You're Telling Someone’s Story, so Tell it Well

Nairobi, Kenya 

Broadcast journalism, scheduling and acquisition 

What type of projects do you do?

I am a television programmer and handle scheduling and acquisition in Kenya’s public broadcaster, KBC. That means sourcing the right programme and further knowing what will be transmitted and what time it will be aired. As a trained TV producer, once in a while I do features in productions that highlight and bring to the fore matters affecting and impacting the livelihood of Kenyans in a positive and impactful manner.

Why did this sort of work interest you, and how did you get started?

Oooh, straight from high school I joined college and was trained in administration management and went to work in a tour and travels company after graduation.

My friends had always told me I have a beautiful voice and face for TV, If they believed in me that much there must have been  a reason, so I took it seriously and started doing more readings and appealed for alerts on openings if they should come across some.  I had a close relative who worked in the industry and I was called up for an audition when one was available.  I showed up and we were 300+ candidates, but they needed only 3 people.

To cut a long story short, I got it, a TV announcer and the station voice over person for promos and commercials and was 1st on the list. I then invested in myself and took myself to school to study mass communications.

I was then introduced to programming and learnt how to interact with our viewers and was soon scheduling. Two years of training made me learn more on editorial standards and the importance of data and research in order to reach a decision. Then I was introduced to acquisition, as the two are interconnected. Sourcing for programmes locally and internationally was a totally new ball game - talking to distributors, being introduced to new genres and matters such as prices.

The journey has been really exciting, and each day is new; and introducing new programmes in the schedule with the support of management has seen our screen be lit up - the reactions from viewers has been amazing.

I have been at KBC since, growing, learning and building a career I am loving.

What part of this job do you like and find most satisfying?

Whaoo: Just watching a child watching television and enjoying the show; learning how to count using a preschooler; or a lady stopping you on the way to let you know how a particular documentary aired on your channel impacted lives positively and made them start up a business; reading feedback from the viewer requesting a repeat of a programme that inspired them.

Positive reactions make me feel inspired to do more, making me work harder get out of my comfort zone and get better.

What do you not like or find most challenging about working in this industry?

Working in a public broadcaster the public has zero chills for programming they do not like. What would easily pass on commercial channels will be critiqued without a care.

Broadcasting can be so much fun, it can also see you get real personal, working in a public operation means a large budget is not at your disposal and hence there are times you will watch a distributor walk away with a production that you know is good, it is just that you are not able to afford it, that can dishearten me.

My strongest assets/skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values are….

I love doing this job, introducing new programmes and introducing film makers to the viewers, I am committed to seeing quality programmes aired, televise new ideas that will impact lives and inspire viewers to change their lives for good.

Has IAWRT’s network of media women around the world helped or inspired you?

IAWRT has been immensely helpful, for me personally. Meeting and knowing ladies whose credentials are impeccable, who sit with me on the same table, allowing me to tag along during their projects and share their knowledge graciously.

I have gone for training sessions sponsored by IAWRT which have been useful.   

What are your long-term goals?

To continue in the industry and be a champion of great programming highlighting issues to do with women and their stories which are different from one region to another. To mentor women colleagues in the industry - as I have been already.

What special advice do you have for other women seeking this type of work?

Equip yourself with the right knowledge and skills - this industry is diverse and keeps changing with new technologies and innovations coming up.

Find mentorship and get in touch with the right people to help you in the industry, it is very important.  There is an African proverb:

’Walk alone and you will go far, walk with other and you will go further and last longer’- in short, find the right teams and walk and work together for greater success.

Be a team player -considering one does not work alone- be ready listen to others opinion, advice and suggestions. Be prepared to receive immediate feedback, wether positive or negative.

Have perseverance- keep to the story, follow it to the very end.

Do you have any special words of warning, or encouragement, based on your experience?

Have listening skills, you are telling someone else’s story, so tell it well.

Machines and technology are changing and taking shape with each dawn, embrace it, have a spirit of learning new techniques.

Keep on keeping on, one day at a time. Always enjoy the gig.