Bernard Avle on Citi Fm - Citi Breakfast Show - #citicbs

The Joy Super Morning Show was the biggest radio show in times past. They, however, lost that position to the Citi Breakfast Show.

One of the enthralling moments in Ghana’s history was the burgeoning of private radio stations, especially in Accra.

The novel variety was great. Listening to the radio was so much refreshing.

The morning shows were the biggest. Everyone loved to listen in the mornings for the motivation to carry on through the day. Get to know the goings-on about town and to speak freely and be heard by thousands if not millions.

When Komla Dumor began hosting the morning show on Joy Fm, it was a game-changer. It became the biggest show on the radio. Accra listened to him every morning.

Dumor had a gigantic presence. The knowledge he possessed about the subjects he discussed was vast. His communication skill was palatable, a work of a virtuous craftsman.

He spoke the English Language with so much ease it appeared his father invented the language.

In the end, the Joy Super Morning Show had no rivalry.

Great things, though, like all other things earthly, don’t last forever.

Sadly, Komal left for the BBC. I could feel my interest in radio in the mornings ebbing away before breaking into smithereens over the oceans. Eventually, 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 He sculpted a legacy that superseded Joy Fm, that when he upgraded his career to the BBC, many of his disciples were dispersed, including me.

Several hosts have tried to fill in the unique pair of sandals Dumor left. Their efforts have instead alienated some of us. They were good. They tried their best, but couldn’t 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 stool and sat on it. He tried to do himself – he’s not an imitation of anybody else.

He 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 become the new revelation with such an approach.

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, leaving them to watch the actions from the popular stands.

They have won many accolades. In 2017, The Citi Breakfast Show won the best talk show on the radio!

What though makes the Citi Breakfast Show relevant?

Passion. 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 entirely, but we love the effort they put in the campaign. 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 passion of the team members spills over the studio into the real world. Some of the team members carry Ghanaian products along when they travel outside Ghana 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.

Diversity. Presenting the morning show with a team (that includes a woman) means different perspectives, ideas and views. It breaks the mould 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.

Relevance. The Citi Breakfast Show discuss issues that affect real people in society. Actual problems like unemployment, disaster and the like and offer fitting solutions. 

Recently, one big hiplife artiste trash-talked another. All radios around town discussed the issue in a way that caused fans of both sides to wrangle on Twitter. The Citi Breakfast Show, instead of dwelling on the insults and further incensing fans of these artistes spoke about the effects their music is having on people, their impact and relevance in society.

To me, it was the most civilized and matured way of handling a situation of this nature.

Social. The Citi Breakfast Show is one of the most interactive ones I know. #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 up.

There’s hope for the Joy Super Morning Show. They can turn things around and occupy the chair they once owned.

I recommend only two things.

Female Host. Females don’t host big morning shows in Ghana – shows that dissect, rearrange and sew back together issues of the day. 

Many are scared, saying that females are frail and may not be able to stand up to the sometimes overly exaggerated machismo attitude many men display. That’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 Christine Amanpour or Zaina Bedawi (just to type a few before the keys on my MacBook wear out).

Originality. In Ghana, people look at things through the same old, dusty lens. Always make the presentation engaging and fun.

The Joy Super Morning Show’s way of discussing issues of the day needs to be different and separate from the lot. News travels fast in our era. Before a news item comes on the radio, many listeners may have heard it on the internet. But do they know all the sides to 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. Just be yourself.

Though I listen 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 the radio what we know it to be today.

And nobody can take that away from them.