Surprising Rules That Kenyan TV Anchors Have to Follow

  • Journalists docked at a media center while covering an event.
    Journalists docked at a media centre while covering an event.
  • Unlike average careers where productivity is the only determining factor, talents in the TV industry are expected to follow some surprising rules.

    From not boarding matatus to relocating to affluent neighbourhoods, the faces of Kenyan TV stations are often required to maintain the fantastic lifestyles that aid in bringing the eyeballs.

    Here are five surprising rules that most TV stations expect from their employees once they land the anchor spot.

    1. Stay in Good Shape.

    Joey Muthengi while anchoring news on Citizen TV morning show Day Break.
    Joey Muthengi while anchoring news on Citizen TV morning show Day Break.

    In August 2020, former Citizen TV anchor Joey Muthengi surprised the country after claiming that she starved herself in order to maintain her slender figure that fans adored.

    She said that the demands of the TV business made her stop eating to a point where her mother was uncomfortable with her line of work.

    "I got it under control for a few years after, then somehow I landed on TV. Then I stopped eating at all. I looked great in those dresses they gave me, but underneath I was suffering," she started.

    Most TV girls have also previously confirmed to being subjected on special diets to maintain slender figures that are often considered good for TV.

    Male TV anchors are also popularly with keeping gym membership to keep fit for the camera.

    2. Do not use matatus.

    The leading media stations are often known for maintaining a societal status hence a requirement that all news anchors are expected to avoid using matatus whether on duty or off.

    A former insider at Citizen TV confided in that the station had put the rule in place to maintain its standing.

    "The news anchors are required to avoid public transport because it reflects badly on the brand," he stated.

    Matatu Bus Stop Sign at GPO Stage, Along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. Monday, October 21, 2019
    Matatu Bus Stop Sign at GPO Stage, Along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. Monday, October 21, 2019

    3. Use make up while in the studio

    It goes without saying that the make-up plays a very important role in the TV business but some stations go overboard with a requirement that their anchors must wear it all the time while in studio. 

    So important is the product that TV stations create entire make-up departments and aptly resource them.

    Make-up is often used by anchors and their guests while camera's are rolling to reduce the shiny effect likely to be captured into the frame.

    Both men and women newscasters are expected to wear it.

    4. Do not endorse other products

    Leading news anchors are known for commanding big cheques that may run into the millions monthly but the payout comes with serious stipulations as well.

    While addressing a past journalists conference, a senior Citizen TV Swahili anchor revealed that he was once at loggerheads with the station's bosses after he endorsed another product.

    He explained that the fallout came because viewers of the station would associate the product with the media house and was likely to transfer the blame in case anything went wrong.

    A popular morning host was fired from Citizen TV because of endorsing a betting company in competition with one affiliated to Royal Media Services.

    5. Relocate to high-end neighborhoods

    While in the spirit of maintaining the brand, leading media houses in Kenya also demand that once individuals get promoted to the anchor chair, they have to move to lavish neighbourhoods.

    This is to ensure that their security is not comprised because they are likely to attain celebrity status while also maintaining the lucrative brand that the stations cultivate over the years.

    A local TV CEO explained to this writer that with the territory comes a requirement for proper grooming and that the news readers are always expected to carry themselves with flair.

    Station's have gone as far as to finance the anchor's wardrobe just to ensure nothing is left to chance.

    Different types of make-up brushes
    Different types of make-up brushes.