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NTV anchor Fred Muitiriri shares his 'last 20 days of hell' at Switch TV

As the head of the newsroom at the time, Fred observed a noticeable decline in morale among his team.

NTV news anchor Fred Muitiriri
  • Switch TV ceased its broadcast operations in December 2021, leading to job losses for many staff members
  • The closure led to a noticeable decline in morale among the employees
  • The impending shutdown made it difficult for staff to remain motivated, especially with the start of the school term in January

In a candid recount, NTV news anchor Fred Muitiriri shared his experiences during his last days at Switch TV, which ceased its broadcast operations in December 2021.

The shutdown marked a significant shift for the station, transitioning from on-air broadcasts to a fully digital brand, a change that resulted in many staff members losing their jobs.

He worked at the station from July 2020 to December 2021.

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Fred Muitiriri revealed that the announcement of the closure was made at the start of December 2021.

He arrived a bit late to the meeting and enquired from his colleague why everyone looked angry.

The news was a heavy blow to the employees, many of whom found it challenging to remain motivated for the remainder of the month.

As the head of the newsroom at the time, Fred observed a noticeable decline in morale among his team.

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"The decision to shut down was communicated at the beginning of the month, and it was tough for many to continue working, knowing they would be jobless in the new year," he said.

The situation was further exacerbated by the impending school term starting in January, a period that typically requires significant financial preparation for parents.

Fred recounted that even routine meetings, typically held at 8:30 a.m., became difficult to arrange.

"People started requesting to work from home to save the little money they had. Imagine that scenario with your anchor, so you have to step in to read the news," he noted.

This sentiment shows the financial and emotional strain that the announcement placed on the staff.

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Switch TV's transition to a digital platform was part of a broader strategy to adapt to changing media consumption trends.

While the shift aimed to align the station with the growing demand for digital content, the immediate impact on the employees was profound.

Kenya's broadcasting sector has been challenging for new entrants, leading to business closures.

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On June 7, Look Up TV announced that the station would also seize its broadcast operations.

During its news bulletin, news anchor Tende Anyula revealed that he was presenting the final news bulleting on the station, six years after it opened.

“The six-year journey could not have been possible without you accepting to watch our bulletins and other shows that Look Up TV’s journalists have been bringing to you daily and we thank all your viewers,” he said.

The station also thanked all the members of staff who had contributed to its operations at all levels.

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Legacy media stations have also been struggling to stay afloat with Standard Media Group and Nation Media Group having to lay off staff several times in the last four years.

Last week, Nation Media Group also announced impending mass layoffs aimed at adapting to the evolving digital economy.

In a statement released by the media house, the station revealed that factors outside the company's control have forced it to reach the decision.

"The media landscape is undergoing rapid transformation: Changes in audience consumption habits, technology, and other macro-economic factors have disrupted business models across the world," NMG stated.

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While NMG did not reveal the number of staff that will lose their jobs, it said the restructuring is part of NMG's ongoing strategy to become a leaner and more agile organisation.

"As part of the continued implementation of our strategy, we are evolving into a leaner, more agile organisation that will drive the efficient delivery of services to our audiences and innovate rapidly to reap the benefits of the digital economy," the statement read.

NMG has confirmed that the company is keen on ensuring that the process is handled with respect and in full compliance with the country's labour laws.

"This exercise will be carried out with utmost respect to our employees and in adherence to Kenyan labour laws. This decision is incredibly difficult, and we are cognisant of the impact it will have on lives and livelihoods," NMG stated.

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Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

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