Two former KTN presenters have formerly joined NTV Kiswahili presenters and are set to cohost Kiswahili evening bulletin. Fridah Mwaka and Lofty Mutambo resigned from KTN in March and April respectively to ‘pursue other interests’ but their destination has been a poorly kept secret.
The two are featuring in a primer released by NTV indicating they will co-host Kiswahili news programmes at the station owned by the Nation Media Group. Such promos are used as a form of bragging after wresting talent from rivals geared at achieving a psychological effect for both the donor station and recipient.
This is a big catch for NTV and a blow for KTN as the two are currently some of the finest Kiswahili presenters on TV less influenced by their celebrity status. The two, who are set to hit the screen anytime, are expected to enhance the Kiswahili section currently steered by Salim Swaleh, as NTV moves to strengthen its team ahead of the 2022 general elections and after he exit of Jane Ngoiri and Doreen Gatwiri.
The other NTV Swahili anchors/reporters include Kaltum Juma and Nuru Abdulaziz. This is the first time NTV is making major hires for the Kiswahili section since July 2018 when it unveiled the new cast of presenters.
Apart from leaving a big gap at KTN, joining NTV deals a psychological blow for Standard Media, which runs KTN Home and KTN News in a market where top talent often goes to the highest bidder.
The development signals renewed battle for journalists and presenters in media as the industry readies itself for the intense work involved in election coverage. More movements are expected in the coming months, with NTV, Citizen and BBC, backed by huge budgets, expected to lead predatory advances on their rivals.
NMG, which is struggling to keep its head above the water after announcing a 94.4% drop in net profit to just Ksh48 million for the year ended 31st December 2020, is betting on fresh talent to boost its TV fortunes. Citizen, being the leader in the TV audience and advertising, is also likely to shop around for more presenters to enhance election coverage.
Likely victims of the preying are KTN and small players in the market such as Ebru TV, KBC, Switch TV and TV47, the latest kid on the block.