From the 1980s and 90s as a writer to five years ago as a guest political analyst at Jeff Koinange’s JKL on KTN, Tony Gachoka has been known to thrive on controversy and scandals.
At one time, he was imprisoned over contempt for linking three High court judges to graft. The same judges heard his case and jailed him, but was later released on presidential pardon after two and half months.
Before that, he worked as the CEO of Finance Magazine, which he ran with veteran publisher Njehu Gatabaki until 1995. In 1997, Gachoka launched his own publication, The Post on Sunday, which landed him in jail.
He would later become a panelist alongside Mukhisa Kituyi and the late Mutula Kilonzo on Kiss 100′ Crossfire. He later would get a slot on KBC known as Hot Seat, but did not last long. This was in 2008.
He would later become a regular guest at KTN’s JKL show hosted by Jeff Koinange. Just like in other shows, he faced backlash and would be unceremoniously pushed out in 2015.
This is the time he spent a weekend in prison after failing to pay a Ksh2 million fine after being found guilty of contempt of Court alongside Jeff Koinange, Standard Group and KTN for defaming businessman Jimmy Wanjigi.
For three years he would stay out of the limelight, but Koinange would bring him back due to his in-depth understanding of political affairs, mastery of the Queens language and most probably his controversial nature which most Kenyan audience love. This was in April 2015, and it would not last long after he appeared on the show drunk.
Gachoka seems to have landed a ‘big’ media comeback with own show on KTN, Point Blank which debuts today at 9.45 pm.
“We call on viewers to change their diaries and be in front of their KTN News television channel every Wednesday night to follow this adventure,” Gachoka said.
But will the show survive the test of time?
From the look of things, the timing and positioning is set to rival Jeff Koinange’s show on Citizen, JKL which airs at the same time.
Sources within both media houses indicate that the exit of Jeff Koinange, Mohamed Ali, Joe Ageyo and other prominent journalists has left the station struggling for viewership.
Sinking deeper in reduced advertising revenues, the station is forced to get a controversial personality who will excite the audiences. To KTN, the person is none other that Tony Gachoka.
But sources intimate that KTN does not trust Gachoka with live interviews, so most of his shows will be recorded unlike other such shows. This is set to limit him, and at the end of the day he might feel frustrated when a good portion of the show’s content is edited out. This is the same thing that happened to Mohamed Ali in KTN and NTV.
Pundits argue that Royal Media is not afraid of Gachoka’s competition, since Jeff is said to be “disciplined” unlike Gachoka.
Political factors may also play in Gachoka’s show, as he openly declared his opposition to Deputy President William Ruto’s candidature in 2022. For such a show to have a partisan host, it might not be objective enough to cut across all political divides. In fact, Gachoka will be seen as a tool to fight Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, since the media house is owned by Ruto’s arch-rival Gideon Moi, who is said to be going for the top seat in 2022 and the Moi family.
With all these factors combined, it might be hard for Gachoka’s hyped show to break even, though it might seem to actually work in the first few episodes.