Radio Africa has started restructuring its radio division ahead of a major overhaul as the broadcasting house comes to terms with falling advertising revenues.
The restructuring has started with the sacking of some radio presenters including Kalekye Mumo, who has been presenting the Kiss FM breakfast show. Others who have been shown the door are Toldo Kuria and Diamond Okusimba who have been anchoring the one-hour evening daily sports show.
The changes are contained in a memo released today by Radio Africa Group General Manager Martin Khafafa. “As a part of our 2017 strategy, the company will reformat all our core electronic assets which are leaders in their segment to deliver greater audience and a digital future for the business,” he says in the Memo obtained by BusinessToday.
Kalekye Mumo will be replaced by Adelle Onyango to lead the new team starting today, with Shaffie Weru as the co-anchor. “We have decided to reconstitute the breakfast team and have chosen Adelle Onyango to lead the new team starting today,” says Khafafa, who noted the changes are part of growing the radio stations… “…Adelle has built a fanatical social media following and is well connected to Kenyan youth. It is expected that the new show will be formally launched to the market soon.”
Radio Africa Group radio stations include market leader Classic FM, KissFM, Radio Jambo and XFM.
The memo says Kalekye, who has been with the company for many years and “done a great job first as Kiss FM drive anchor and later as breakfast anchor, has left to pursue other interests.”
Radio Africa Group, which publishes the Star newspaper, has been experiencing a major drop in ad revenues over the past year. Insiders say revenue targets for the half-year have been below target for all radio platforms, as well as the newspaper.
Kiss FM has particularly been facing hard time over the past three or so years, falling in ranking from top three to the bottom of the table. This poor performance saw Caroline Mutoko pushed off air to management, with new morning presenters but that has not helped.
Radio Africa’s move comes just a week after Nation Media Group closed three radio stations, two of them in Kenya (Nation FM and QFM) and a TV station as part of its restructuring to cut losses.
The sacking of radio presenters at Radio Africa follows a reorganisation of the sales team, which has caused disquiet in the commercial department. Sales people will now focus on particular sectors, according to section head Agnes Kalekye, breaking from the free-style model where anyone sells anything.
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“In line with the new sales direction on increasing the print revenues, volumes and market share we have reorganized the entire sales department to focus on the above attached areas,” she wrote in a memo recently. “ All of you team have been assigned to different sectors under Edward, Carolyn and Stephen reporting directly to Millicent. This will help you open up untapped revenue sources especially from corporate clients that we were not previously focusing on.
What has spooked most sales people is the reality of losing their current accounts after the three months transition, which will likely be treated as ‘management’ clients.
One of those affected says this has demoralized sales reps and ignited an exodus, mostly to Royal Media Services. “There has been a high turnover of sales staff to Citizen TV due to mistreatment from Kalekye,” said a sales rep who is also contemplating quitting. Newly appointed commercial manager Millicent Wandera is said to have threatened to sack those who don’t cooperate with the new order and those who fail to meet new targets.
In the memo, Ms Kalekye says: “…. we will all sign new KPI’s that will be monitored on a monthly basis . The managers will also do client allocation based on history with the sales person and their spending history but they will be however fair. All sales people managing regional clients will be given a month transition before we release the accounts to be handled at the regional offices also to ensure that we do not miss market share.”
Focus, will turn to the Star newspaper, which is reported to have dropped both in circulation and ad revenues since its relaunch in March this year.