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Owalo wants KBC to start mainstreaming development production

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) has been advised to mainstream sustainable people -based development production to enable it compete effectively with other media houses.

The Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and The Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo said his ministry will use the recommendations of the 2016/17 Taskforce Report to explore the possibility and viability of having separate streams, to address commercial and national service foci in the corporation.

“This report has useful propositions on how to turn around this corporation and to lift it from the present heavy debt,” he stated.

Mr. Owalo noted that in the past, KBC used to produce such programmes that was modeled along the British Broadcasting Corporation model that understands the balance between development broadcasting and commercial broadcasting.

“Development broadcasting is a service to the nation and that was why the various platforms in Broadcasting House have traditionally been called ‘Services” like the English Service and the National Service,” he said.

The CS was speaking on Tuesday during a familiarization visit at the Corporation’s headquarters in Nairobi where he had a conversation with the staff.

During the visit, the CS had a discussion with the staff the state of the media house, on how the corporation should be improved and its benefits to the public.

KBC, the oldest and biggest broadcaster in Kenya and Eastern Africa was started as an African Broadcasting Services in 1928 to address the European settler interests in the country, later it changed its name to Voice of Kenya (VOK) in 1963 before branding to KBC.

He said the corporation which was popular with both the old and young for its entertaining journalism, on both radio and television with a monopoly for three and a half decades did little to improve editorial focus and content, in spite of superior editorial focus.

“The liberalization of the airwaves in 1989 to 1992 brought new players on the scene and in spite of rebranding from VOK to KBC to stave off the emerging competition, the national broadcaster has not been a match to the new players,” added Owalo.

The CS said the Kenya Kwanza government has a very clear pro-people bottom up model development agenda on the creation of jobs, alleviation of poverty, generation of wealth and improving the standards of living of citizenry.

He told KBC staff to embrace and work with the pro-people bottom up model.

Owalo at the same time announced that his ministry will also revitalize the Kenya News Agency.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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