One of the greatest moments in Ghana’s history was the burgeoning of private radio stations, especially in Accra.
The novel variety was good. Listening to radio was so refreshing.
Morning shows on radio were the biggest. Everyone loved to listen in the mornings for the motivation to carry on through the day. And to hear the goings on in town. And to be in a position to speak their minds and be heard by thousands if not millions.
When Komla Dumor started hosting the morning show on Joy Fm, it was a game changer. It became the biggest show on radio. We listened every morning. He had a gigantic presence. The knowledge he possessed about the subjects he discussed was vast. His communication skills were palatable, a work of a virtuous craftsman.
He spoke the English Language with so much ease it appeared his father invented the language. The Joy Super Morning Show beacame the envy among all and it had no rival.
Momentous things though, like all other things earthly, don’t last forever.
Komla left to the BBC. It was a profound loss for me. I could feel my interest in radio in the mornings ebbing away before breaking into smithereens over the oceans. The radio went silent in the mornings.
Komla created the brand within a brand. He sculpted a legacy that superseded Joy Fm, that when he upgraded his career to the BBC, many of his disciples were dispersed, including me. The shepherd disappeared and the wolves could be heard howling in the distance.
Several hosts, tried to fill in the unique pair of sandals Dumor left, however their efforts rather alienated some of us. They were good. They tried their best, but couldn’t quite fill the king’s stool.
We felt there would never be a morning show that we could fall in love with. Again.
Then Bernard Koku Avle walked on to the stage, with the Citi Breakfast Show. Bernard brought on another dimension to the game. He took his tools, carved his own stool and sat on it. He tried to do himself – he’s not an imitation of anybody else.
Bernard speaks English not like a rich kid but as a typical loquacious Ghanaian. Like those college boys who love to debate on who is the greatest of all time, Pele or Maradona, in the JCR (Junior Common Room). Initially, I wondered if he could be the new revelation with such an approach. But who doesn’t like a genuine thing? Who doesn’t like to hear someone speak to them in their own voice?
Well, the answer is obvious.
Bernard also presents the show with a passionate, creative and diverse team. They know their facts. They champion Ghanaian creativity. Gradually, they shoved the Joy Super Morning Show to the sidelines, so they could watch the action from the ‘popular stands.’
They have won numerous accolades. In 2017, The Citi Breakfast Show was named the best talk show on radio!
What though makes the Citi Breakfast Show relevant and worth listening to?
The passion Bernard and his team have for the job can’t be disputed. You could feel their anger and frustrations when things don’t go the way they should in the country. And they do all they could to bring the change they desired.
When it came to fighting illegal mining in Ghana, they pioneered the battle and campaigned more than any other organization. Illegal mining is not gone completely, but the impact has been felt. And they won an award for their effort.
Sometimes, they chase some ministers around to shake them up to do what helps the nation.
The Citi Breakfast Show team has passion that spills over the studio into the real world. Some of them carry Ghanaian products along when they travel outside the country to advertise Ghanaian entrepreneurs. And they do this for free.
They’re joyful when they have a reason to be. And laugh out loud. Sometimes without restraint.
Presenting the morning show with a team (that includes a woman) means different perspectives, ideas and views. It breaks the mold of monotony hanging around the neck of many shows.
As an entrepreneur always hunting for new ideas and concepts, the Citi Breakfast Show has been an ideal idea safari for me. The idea to write this article came to me after listening to the Citi Breakfast Show.
They discuss issues that affect real people in society. Actual problems like unemployment, disaster, …and the like and offer real solutions. When an issue is considered by every radio in town, they look at things from a different angle.
As a for instance recently, one big hiplife artiste trash-talked another and the other replied. The Citi Breakfast Show instead of dwelling on the insults and further incensing fans of these artistes two (which could result in west coast, east coast kind of brawl) rather talked about the effects their music is having on people, their impact and relevance in society.
This to me was the most civilized and matured way of handling a situation of this nature.
The Citi Breakfast Show is one of the most interactive one I know of. #CitiCBS, their hashtag on social media is alive and kicking. They use it effectively as a way of communicating with their listeners. Sometimes I only follow the hashtag and know what’s going on.
All is not lost for the Joy Super Morning Show. They can turn things around and occupy the chair they once owned.
I recommend only two things.
Females have not been given the opportunity to host the morning show in Ghana where the big issues of the day are dissected, rearranged and sewn back together.
Many are scared, saying that the females are frail and may not be able to stand up to the sometimes overly exaggerated machismo attitude many men display. It’s a fat lie.
The men have had their day. It’s now the turn of the women.
The Joy Super Morning Show can hand over the show to a woman or a team of women with experience, knowledge, and grit like that of Elizabeth Ohene or Christiane Amanpour or Zeinab Badawi (just to type a few before the keys on my MacBook wear out).
In Ghana people look at things through the same old, dusty lens. This makes presentation fall flat on its belly.
The Joy Super Morning Show’s way of discussing issues of the day needs to be different and separate from the lot. This makes it easy for them to stand apart. News travels fast in our era. Before a news item is discussed, Many listeners may have heard it. But do they know all the sides of the cube? Nope. So to be able to cut open the ant and reveal its entrails is what brings the triumph.
Their hosts need not try to prove anything to anyone. They’ve to be themselves.
Though I listened to the Citi Breakfast Show more than the Joy Super Morning Show these days, I’m infused with lots of respect and admiration for the latter. Because they made the morning show on radio the way we know it today.
And nobody can take that away from them.