Uncle Fred Obachi Machoka: from GSU soldier to decorated radio presenter

Fred Obachi Machoka is a well-known media personality from Kenya, recognized for his role as the longstanding host of the Roga Roga show on Citizen Radio, which is owned by Royal Media.

According to Fred, his journey into broadcasting began unexpectedly. Initially, he served as a GSU officer in the North Eastern province, which was previously known as the North Frontier District. During this time, he would frequently tune in to Voice of Kenya (VOK) radio, which conducted various competitions for its listeners.

One of the popular programs on VOK was called Sanyo Juu. It was during Fred’s participation in one of these competitions that he emerged as a winner. As a result, he received a letter from VOK instructing him to collect his prize at Pioneer House in Nairobi.

During his next leave from his security job, Fred made a visit to the radio station’s offices to claim his award. To prove his identity as the legitimate winner, he had to present his identity card to the radio producers. One of the producers noted that Fred possessed a voice suited for radio presenting and asked if he would be interested in pursuing a career in radio. Recognizing the opportunity, Fred agreed.

However, there was one obstacle. He wasn’t prepared to immediately leave his security job. To address this, the producer proposed a solution in which Fred would pre-record several programs to be aired during his absence from the job. This marked the beginning of his radio career.

Fred found great pleasure in his broadcasting voice while stationed in the Northern frontier, stating that he found the microphone more appealing than guns. In December 1976, he made the decision to quit his GSU job and dedicate himself fully to radio broadcasting. The financial rewards from his radio endeavors exceeded what he earned as a GSU officer.

Around the same time, the host of Sanyo Juu, Saidi Omari, passed away. VOK’s management approached Fred with an offer to team up with Mohammed Ramah, an experienced radio presenter, to co-host the show. Subsequently, Fred began hosting other programs such as “Ever Ready Paka Power” and “Ugua pole na lucozade.” With these opportunities, Fred Machoka rose to become a celebrated figure in the media industry, working alongside esteemed broadcasters like Stephen Kikumo, Lenard Mbotela, Mohammed Njuguna, Salim Mohammed, and others.

While Fred was making strides in his career, he also started gaining knowledge about advertising and public relations. In fact, he established a company called FM 35 promotions, which primarily focused on commercial broadcasting.

One day, while Fred was working in his office, he received an offer to become a presenter at the newly launched radio station, Radio Citizen, owned by Royal Media. Initially, he turned down the offer because Citizen was still in its early stages, and he was already a well-known figure in the media industry. However, his friends encouraged him to accept the offer, noting that he would only be working on weekends. Fred agreed to join Radio Citizen on one condition: Royal Media had to meet his terms of payment.

Upon joining Citizen, Fred embarked on hosting the ‘Roga Roga’ show, inspired by the popular song “tutawaroga” by the late Issa, which was trending at that time. Within a few months, the show gained significant popularity and began rivaling other programs in its genre. To this day, “Roga Roga” remains the number one show, and Fred credits his loyal fans for its success.

Fred offers valuable advice to aspiring radio presenters, emphasizing the importance of understanding the theatrics of a radio show. Just like any performance, there comes a time when the curtain opens and closes. He encourages presenters to be aware that their