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Shake-up at KTN after Joe Ageyo exit

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Standard Group is reloading its broadcast division after the recent exit of KTN managing editor Joe Ageyo. Besides announcing last week the appointment of Ellen Wanjiru as managing editor for broadcast, the company is strengthening the television team as competition for talent hots up.

Among the changes is the return of Kizito Namulanda to the editorial department, where he has been put in charge of convergence. Kizito was pushed from KTN editorial to head Outdoor, Standard’s struggling advertising arm, when Sam Shollei took over as Managing Director in 2012.  In convergence, he will co-ordinate working together of the print, broadcast and digital units.

Inside sources at Standard say Kizito, who has experience in both print and broadcast, could be given an active role in the Swahili segment of the broadcast division.

Also, the Standard Group is expected to bring back Katua Nzile, a former managing editor of KTN and veteran journalist, who is likely to be put in charge of content, especially news and features. With the exit of news anchor Yvonne Okwara, KTN is expected to bring in new faces on screen.

READ: Latest TV and radio audience ranking in Kenya

But Ellen Wanjiru’s appointment has received mixed reactions within the KTN family, with some of her colleagues openly giving it a thumbs down. Moments after her appointment on Friday, the in-house Whatsapp group went on fire. Some congratulated her while a section dismissed the appointment as insignificant, with one colleague opening criticising her saying she did not have what it takes to run broadcast.

The discussion offline was also active. Some KTN insiders allege Wanjiru may have been rewarded the position by her boss Joe Munene, the Standard Group Managing Director for broadcast, and a former colleague at Nation Media Group. Wanjiru and Munene worked for NTV Uganda at the same time before they were poached by Shollei, who happened to have been their boss there as well, hence building a working relationship and trust amongst them.

Wanjiru, who has worked for all the mainstream broadcasters, has the task of proving her critics wrong by improving content and rankings for KTN, KTN News and Radio Maisha which is no easy task given the stiff competition in the industry.

READ ALSO: Yvonne Okwara leaves KTN in style – and live on screen

Even Munene knows this too well. When he joined Standard, he promised to make KTN the number one TV station in Kenya at a time when Citizen TV had 55% of market share. Five years later, KTN is still a distant second at 13%, and KTN (12%) News partly canibalising it, while Citizen has dropped to 27%, according to a GeoPoll survey for the 4th quarter of 2017.

Royal Media, which owns Citizen TV, has been on a poaching spree for talent, picking Joe Ageyo, KTN’s top editor, and Yvonne Okwara as well as a number of business development managers, as it seeks to retain first slot and grow its dwindling audience. At NTV, Citizen has taken Linus Kaikai and Jamila Mohamed with another senior NTV editor expected to follow.

At Nation Centre, NTV is dusting itself and reloading after hiring Alex Kobia, the new broadcast manager from Al Jazeera.

NEXT: Kenyan hospital that charges Sh1 million per night

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