Al Kags

Will the real Jeff Koinange come back?


I have beef with Jeff Koinange. It has taken me time to pen this because I wanted it to be a considered commentary on how I feel. I had to sift through my feelings and find a balanced and respectful approach to deliver my thoughts (there’s such little attempt to do this in this instant gratification oriented world).

Why does it matter what Al Kags thinks? Because I have been a fan of the Emmy award winner for ages. I watched him at CNN and as he sat in his bench over the years. I have sat on his bench. Jeff is one of the few pedigree Kenyan TV broadcasters. It matters what I think because like many others I need to look up to him. It matters because I am part of his audience. It matters because I am a citizen of Kenya and the quality of his output has an impact on our well being. It matters because I matter.

My beef with Jeff is that he has allowed his bench to stoop rather low in what is a blatant and classless pursuit for ratings. I get it – ratings are the biggest drivers of TV business and the competition for eyeballs has never been more feverish in Kenya. But Jeff is a larger than life brand – I am not aware of another journalist who has an Emmy or who can match up with Jeff’s mean achievements. Udwak Amimo comes close but who else is there of Jeff’s pedigree? To add onto this, Jeff is a Member of the Burning Spear (MBS) a presidential honour given to people who impact Kenyans greatly.

His brand is so solid that that he need not prostrate  himself for ratings pulling stunts like the one he pulled on Boniface Mwangi recently or refereeing the mysogynistic attacks that have recently been witnessed on his bench? Seeing him welcome and entertain a drunk guest for the duration of his prime time show was gutting.I think there is an opportunity that Jeff Koinange, Larry Madowo – heck even Maina Kageni could begin to occupy. It is the space that was occupied by Caroline Mutoko’s breakfast show and Julie Gichuru’s TV prime time show on Sunday. There is a vacancy for a well researched, artfully orchestrated, balanced, thorough, informative yet entertaining show on Kenyan television.

I am not claiming that we need a dreadfully serious KBC type show. Have you watched Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and especially John Oliver’s Last Week Today? They hit the entire checklist – funny, informative, pithy, thorough. You are entertained as you are informed.

Mainstream broadcast media has standards that yes, may be evolving but cannot be reduced to the average Youtube Video or blogs such as this one. There is a higher standard.

Here’s the thing: of that higher standard, Jeff is placed at the pinnacle of the highest of standards. Why? Because he should damn well know better – and I expect he does. There’s enough crap in media production today.Rise up and stimulate our minds, why  don’t you, Jeff? Show us a little class.

PS: Hey, Larry Madowo, are you there to fill the gap?

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