Former CNBC East Africa Nairobi bureau manager Joseph Bonyo has been appointed business editor for Citizen TV. Bonyo, who has been Citizen TV news editor since he joined Royal Media Services (RMS) in April 2016, will now take charge of the business desk, filing the position left vacant after Tony Timase left for K24 in March 2016.
Ever since, business has been run by the news desk. The same year, Royal Media poached then KTN business editor Michael Karanja but instead put him in charge of business news for the radio division. The TV business desk was further shaken by the sacking of Terryanne Chebet in October 2016, who was then one of the key pillars on the desk.
It is expected that Bonyo, who has become a veteran TV journalist after switching from print, will revive the desk and add some verve to its programming. Before getting into TV, Bonyo had worked at Nation Media Group as a business reporter attached to the Daily Nation between 2007 and 2011.
Citizen TV has lately been reorganising its news programming and last week unveiled a new line-up of presenters as it moves to increase its audience and influence among the public. It has fronted new faces poached from KTN and NTV – such as Victoria Rubadiri from NTV and Yvonne Okwara from KTN – hoping to paw its way up the viewership ranking, which it has been losing to more nimble rivals like KTN News. It is rumoured that RMS is mulling launching a 24-hour news channel but no concrete plan has been reached.
As business editor, Bonyo will hold sway on economic and corporate Kenya, who pull the strings on advertising. He is expected to juice up business coverage away from the all too often news and PR stories by adding more insightful content to increase transition of audience from news to business during prime time.
While at CNBC Africa, a majorly business channel, Bonyo also watched over the premier African business magazine Forbes Africa, giving him a global feel of business journalism. He was also a judge of the coveted Forbes Africa Person of the Year between 2014 and 2015. He is credited with setting up a full-fledged CNBC Africa Kigali studio that has today taken over the command of the broadcaster’s East African operations.
Citizen TV has dropped from nearly 50% share of the audience nationally four years ago to just about 30%. This can be attributed to growing competition with digital migration and advent of digital media but also on RMS’s restructuring that pushed some key presenters and reporters, thus affecting public confidence in the broadcaster.
Also, its Kikuyu vernacular TV station, Inooro, appears to have canibalised its audience, as it rated among the top 10 most popular TV stations in the country. Its video-on-demand ViuSasa could also be taking away its audience.