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Standard Media Group presenters down tools in protest

Standard Media Group has reported a Sh1.26 billion loss in the year ended December 2023

Spice FM studio
  • Radio presenters at the group protested against delayed salaries and walked out of their shows
  • The decline in revenue was due to reduced advertising spending and increased operating costs
  • The new CEO, Marion Gathoga-Mwangi, is expected to address the go-slow and poor performance

Radio presenters at Standard Media Group have downed their tools in protest against delayed salaries.

The presenters, who host some of the most popular shows on stations under the media conglomerate, walked out of their studios on Tuesday, leaving listeners listening to music.

Standard Media Group owns Radio Maisha, Spice FM, Berur FM and Vybez Radio.

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The walkout comes after months of growing frustration among the staff over late payments, with some employees claiming they have not been paid for several months.

Staff at the media house have been vocal about their plight, using organisations such as Kenya Union of Journalists and Media Council of Kenya to air their grievances and demand immediate action from the management.

Even on their social media channels, many of the stations under Standard Media Group umbrella did not have updates as is the usual for presenters to drum up fans to tune in.

This comes after the media house reported a Sh1.26 billion loss for the year ended December 2023.

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The group's total revenue fell to Sh2.38 billion from Sh2.53 billion in 2022.

This decline was primarily attributed to reduced advertising spending by clients due to the challenging economic environment.

Operating costs increased to Sh3.09 billion from Sh2.95 billion in the previous year. This rise was driven by higher input costs and inflationary pressures, which impacted the company's profitability.

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The go-slow and poor performance are some of the things that the new CEO Marion Gathoga-Mwangi is expected to address and turn around the firm.

Gathoga-Mwangi, who begins her tenure on July 15 brings a wealth of experience to the role, with a 26-year career spanning both local and international arenas.

She has held pivotal executive roles at The Linde Group PLC companies, such as African Oxygen Pty (AFROX) and BOC Kenya PLC, where she made significant contributions, including enhancing access to medical gases across Africa and managing bulk and onsite manufacturing operations in South Africa.

Prior to joining The Standard Group, her roles included Healthcare Director, Business Unit Director for Bulk and Onsite Manufacturing in South Africa, and Managing Director of BOC Kenya PLC.

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Gathoga-Mwangi's experience extends to Country Director at Cadbury Kenya and East Africa Limited, General Manager at Unga Limited Plc (Seaboard Corporation), and Country Director at Parmalat Botswana Pty in Gaborone, Botswana.

She also had a distinguished tenure with Bayer East Africa.

In addition to her executive roles, Gathoga-Mwangi contributes to the corporate world as a Non-Executive Director at BAT Kenya PLC, BOC Kenya PLC, and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

She holds a Bachelor of Science (Honors) Degree in International Business Administration from the United States International University (USIU) Kenya and is a recognised practitioner of Continuous Improvement (Kaizen), a methodology she has effectively utilised in corporate turnarounds.

As the media industry continues to evolve, Gathoga-Mwangi's leadership is anticipated to play a crucial role in the company's adaptation and growth, ensuring The Standard Group remains at the forefront of delivering quality journalism and innovative media solutions.

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