NMG hires golfer to replace Linus Kaikai

Nation Media Group raids Aljazeera for broadcasting division manager

Nation Media Group has replaced former NTV general manager Linus Kaikai, just two days after he left the company. The leading media house this afternoon announced the appointment of Alex Kobia as managing director of Nation Broadcasting Division, which means the general manager’s position has been scrapped.

Kobia, an ardent golfer with over 25 years’ experience in the broadcast industry, was headhunted from Aljazeera Media Group, where he was head of sales and distribution in charge of sub-Saharan Africa. He has previously worked in senior positions at Africa Media Group Ltd, TV Africa Kenya & Uganda, Sanyu television Uganda and Kenya television Network (KTN).

A staff memo by NMG human resources director David Kiamba says Kobia will be responsible for the overall running of the broadcast division, which runs NTV Kenya and Uganda as well as KFM radio station and Spark TV, which broadcast in local Luganda language.

“He will lead our strategic effort in driving growth in the areas of programming, convergence and commercial,” says Mr Kiamba.

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The broadcast division, the company’s black sheep, has been struggling to get a footing in the market. NMG, tired of draining resources in unprofitable broadcast units, in June 2016 shut down three radio stations (two in Kenya and one in Rwanda) and it’s low-end television channel, Qtv, leaving nearly 100 employees jobless.

Alex Kobia, Managing Director, Nation Broadcasting Division.

The division had shown an uptick last year, which appears to have renewed interest in propping it up. In the group’s half-year results to June 2017, in which it recorded net profit of Ksh819.8 million, NTV Kenya was the best-performing subsidiary in the Group, growing its revenue by 18%. Additionally, NTV Uganda and Monitor Publications Limited operating profit grew by 100% and 19 per cent respectively.

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The position of managing director broadcasting was scrapped and replaced with general manager NTV in 2014 with the exit of Ian Fernandes, who joined Mediamax Networks. As managing director, Kobia will focus more on the commercial aspect of the segment to grow market share and ad revenues as the editorial bit will be handled by NTV editor Pamela Asigi, who now reports directly to the editor-in-chief Tom Mshindi.

Kaikai, who was pushed out early this week, had his strength more on the journalism. He is expected to join Royal Media Services.

Alex holds a Masters in Science from the University of Liverpool and Bachelor of Arts (architecture and development) from the University of Nairobi. As a golfer, Kobia plays of handcap 15.

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