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Milele FM in crisis as new station poaches top presenters

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Milele FM has suffered a major blow after nearly all its key presenters resigned and joined a rival radio station. Milele FM, owned by Kenyatta family’s Mediamax, has been thrown into another crisis just two months after a massive retrenchment and brought in new presenters to strengthen its position in the market.

The six presenters have joined QWETU FM, a new radio station based at Yaya Centre in Nairobi. The big names that have left include, among others, morning presenters Vincent Ateya and comedian Mogaka as well as sports presenter Joseph Maroa and newsreader Job Omondi Onyango.

“Things are thick,” said an insider at Mediamax. “They all dropped their resignations earlier in the month.”

QWETU FM, which launches officially on March 5th, is the latest entrant in the crowded radio industry and will broadcast in Kiswahili. It will be headed by Ateya, who had stayed for barely three months at Milele after being poached from QFM.

Ng’ang’a Wa Waweru ran the morning show alone today. Ateya’s exit is seen as a win for his arch-rival Titi Nagwala, who he tried to fire him when he was brought back from Nation in November last year.

QWETU’s plan was to poach the entire Milele FM team, including news reader Newton Mudaki and evening drive co-host Cleophas Awinja but they proved either too expensive or apprehensive about the new venture.

The ownership of QWETU FM is still cloudy, but a credible media investor said it could be owned by Granton Samboja, a pioneer presenter of Milele FM who rose to become executive chairman of Mediamax.

He has been sidelined at Mediamax over the past two years and was appointed the chairman of the Coast Water Services Board by President Uhuru Kenyatta. He also has ambitions to be the next governor of Taita-Taveta and the radio station will come in handy.

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