‘Time To Tecognise The Pioneers’ – Tarzan

Today, Thursday February 13, 2014, will be celebrated as WORLD RADIO DAY.

According to UNESCO, the sponsors, World Radio Day seeks raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through radio and enhance networking among broadcasters The day was approved in 2011 and the first celebration took place in 2012.

The IMCG and Radio Eye takes the opportunity of the World Radio Day 2014 to salute Victor Newman; Kweku Adu Gyamfi Opoku; Alfred Teddy Konu; Tom Wireko-Brobby; Anthony Akoto-Ampaw; Dr. William Coleman; Nana Akuffo-Addo: John Dekyem Attafuah; Albert Kan-Dapaah: Big J Appiah. Ghana owes a BIG THANK YOU to you for your foresight and sacrifice that made real today’s abundance of radio stations.

That Ghana today has almost 300 Frequency Modulation (FM) radio stations is taken for granted by most people, like the proverbial manna dropped from Heaven. Yet, the reality is that just 20 years ago to the day, Ghana had only one FM radio station operated by GBC. The station operated a monotone service on 95.7 MHz which run for just about 4 hours a day on account of the valves overheating.

Twenty years ago, on Saturday November 19, 1994, Radio EYE started broadcasting on the 96.2 MHz frequency in the FM band. The day was the culmination of the determined efforts by the Directors and supporters of the Independent Media Corporation of Ghana (IMCG) to manifest the rights granted by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and others preceding it.

After operating for 16 days, Radio Eye was forcibly shut down by. However, the ensuing legal actions by IMCG to insist on its fundamental rights and freedoms forced the government to allow more private FM stations to open , resulting in today’s overabundance of pluralism, diversity and choice of radio stations.

Unfortunately and most regrettably, the sacrifice and actions of those who put themselves out to lead the fight is not and has never been recognised, not by those who are profiting from it, not by those who are working because of it, and not by those who have been given voice by it. It has lost not been recognised by bodies such as the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association, body who owes its existence to Radio Eye; the Ghana Journalists Association, whose membership has been swelled by thousands; the Advertising Association of Ghana, who business is now driven largely by the radio and television.

The most painful and regrettable thing is how little the majority of practicing journalist and others in the industry know about how we got to have more FM stations per capita of population than probably any other country in the world. When you ask whether they were taught the history of broadcasting in Ghana at school, their point of reference and full knowledge begins and stops with the history of GBC. Wow!

The IMCG will mark 20 years of Broadcasting Pluralism in Ghana. We will use the occasion to reflect on what gave us the courage to do what we did; how well have the expectations been met; where have we all fallen short; and what does the future hold for radio, television and the new media forms for promoting free speech and freedoms in the WWW age.

born of the conviction of the title of Radio EYE’s coming out tune AIN’T NO STOPPING US NOW.

Charles Wereko-Brobby (aka Tarzan)

Executive Chairman, IMCG

Accra 12 February 2014