Radio Citizen, Kenya’s leading radio station, last week suffered a major blow after its top presenters resigned alongside their boss, citing dissatisfaction with their terms of employment.
Those who have resigned include head of Citizen Radio Joyce Gituro. The others are Francis Luchivya and Jacky Nyaminde, popularly known as Wilbroda, who presented the popular Jambo Kenya morning show. The trio is headed to Milele FM which is firming up its team to stay afloat in the highly competitive Kiswahili radio segment.
The radio station, owned by Mediamax Ltd which is majority held by Deputy President William Ruto, is said to have offered them a better deal. Citizen Radio news reader Mwanahamisi Hamadi, who had also resigned as well, is said to have been approached by Royal Media Services management for a possible deal to stay on.
RMS felt given her advanced age, her resignation would paint the media house in bad light, according to someone close to management.
In an announcement on Sunday, Citizen’s Pambazuka show presenter Joyce wa Gituro broke the news of her departure from the S.K. Macharia owned radio station. “Happy New month my people. Be encouraged in the word of God. He is a faithful God, serve him with your ALL. My sister @jeridah.andayi you will make it, trust me you will. Stick to the word of God, He will NEVER leave you. #GoodbyeIsNeverEasy,” said Ms Gituro.
Luchivya, who joined Radio Citizen from Mulembe FM, has been hosting radio Citizen Breakfast show Jambo Kenya since 2010 alongside comedians Mwala and Wilbroda. He made the announcement on Saturday, while sitting in for Uncle Fred Obachi Machoka’s Roga Roga show.
The two presenters have been barred from going on air as they serve their notice after they used the radio station to announce their exits. Luchivya took over Jambo Kenya from Vincent Ateya, who quit after driving the show for seven years.
Radio Citizen is the most popular radio in Kenya, with GeoPoll foruth quarter survey giving it 15% of the audience share followed by Standard Group’s Radio Maisha with an audience share of 12%. Radio Jambo and Kiss FM, owned by Radio Africa Group, split their audience share of 7% in Q4, 2017.
Insiders say the journalists resigned in protest of huge pay (four times) offered by Royal Media Services to new recruits headhunted from other media houses. Most of these journalists have been part of the growth of Radio Citizen yet their salaries have remained stagnant for seven years.
The resignations came after a retreat of RMS senior employees held in Lukenya recently where the human resources manager arrogantly told off asking for pay increase. “They were pissed off when the Human Resource manager told them that if they are seeking more money to motivate them to work then are in the wrong profession,” said a journalist who attended the event.
Royal Media Services has not increased pay for it’s employees over the past seven years yet it has been dishing out fat salaries to new recruits being poached from other media houses.
Also, the exits are being seen as a reaction to the return of Vincent Ateya to Royal Media Service. Ateya, who is now in charge of Luhya radio stations, is being given more responsibilities and observers see him returning to the morning show as well. Already, he has taken over the Michezo na Burudani show, which airs on Saturday from 4pm to 8pm on radio Citizen.
Ateya left Citizen eight years ago to join Milele FM, then owned by Granton Samboja, the current, Taita-Taveta Governor before he left again for Qwetu FM in 2016. At Qwetu he doubled as programmes manager and breakfast show presenter.