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Fred Obachi Machoka's Biography: 48-year media career, 15-acre ranch & family

Fred Obachi Machoka was a General Service Unit (GSU) officer before he quit to take up the media career

Fred Obachi Machoka

In the ever-evolving landscape of broadcast media , there are those rare individuals who become synonymous with the industry itself.

Fred Obachi Machoka is undoubtedly one of these enduring figures, whose talents have graced both the television and radio waves, making him a cherished and irreplaceable part of Kenya's media landscape.

Fred's journey into the world of media began decades ago when he hosted the immensely popular TV music show 'Music Time' and a series of other hit radio programs.

Presently, he shines as the host of the 'Roga Roga' show, which airs on both Citizen TV and radio, and is dedicated to promoting the enchanting world of Rhumba music.

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His remarkable career spans an astounding four and a half decades, a testament to his enduring influence and unwavering dedication to the craft.

Born in 1953, Machoka turned 70 on Sunday, September 9.

Fred Obachi Machoka's foray into journalism is a tale of serendipity and hidden talent. In 1975, while working as a General Service Unit (GSU) soldier in Kenya's Northern Frontier, he stumbled upon an opportunity that would change the course of his life.

This turning point came in the form of a competition known as 'SANYO juu SANYO Tops.' Obachi, with nothing to lose, decided to participate and, to his surprise, emerged victorious.

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The prize, a 'Sanyo' radio, had to be collected in Nairobi. During the prize collection, a program producer noticed something special about Obachi's—his unique voice.

Intrigued by this discovery, he inquired if Fred would be interested in radio broadcasting. Despite his ongoing service with GSU, Fred agreed to give it a shot.

Fred's journey into broadcasting began with the task of promoting SANYO electronics, which were struggling in the market at the time.

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Through a five-minute advertisement on KBC (then known as VOK or Voice of Kenya), he successfully catapulted SANYO into a leading electronics brand in Kenya within just three years.

Obachi would go ahead to quit his job as a cop and took up the broadcast direction fully.

Fred Obachi Machoka's transition into radio broadcasting marked the beginning of an illustrious career.

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Under the tutelage of the late Said Sonko, he honed his skills and embarked on further education in public relations and advertising. His gift for conceptualizing creative promotions for companies quickly became his trademark.

Fred's broadcasting career flourished as he pioneered promotional concepts for various companies. He hosted several popular shows, including 'Seng'enge ni ng'ombe,' 'Ugua pole na Lucozade,' 'Sportsman ni sawa hasa,' and 'Mchanganyiko maalum na Bitchman.' His contribution extended to television as well, where he hosted 'Talk of Time' and 'Music Time' on KCB.

In 1988, he established FM 35 (Fred Machoka at 35), a venture primarily focused on commercial broadcasting.

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In 2002, Citizen Radio beckoned him, initially sparking hesitation as it was a new station competing with industry giants like Metro Radio. However, Fred took a leap of faith, joining Citizen Radio to host the 'Roga Roga' show.

Fred's move to Citizen Radio proved to be a resounding success. The 'Roga Roga' show quickly gained popularity.

Its success not only endured but expanded, eventually making its way to Citizen TV.

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The veteran broadcaster is married to Sophie and the couple has celebrated four decades of marital bliss.

They share their journey with four grown-up children and two grandchildren, as of 2017.

In a revealing interview, Fred emphasized that successful marriages require effort and dedication. Sophie initially grappled with the fame associated with her husband but learned to navigate it as time passed.

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Beyond his media career, Fred Obachi Machoka dedicates his time to mentoring young talents in the industry.

He also manages a ranch in Kajiado, which offers barbecue cuisine and a range of activities, including horse riding, quad biking, farm tours, picnics, and a children's playground.

The ranch is led by his son, Victor Machoka and Obachi regards it to be a place he gets therapy.

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Given his contribution to the media space, Machoka has received recognition from the media council and the state.

In May 2023, Machoka received the Lifetime Achievement Award during the the 2023 Annual Journalism Excellence Awards.

In 2022, Machoka was conferred with the Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) award in recognition of over 40 years of exemplary service to the broadcasting industry.

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Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

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