When he blurted that fateful “the light of God is here” phrase to introduce Sunshine Radio to the people of Accra in the late ‘90s Kwasi Kyei Darkwa may not have known that he was introducing a radio station that would tip the apple cart in a short time afterwards. Indeed, his stay at the station did not last long and so did the station as it transformed from Sunshine Radio to Choice FM and had a new management team to manage its affairs and as they say in some circles “the rest is history.”
Following that, several stations have been introduced and many have used different expressions, phrases and sentences to announce their arrival on the big stage of urban radio broadcasting knowing that they have taken upon themselves a very tough job.
Last Monday, a new radio station formally started to roll out its programme to listeners within the capital and environs. The outdooring of programmes came as a climax to a test transmission that has been going on for a while now.
Even before the test transmission, there were rumours of the coming into being of the new station that was taking over from Vibe FM and we later on found out that the name of that station would be Live FM and would operate from Tesano in Accra.
Among the rumours were the people who would likely show up at the place to present the programmes lined up. It was forgone that many people from the glory days of Vibe FM would head to the place to work with their former CEO Mike Cooke who it was said would play the COO role at this new station.
It came up in some other circles that TV3’s lead female news and lifestyle presenter, Nana Aba Anamoah was on her way to the station as a newscaster and a regular feature on the morning show of the new station when they commence business.
Sources close to Nana Aba and the station had said it several times and convincingly so that she was definitely on her way to the station until the very last moment when talks fell through. Her decision to baulk could be because the deal being offered did not meet her expectations or that she received an improved deal from TV3 when she made it known she wanted to leave.
Be that as it may, she is not there and we cannot say for a fact that she would eventually join the station as they continue to roll out their programming. What we can say though is that the odds of her going are way lower than those for her staying at TV3.
When D-day came last Monday, the morning show of the station was presented by ageless Kojo Mensah, a Vibe FM alumnus who came back to the station during the dying embers of its existence after returning from a United Nations job in Sierra Leone. Or so.
Alongside Mensah was a new person in Benny Blanco the former XFM and Atlantis Radio presenter who came into national prominence when he hosted the first and second season of the television music reality show Vodafone Icons.
Between the two of them and other people who appeared on the show as it ran its course from 6am to 10am they introduced the new station to the capital and to the world. They handled the different segments and though being experienced in their own regard there were some little hoo-hahs that can be forgiven for a first day’s appearance.
Another person who took his seat on the station’s programme and in the mid-morning for that matter was no other than a Vibe FM legend and prodigal son Kwame Farkye. We all know Farkye has been around and done it all from Choice to Vibe to Atlantis to XFM but we cannot be very sure if mid-morning is where he has to be.
Now he comes head on with the likes of Doreen Andoh, Jessica Opare-Saforo and Sammy Forson of Joy FM, Citi FM and YFM respectively. We cannot say for a fact how this competition would work out for him as it is a new area than those he is used to.
It was also said that the lead female radio presenter at YFM Jeremie Van-Gershon would also leave her comfort at the Accra Mall to join her former Vibe FM colleagues at the new radio station. It was said that she would be responsible for the late afternoon show when Live FM started.
To be honest, I had suspected when the list of people who were likely to end up at the station was mentioned that the late afternoon show might end up with Farkye but it did not. The person who sat in was Jeremie who had Ruddy Kwakye as co-presenter.
What it means is that Farkye would have to cut a path on mid-morning and Jeremie would have to do same cosiderering where she was most successful on radio was on the late evening programme when she presented Y-Lounge on YFM.
Thankfully, Jeremie has Ruddy to…what’s the word…chaperone her to ensure she lands correctly. I guess. Throwing her on such a competitive platform with the likes of Bola Ray and her former colleagues at YFM as well as those on the Akan language stations like Peace FM, Adom FM and Okay FM was always going to make her struggle.
Other Vibe FM alumni who have ended up at the new station include Giles Bossman who hosts the after drive, George Brun who has a weekly show on weekends, Van Vicker who has a weekly show on Fridays and Denis Mepuri who presents the sports at the station.
This is the core squad that Michael Cooke and his partners are going to rely on to make this new ship they have acquired navigate the murky waters of the radio sea in the capital.
Whether the station would succeed in this new venture would depend on how these guys gel and how they get people from other stations to continue to listen to them.
Positioning wise, it seems they are going for something above YFM and headed for where Joy FM and Citi FM are positioned and that is a tough mountain to climb. That calls for diligence, dedication and determination to succeed no matter the cost and time it took to do so.
I must say that with the excitement dying out of Atlantis Radio the tag “Accra’s adult alternative radio” doesn’t appeal much anymore and so if you want another place to go and hide when the political noise on radio, especially in the morning, becomes unbearable it seems these guys have the goods.
I have been listening over the last three days and would say that if they keep the trend as it is they will have an audience that wants that cross between tranquility and some political subtle commentary combined and delivered with a touch of good music.
I will keep listening to know how the station’s programming, presenter positioning and all other things that Live FM claim to offer would work out. First of all though, it’s in order to say welcome to the big stage to the management and staff of the station.
Written by Francis Doku