EXCLUSIVE: Mass Firings at Popular Radio Station Leaves 2 Presenters

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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi during the relaunch of Bibilia Husema Broadcasting & Truth FM 96.7 back on June 18, 2020.
One of Kenya’s oldest media companies, Biblia Husema Broadcasting, on Monday, February 10, let go of at least 17 members of its employee roster, leaving the programming of its two stations – Truth FM and Biblia Husema Radio – in limbo.

Truth FM had been operating on the fringes, with a highly-placed source at the crumbling Christian media house confessing to having gone for over 3 months without pay.

Speaking to kenyagist.com, the staffer who sought anonymity stated that senior managers in charge of the two radio stations resigned back in October 2019, adding that they (our source) were part of the crew that had opted to maintain their posts despite going without pay.

“Our Marketing and General Manager tendered their letters of resignation in October due to financial woes, and we have just been trying to hold it together since,” our source stated.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi during the relaunch of Biblia Husema Broadcasting & Truth FM 96.7 back on June 18, 2018.

Another source at the church-owned broadcaster claimed that the resignations were triggered by the constitution of a new board at around October 2019.

“Currently there are only a handful presenters which is why the station (Truth FM) has been forced to play music non-stop for the better part of the day,” they added.

Domino effect

The resignations left the stations rudderless, with most clients walking away from the station as well. This adversely affected their revenue and consequently led to a position in which the media house could no longer run its payroll.

The news departments at both stations were the most affected, with the Editor, Assistant Editor and news presenters forming the bulk of the employees that were let go.

Several sources who spoke to kenyagist.com including some who were fired, confirmed that the staff were called for a meeting on Tuesday, February 10, where they were informed of their terminations and issued with formal notices.

Senior News editors Vincent Anguche, his assistant Irene Ndunda and several news anchors and reporters were among those who were sacked.

Other affected staff include Swing presenter Denis Mulwa and Truth FM staff including Gospel Switch host Cynthia Njuguna, breakfast host Daniel Anunda, Tess Libanze, and the Big testimony presenter Isreal Kagiri.

It is alleged that the presenters were served with the letters of dismissal out of the blues as they walked into work, and that those still at the station were in fact interns.

Assurances

However, the media house assured its former staffers that they would be paid their dues once funds were available.

Truth FM was left worse off, with the station currently being run by a single presenter. Only two were left in the station’s employ and one of them is currently on leave.

The two stations share a single news department and with the current shortage of presenters, the stations are currently forced to play back-to-back music for some segments.

The media house (Bibilia Husema Broadcasting – BHB) is owned by the African Inland Church (AIC) Kenya.

Bibilia Husema Frequencies are 96.7 FM Nairobi, 96.3 FM Eldoret, 101.5 FM Kisumu, 102.9 FM Nakuru, 102.5 FM Lokichogio and 105.3 FM Voi, while Truth FM broadcasts on 90.7 FM.

Worrying Trend

The latest development in the media industry comes just two weeks after digital media house Hivisasa closed shop after six years of operations leaving journalists in the estimates of hundreds jobless from the 10 counties where it was active.

The media house, which prides itself on having had a steady audience of two million monthly readers, cited failure to identify a viable advertisement-led business model, as the reason for the unprecedented closure.

Founder and CEO, Chloe Spoerry, stated that the decision had been arrived at to allow the company to explore new ideas and opportunities.

This is in line with several other layoffs witnessed in the media industry in Kenya over the last 2 or so years.

Leading media houses such as Nation Media Group (NMG) have also been forced to do a bit of trimming in an effort to stay afloat in a media market marked with riddled with shifting trends that have hit advertising revenues -which forms the backbone of most if not all of these entities.

According to Business Daily, NMG’s 2019 half-year profits dropped over by 20%, with full-year earnings expected to be worse off.

The great slump in advertising revenues has been attributed to a slowing economy, tough marketing rules on betting and alcoholic products as well as government belt-tightening.

Broadcast equipment at a radio station.
Broadcast equipment at a radio station.

SOURCE:kenyagist.com

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