Monday, August 31, 2009

Census for the entertainers!

I was not shocked to learn that Hawayu, you may remember it’s that show where the host doesn’t know whether he is a cross dresser, a musician or a comedian, has ended.
After the first two episodes, I decided that I had better things to do with my 30 minutes---- like pulling my own hair and I never paid any more attention.
I hear they are saying the show is on a season break? Really? I think that’s Chinese for, “It’s been scrapped!”
That I must say was one of the best career decisions made for Omosh.
Away from Hawayu, As I waited to be counted over the last week and thinking I would be placed under “others” when the final tally is made, it made me realise how hard it is for an entertainer to try so hard to be counted among the best then it doesn’t happen.
The number of artistes who have been in the industry for over eight years and are still regarded as “up and coming artistes” is staggering.
I think the number is huge enough for them to start a whole industry on their own.
It must be hard because, everybody around me has been talking about how they have been counted, meaning they are part of a larger group and that relegates me to very few Kenyans-not a good feeling.
As an artiste, it is heartbreaking when you have two songs and maybe one poorly done video and still nobody gives you a second look on the streets or when you get a rare chance to be on stage, people take it like it’s a commercial break and decide to go to the toilet or buy a cigarette.
I meet entertainers who are desperate for that one track or show that will put them on the map and have their faces in the media or at least get an occasional; “Oh my God, are you Refigah?”!!!
My not being counted although depressing, as I m proud to be a Kenyan, is not heart wrenching like that of an artiste who wont get a breakthrough.
There are two things you can do, quit or get that one track or show that will make you famous. I suggest you go with the first option especially if you have been in the industry for over five years.
Give it up because may be it’s just not for you and look for something else to do. Don’t worry, you can always tell the public that you are on a season break!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Digitise and syndicate!

Through the years, Kenyan television stations have treated us to a wide variety of programming from the worst of the worst to the best and they continue to do so.
It is by no means, a mean feat especially in an industry like ours where creativity is in abundance but rarely gets to be showcased and so the little that manages to sieve through must be preserved.
And that is where the problem arises. The word syndication is as foreign in the our TV stations as the word decency in our politicians.
From Tahamaki to Vitimbi, Vioja Mahakamani, Vituko, Tushauriane, Kisulisuli, Better Days and many others, once they have been pulled off air, you all know that no matter how a hardcore fan you were of them, you will never see them again.
Even some of the programs that we are enjoying now will fall off the face of the earth after their runs are over and new programs take their slot.
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast shows to multiple individual stations, without going through a broadcast network.
For example, a program like Churchill Live can be broadcast on KTN, Citizen or any other channels once NTV is done with it.
Problem is, with the way our television is organised, I doubt that can happen because they never share even news items!
So, how else can the stations ensure that popular programs stay on for years after their broadcast sell by date? Simple, have them available on DvD!
We all get to watch programs like Prison Break, Lost, Burn Notice, How I met your mother, Boondocks even when they are still being broadcast right? That’s what I’m talking about.
Very many us still remember programs like Tushauriane with nostalgia so can you guess how many would rush to get a copy of the program’s DvD? Its money in the bank for KBC!
We all watch re-runs of shows like The Jeffersons, Mind your language, Sanford and Son and still laugh at the jokes years after they stopped production so I don’t know why I can’t watch Kenyan programs or even have them as a collector’s item.
Reddykyulass proved that syndication means loads of money and I’m sure a few will follow the same path.
There are three kinds of syndication; First-run which refers to programming that is broadcast for the first time as a syndicated show, Off-network, the sale of a program that was originally run on network television: a rerun and Public-broadcasting.
Let’s keep the few gems we have around not in the stations vaults but in our homes. Whose with me?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Want to enjoy Kenyan Sports... Press the mute button!!

Kenya is a football loving country and we go nuts whenever one of our teams is playing be it locally or abroad.
As I watch the ongoing match between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards where the latter is currently leading, I have come to one conclusion, we may have fans, but we don't have football analysts or commentors.
Listening to the commentators, I have heard stuff like, "If Gor wants to win this match, then they will have to score more goals than AFC who are leading at the moment!" Shocking am telling you!
I have heard more fun nursing an injury than listening to the local so called "football experts".
Whenever I watch sports channels like ESPN's Sports Center and Soccernet Press Pass, I always marvel at how they use sports icons like Magic Johnson and other much qualified people in their network for things like analysis and even interviews.
This, I have come to realise tends to make the stories deeper, more relevant and believable since they usually have inside details or more knowledge on whatever sport they are involved in. This is because if its analysing, say, the NBA Finals, someone like Magic has been there and knows the kind of mental state the players are in.
In Kenya, all our sports icons are never called to help add a new perspective to the stories being carried. That job is left to some wannabes who think they know it all.
I always see people who have never even touched a ball commenting on things like football and that is why I believe we have the worst sports analysts.
The analysts always try and offer some perspective on the sports and they always end up giving us analysis that make you want to sit on a pin.
"If I were Alex Ferguson, I would not have put Van Der Sar as the keeper, I think he would have been brilliant as a midfielder." Those are some of the things you might hear if you listen carefully.
Plus analysis should be on the formation, ball movement and the likes. But when you listen to or homegrown talent you will hear of stuff like, "I think Barcelona are leading because they have scored one goal and Man United haven't. I think that for United to win, they will need two goals..."
Shouldn't that be a crime? Come on tell me something new even if it will be wrong for heaven's sakes!
Analysts do more than just tell us what we know, they go a step further but not on the wrong direction like our people.
If its athletics, get Paul Tergat, Ndereba, Mwafrika and others to help you out, not to listen to analysis like "If Ndereba wants to win, she should be the first at the finishing line." Try and tell me how the body starts to feel after ten kilometers and the likes.
If they would do that, then we can start tuning to the local programs to listen to their ideas rather than rushing to the loo.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Since the explosion of reality shows, it has now become obvious that TV is full of amateurs in search of their big break.
In Kenya, we have several shows and they are all pathetic as we have come to painfully see and for the shows to happen, they must contestants. That’s where the problem starts.
My problem with the contestants, at least in Kenya is that they are the same old faces and they making me sick.
All you needed to do was watch the show “The Presenter” and you get my argument. Majority of the contestants have been on every darn audition or show that has hit the airwaves.
From that show, I can pick out guys who I have seen at the MTV VJ search, Tusker Project Fame, both shows some as contestants and others as hopefuls, Idols and I can bet you they have tried their hand for Big Brother. Case in point, some dude called Koome!
So, when I see them on television on a show that seeks to look for Kenya’s next big thing, I sympathied with the viewers.
Surely, how many trials does one need to prove that they just don’t have what it takes to make it on television? Even the blondes who fail on American Idols never try their luck on the Apprentice right? Not in Kenya.
What we have is a bunch of youthful energy who don’t care what they do as long as they end up on television. Explain why one would try out on all the reality shows that Kenya has had?
Isn’t one of the contestants at the show, the one who couldn’t handle the pressure at TPF2? If you can’t handle that kinda pressure which Hemedi did, can you handle the turbulent life that is television?
Watching the show, I had no idea what to think of it. Were they being taught to be television reporters, anchors, editors or cry babies? Am confused just like the contestants only that I haven’t tried for every show available.
If we are to advance and get new faces, we need some sort of rules for anyone who tries out for two shows unsuccessfully.
I think we should start circulating their faces like the police do for wanted criminals on any audition so that we can give other people a chance to try their hand at something that they might actually be good at!
I love the show’s concept just that the format is a bit unclear and if it wasn’t done in a hurry as it looks like was the case.
For those who didn't make it on this show, you can bet they will be next on line for the next audition! Wanna bet?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Beauty pageants turning ugly

At some point there was an explosion of beauty pageants in Kenya that they outnumbered the models themselves. Then they all died and the only ones left are those stripper joints competitions.
The popularity of the pageants almost signaled a good turn for the organisers of those events. But instead of controlling them through good quality shows, they let every Tom, Dick and Model do whatever they wanted.
There ceased being a criteria of who was eligible or what was to be modeled. I have been invited to many pageants where the men are modeling those suits that are bought in the supermarkets and they still have those lines.
The girls on the other side cannot be left behind with their cheap weaves, high heels and (mostly) red dresses that should come with a "Stay away from fire" tag.
If you thought being dumb was a preserve of most of the winners, think again, the organisers of such shows are worse. Everything about such events such spells cheap and they are usually sponsored by local salons whose only contribution is helping them print the black and white posters and some hideous banners.
I think we have the highest number of "beauty queens" than anywhere in the world and what they do or achieve is still a mystery because they just don on those Sh150 tiaras and some hand made sash and some plastic bouquets.
Beauty pageants are no longer a preserve of a few or events that make people just scream their heads off, they are a chance for the municipal big wig to be noticed.
Of all the places I have traveled I still believe Kenya has some of the most beautiful women in the world (although I believe Brazil and the Carribean are on the very top) so we can produce potential Miss World's or beauty queens who would woo any tourist to Kenya.
It just needs to be organised and it can get back to the days when the competition was vicious and far between and when one won, everyone wanted to know more about them.
Tell me, when was the last time you wanted to know about who won a particular pageant?
That said, I wish the Miss Kenya contestant all the best in China although I still believe she won't make it to the even the top 20 but I would love to be proven wrong.

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