TV, is attracting droves of people looking to make more money and build a brand.

Popular radio presenters and news anchors earn close to or more than one million shillings per month exclusive of other bonuses.  Here are the salary ranges of select media personalities in Kenya.

Maina Kageni

Maina Kageni tops the list of highest paid radio presenters in the country. In 2016, the talented journalist earned a total of Ksh1.2m-Ksh1.8 million per month. Besides earning from his employer, Radio Africa, the Classic FM presenter makes several thousand from real estate companies who advertise during his morning breakfast show.

Daniel Ndambuki  AKA  Mwalimu Kingangi

Daniel Ndambuki co-presents the Classic FM morning show with Maina Kageni. The popularity of the morning breakfast show at Classic FM has grown tremendously under the duo. Their show is now ranked position 1 in the country in terms of the money it brings to the company. But as their popularity grows so does Churchill’s pockets. Today, the comedian /journalist earns Ksh1M-Ksh1.3M per month.

Radio Jambo’s  Mbusi

Three years ago, Mbusi shocked reggae lovers when he announced he was living Ghetto Radio to join Radio Jambo, where he started earning Ksh650,000 per month. By end of 2016 his salary was Ksh 750,000 per month.

Shaffie Weru

Shaffie Weru never disappoints when it comes to drama. But behind that is a fat pay slip. Shaffie’s salary crossed the Ksh500, 000 mark in 2015, which could have grown by over Ksh200,0000.

Willy M Tuva

Willy M Tuva,popularly known as Mzazi host the show,Mseto East Africa, which promotes East African music especially for upcoming artistes. Initially the show was only featured on Radio Citizen but later incorporated into Citizen TV programs.

Mzazi is an employee of Royal Media Services and is a master of Kiswahili language. Due to his soaring popularity, the talented journalist is rewarded handsomely. His salary is above Ksh400,000.

SEE: Larry Asego quits Classic 105 FM

Jeff Koinange tops TV salaries

Lilian Muli  Ksh 500,000 – 1,000,000ksh

She is a senior news anchor at Citizen TV. Besides reading prime time news, the former KTN news anchor hosts the annual station’s Slim-Possible and Fashion Watch programmes.

Jeff Koinange ksh1.5m – 2.5m

jeff-koinange-at-Citizen-TV-v The highest paid TV and radio presenters

Jeff Koinange: Presents news on Citizen news and hosts JKL as well as a morning radio show.

A Kenyan journalist and host of Jeff Koinange Live on Citizen TV at Royal Media Services since February 2017. He is also a breakfast host at HOT 96, the English station owned by Royal Media Services alongside comedian and MC Jalang’o. He previously served as the Africa correspondent for CNN and CNN International from 2001 to 2007, and later as chief reporter at TV station K24 from 2007 to December 2012. Before joining KTN, he has also worked with worked with KTN on his brand news program Jeff Koinange Live. He previously served as the Chief Anchor, Africa for Arise Television Ltd based in Johannesburg.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Koinange’s salary shakes Royal Media

Betty Kyalo Sh 180,000-Sh 300,000

Betty Kyalo is a news anchor at KTN. Despite the challenges she has faced and public opinion on her marriage life, she still remains on top of her game being among the best news anchors in the country.

Salim Swaleh Ksh350,000-Ksh500, 000

Salim Swaleh Mdoe was an editor at Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) which has its headquarters in Iran’s capital, Tehran before he joined Citizen TV where he anchors Swahili news.

READ: Betty Kyalo beats Jeff Koinange in popularity

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