Fred obachi machoka is one of the most celebrated Radio and tv personalities in Kenya. He is a veteran journalist with experience of over 30 years in the media industry.
He currently hosts Roga Roga shows which run on citizen Radio and citizen tv every Saturday morning and afternoon. He is one of radio citizen presenters including jaridah andai, Melody sinzore , inspekta mwala and etc
FRED OBACHI MACHOKA BIOGRAPHY
Fred Obachi Machoka describes his entry into the media as sheer chance. The year was 1975. A youthful Fred was serving in the Northern Frontier as a General Service Unit (GSU) soldier and loved listening to radio. It was while listening to radio at one time that he heard of a competition branded “SANYO Juu SANYO talks” and decided to try his luck.
“To my amazement I won the competition, which came with a radio as the prize. This required me to travel to Nairobi to pick my prize. When I met the producer of the programme that ran the competition, he immediately noticed my voice and told me it would be a great voice for radio if I was interested in radio broadcasting,” Obachi explains his debut in media.
Although he was still serving in the forces as a signal controller, Obachi was open to new opportunities. Though he accepted the offer, he wasn’t sure how he would juggle being both a broadcaster and a soldier. At the time, the Sanyo brand of electronics was not doing too well in the market and Obachi was assigned to help popularise it through a five-minute pre-recorded advertisement, which aired on the then Voice of Kenya (VOK) radio, now Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). So successful was the campaign that in a span of three years, SANYO electronics had become the top electronic brand in the Kenyan market.
Entry into radio…
A year later, Obachi resigned from the forces to take on a full time broadcasting job. “Having worked in the forces for four years I felt I had served my time. In addition, the Northern frontier was an extremely harsh working environment and it was also traumatic to lose friends and colleagues daily as this was the time of the Shifta war,” he explains of his exit from the forces.
Despite broadcasting being a totally new field for Obachi, he took to it like a duck to water. So what was his secret to a seemingly smooth transition? “I got a really good induction by the former host of the programme, the late Said Amarika Sonko. He was very patient with me and helped me find my way in radio broadcasting. I also recognised my inexperience and went back to college to study public relations and advertising,” he explains.
Fred Obachi machoka carved his niche in commercial broadcasting where he would come up with concepts geared towards promoting products or services on radio and then get sponsors. “Unlike the popular belief that I was employed at the KBC, the truth is, I never did. However, a lot of the radio shows I hosted aired on KBC hence the misconception. Some of the most popular shows I broadcasted included: Sportsman Ni Sawa Hasa; Ugua Pole Na Lucozade; Senge’nge Ni Ngombe; Mchanganyiko Maalum Na Bitcham, among many others. My hands were so full, as I had more than 20 radio shows on KBC radio sponsored by different companies, most of which are still remembered by many Kenyans,” says the man who seems to have a midas touch.
Having done many shows and worked with several advertisers, Obachi wanted a larger part of the pie. He therefore began his own outfit in 1988, FM 35 (Fred Machoka at 35), where he continued with commercial broadcasting. It helped that two main clients he had worked with before were so loyal to him that they moved with him to his company, enabling him to get the boost he needed to get started.
A diverse media personality…
A man of many gifts, Fred Obachi machoka has impeccable masterly of the Swahili language and an unmatched repertoire for African music, particularly Rumba and Lingala. He says his love for music began in his younger days when he would listen to music from his dad’s radio. Then when he joined high school, he enjoyed listening to some of his classmates passionately singing to Lingala music. And over time these rubbed on to him. Over the years he has learnt the Congolese language in bits and pieces and admits wittily that he can get by in the streets of Kinshasha.
Obachi hosted two musical shows on KBC TV – Music Time and Talk of Time, which were both very popular. Having mastered the art of attracting and retaining audiences over the years, Royal Media Services approached him in 2002 to do a live radio musical show on Citizen radio.
“Despite my initial apprehension, I took a leap of faith and agreed to the deal. At the time Citizen radio was facing a lot of competition from Metro radio, which had a popular musical show dubbed Shaki Legi (shake your leg). I launched an African musical show, Rogaroga, and within three months was at per in ratings with Shaki Legi. By the time we were at six months my show was leading. Now, 15 years on, Rogaroga remains the number one radio show in its segment and has fans from all over the country,” he says.
Obachi adds that over the years he has learnt a lot from his audience and keenly listens to their feedback and strives to address their needs, hence gaining their loyalty and trust over the years. He still spends a lot of time preparing for his shows and travels widely in search of content. He has in the past also doubled up as a DJ with weekly music shows in different parts of the country.
While Obachi says over time he has tried to inject new blood through mentorship since he is aware at some point he will have to exit from radio, he admits this is still challenging and an on-going process. He advises the youth to be willing to be mentored and to be patient as nothing good in life comes easy.
Having worked in the media for over 40 years, Obachi has a wealth of knowledge to offer to media personalities who care to listen. He emphasises that there is still a whole world of unchartered territory in radio that one can tap into, and that ‘sex talks’ cannot be the only way to attract and retain audiences. “There is a place and time for s3x talks, but that is not all there is to attracting audiences,” he says emphatically.
FRED OBACHI MACHOKA WIFE AND CHILDREN
fred obachi Machoka is a married man to Sophie machoka
Obachi’s wife, Sophie Machoka, has also learnt to deal with the attention her husband gets. “For instance, there will be times when my wife and I are out on a date and our peace is disrupted by enthusiastic fans demanding my attention. This really bothered her in her younger days, but now she is understanding and okay with it,” explains Obachi.
Fred Obachi machoka and Sophie machoka have four grown up children, and two grandchildren. Although he is still active in the media, with his wife, a retired teacher, they do farming in Isinya, Kajiado County as well as run a ranch. Married for 37 years, Obachi says he is still madly in love with his wife. “I admit I am a spoilt man by my young girl,” he lovingly says of his wife who sat in throughout this interview.
The couple look youthful too, a sign that they are aging gracefully. Like any marriage they admit they have had their share of ups and down, but remain fully committed to each other and work on their marriage every day. They say that marriage is the most endangered institution today hence the need to preserve and guard it by creating time to spend time together despite busy schedules.
FRED OBACHI MACHOKA SALARY AND NET WORTH
Aliased ‘the blackest man in black Africa’, veteran journalist and show host Fred Obachi Machoka is a proud owner of an exclusive ranch in the serene escarpments of Kisaju along the Kitengela-Namanga road at Isinya, Kajiado County.
Christened Fred’s Ranch and resort, the cowboy-themed entity specialises in barbecue cuisines and boasts activities like horse riding, quad biking, picnicking, farm tours and a vibrant children’s playground.
Uncle Obachi’s son, hotelier Victor Machoka, is the managing director of the ranch and is popularly referred to as ‘The Sheriff’ thanks to the traditional sheriff’s badge he dons to designate his post. In 2015, the 34-year-old turned down a six-figure income to pursue this family dream as reported by The Standard on January 10, 2018.
he is from kisii tribe