The wave of lay-offs has hit the Kenyan media again with Royal Media Services (RMS) sending home some of its members of staff a day after Mediamax Network Limited sacked nearly the entire K24 TV’s editorial team.
Multiple sources intimated to this writer that a number of employees in the media house’s radio department have received redundancy letters.
Top on the list of radio personalities alleged to have been sent home recently include Radio Citizen presenters Syombua Osiany, John Maloba, Himenigilder Mugeni.
Hot 96 FM Presenter Nancy Wanjiku Karanja popularly known to her fans as Shix Kapienga is also said to have been laid off.
Syombua hosted Pambazuka from 4am to 6am.
Kapienga, who doubles up as a comedian and actor, hosted Drop Zone on Hot 96 FM Monday to Thursday from 7pm to 10pm.
The axe, our sources said, will fall on several other journalists in other departments in the coming days.
In 2016 Royal Media hit headlines after laying off dozens including top anchors and reporters in what the management termed as a restructuring move.
The Samuel Macharia-owned media house is the holding company for Citizen TV, Inooro TV and a number of vernacular radio stations.
Just like other players in the media industry, RMS has been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic that continues to take a toll on businesses in the country.
In March this year, Managing Director Wachira Waruru announced up to 30 per cent salary cuts as part of the company’s efforts to stay afloat as the pandemic effects continue to eat into its profits.
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“The unprecedented outbreak of the coronavirus in the world and Kenya, in particular, has had serious repercussions on businesses, including ours. This reality necessitates that we take difficult but necessary measures to see us through this period, ” said Waruru in a memo to all staff.
“…Each staff will be issued with their individual letter through their supervisor. This reduction is temporary and will be reversed when things return to normal.”
Mediamax, the holding company for K24 and Kameme TV stations, People Daily, Milele FM and several vernacular radio stations, had also taken a similar route but faced opposition with its staff moving to court to block the company from effecting up to 50 per cent cuts.
A majority of the Mediamax employees who were sacked via night SMS on Sunday are those who were opposed to the pay cuts.
Some of the notable faces fired include Sam Njoroge, Rose Gakuo, Fred Indimuli (K24 poached him from Citizen TV in 2018), Eric Njoka, Karen Karimi, Isabella Kituri, Nancy Onyancha, Caren Kibett, Shon Osimbo, Sara Adams, Joy Kariuki, Joab Mwaura, Tony Khwalanda and Milele FM presenter Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o.