Fred Obachi Machoka is an old face who has managed to remain ever fresh. Many know him through his show roga roga aired on Citizen TV and Radio that promotes rhumba music. He has been in the highly competitive media industry having started in 1975. Back then, KBC was called Voice of Kenya (VoK) and this is where he debuted his career as a media personality.
His exact age is not known but he is in his early seventies.
A young Fred was working as a GSU (General Service Unit) soldier at the Northern frontier when he discovered his talent as a journalist. The year was 1975 when he heard of a competition branded “SANYO juu SANYO talks” Since he had nothing to lose, he tried it out and surprisingly won. A radio was the prize won and he had to pick it up from Nairobi. The program producer met him and commented on his nice voice. The then GSU soldier was asked if he would be interested in radio broadcasting.
Though he was still in the GSU, he agreed to try it out. They gave him the job of promoting SANYO electronics which were doing poorly in the market. He helped popularize it with a five-minute advertise on KBC, known as VOK (Voice of Kenya) at the time. The campaign was so successful that in the span of three years SANYO became a top selling electronics brand in Kenya.
Resignation from GSU;
A year later, he resigned from service:
“ Having worked in the forces for 4 years, I felt I had served my time. In addition, the Northern Frontier was an extremely harsh environment and it was also traumatic to lose friends and colleagues daily as this was the time of the Shifra war,” Obachi explained.
Despite being new to journalism, the determined young man worked hard to improve his skills. The former program host, the late Said Sonko, was very patient with him and taught him everything. He also went back to college to pursue public relations and advertising.
He established himself in commercial broadcasting. Coming up with promotional concepts about companies was his forte. The accomplished man also hosted 2 music shows on KBC: Talk of Time and Music Time. In 1988, he began his outfit FM 35 (Fred Machoka at 35) His main focus was still commercial broadcasting.
In 2002, Citizen radio approached him for a gig. At first he was quite hesitant since it was a new station competing with big stations, like, metro radio. Taking a leap of faith, he joined the station and started hosting rogaroga. Within no time, ratings were even higher than ‘Shaki legi’ (shake your leg), which was a popular musical show on metro radio back then. The roga roga show airs to date even on Citizen TV.
Fred Obachi mentors young people in the industry but also has a ranch in Kajiado. It specializes in barbecue cuisine and a host of activities, such as, horse riding, quad biking, farm tours, picnics and children’s playground. The general manager of the business is his son, Victor Machoka, nicknamed sheriff because of his dressing style.
For sure he is now a legend in the Royal Media Services liked by many. May God keep guarding him with Good health because he is really our mentor.
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