Our local tv stations have lost their flavour


boring tv
I just read an article on the struggle for local content on tv. It was a good article articulating some of the issues facing our local TV stations. I personally have been frustrated by the lack of great content on tv. Most of our TV stations specialize in Mexican and Philipino soaps. There is usually a Philippino soap at 6, some local content at 730, then a Mexican soap at 8 and at 930. Turn to another broadcaster and you will find the same thing.

Growing up I loved watching TV. There was such a variety of things to watch. There were cartoon, news items, series, comedies both local and international. I looked forward to going home to watch tv. In fact when I was in high school I couldn’t wait to close school so that I could come home and watch the series which caught my eye at the time like Renegade.

I am in the demography that should be addicted to soaps. I do believe in love, and romance and all that jazz. But there is something like taking a good thing too far. When the Mexican soaps first came we were all fascinated. There was something different about them. Not the usual American soaps that never seemed to end. But over time those programs have come to overtake any other kind of content.

Now I can’t be bothered to watch TV. In fact the only day that I for sure watch TV is on Sunday. This is a form of bonding with my family. Most other days I would rather watch the series that is making me happy at the time. Just a few days ago that was the blacklist.

I think our TV stations have become very lazy. They have come up with a cheap and easy way to get to a part of the population. Women like soaps right. That may be true but not all of us want to watch them all the time. What they don’t realize is a significant population does not watch this soaps. The men switch off and go off to the bar to watch their matches or they switch on their computers or second tv and watch something else. Some of the women walk away as well.

I want variety. As I said I love romance, but I love action, drama, suspense, thrillers, Sci Fi too. So when the local TV stations are not offering me that I move somewhere else. I am not alone. There are many of us. TV stations keep boasting about their viewers but they should know many of us are switching off our TVs to watch something else.

It is not only about the soaps. If your household is like mine the TV may be mostly on one channel. You will find that week in week out they are showing the same local programs. Some of the productions are getting stale because there are no new ideas. Local TV stations need to do what international broadcasters do. Have a season for a program or comedy. Then give it a break for people to get a new season of something else. We don’t do that hence some of the programs lose their punch and flavor. Great actors may leave to star in new productions; great scriptwriters may leave as well as they watch their careers stagnate.

We need new ideas, new shows. We need shows that will make us leave the bar, the office or school to run home to watch a program. A program like don’t mess with Kansiime. But if we keep having the same shows with the same storylines, the TV stations slowly lose the audience. The audience may start buying dvds to watch at home, then series, then they even stop watching TV for the news because they can watch it on their phones. Then advertisers stop coming and start advertising on the net.


Our stations have lost their fragrant flavor. Have you smelt a rose recently? The roses are beautiful but they do not have that scent that used to attract one to them. In the end a rose is still a rose but without the scent there is nothing to enjoy.

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]


  1. They drove me away from TV a long time ago. I get everything I want from the internet. I happen to be on top of current affairs so unless something very interesting is on (like JichoPevu or some other expose), I never bother with any local TV programming. I can still pick out what news I want to catch up with on YouTube so there’s that. Local TV sucks! Meanwhile, I cannot count the number of TV series that I watch every month and are always lively and way above board. There’s something totally wrong about local TV. In fact listening to radio is much more welcome these days when I’m not on the internet. Yes many Kenyans watch those soaps but how many more are the TV stations driving away? In this game of numbers and ratings you need everyone. That everyone includes that minority who’ve resorted to getting their content elsewhere. How do you win them back? Overhaul the programming.
    When we were growing up, TV was fun. And no, that fun had nothing to do with the excitement about the black magic box, it had everything to do with the programming. Make that right again and someone like me who grew up without internet access and smartphones may come back. May be I am being too selfish but I believe there’s quite a number of people who find themselves in a position similar to mine.

  2. I fully respect this piece as a personal opinion which you are rightly entitled to, and it is always refreshing to hear honest opinion. If I could just give you a different opinion: you see Kenya has about 12M tv viewers, out of which Nairobi only has about 1.8M. As a broadcaster, whereas Nairobians are few but the loudest, I must target the majority of TV viewers. A while back NTV did away with soap operas and discovered that all the anti-soap crusaders were very few, and their market share took a nose dive. Seeing as tv broadcasting is an expensive business, numbers come first. If you look at tv viewership trends, K24 and KTN have solid numbers on the weeekends because they show soaps while the rest are on Churchill and Twende Kazi-Local content.

  3. Great Article here. Well people might be watching soaps but the last time i watched local Channels was during the Westgate attacks. I have internet for news. Series i download what i want to watch and of course Football n F1 on DSTV.

    Digital migration will give the small players a level playing field, but the lack of innovation will still keep them rooted on what is currently working.

  4. I can tell you for a fact that a lot of people watch those soaps. Had a chat with the Commissioning Editor of one of the stations and apparently up to 45% of Kenyan men watch the soaps. Let’s not even get started about the numbers for women. You go to the Facebook page of Tusker Twende Kazi, a show that is different from anything else being shown on TV and most of the comments are about how the show should be scrapped and Soap operas brought back.

    Either way, I think the media has a responsibility to influence the choice of what the audience can watch. People are addicted to soaps partly because that is what they have known for the better part of a decade. If the media introduces the audience to new types of TV shows, then maybe the problem can addressed. There’s still the issue of aping the successful formula of other stations that has also got us here. KTN started it with the soaps and everyone else copied them as is the case now with Citizen and hidden camera shows.

    We have a lot of issues to address but the digital migration might just be the panacea that the industry needs. Let’s see how that plays out.

    • Panoramicdon you are right that many are watching soaps. But there are many who are tired of the soaps. We need new content.
      Yes the media needs to step up. But they won’t because mexican soaps are cheap to buy and they run for a long time.
      I cant wait for new tv stations with more content. I just hope they dont come with more of the same.