[dropcap1]C[/dropcap1]alls to Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku’s phone were placed some few minutes after 8:00 am.
The first few seconds of the conversation went from ‘hi, good morning’ to purpose. An interview was to be done the same day – and Naa, Starr 103.5 FM‘s mid-morning show host, was okay with the arrangement.
At about 2:30 pm, some two and a half hours after ‘The Zone’ – the programme she hosts every weekday on the Meridian House-based network – she was ready for the enewsgh.com reporter.
Below, a transcript of the hearty chat.
Congratulations on your marriage.
*Laughs*. Thank You.
There’s an ongoing debate on whether having a white wedding after the traditional marriage is necessary or not. Your thoughts?
I think it’s entirely based on the individual’s option. It really doesn’t make much of a difference legally but if you are a religious person then you might … it might make some difference to you.
By our laws, having a traditional marriage alone makes it legal and recognizable. However, if you are a Christian or Muslim or whichever other religion, you might want to do a ceremony before your God, whoever he is, just to make it more, religious if I should say so. I’m Christian for example so I may do a traditional wedding which we call engagement and after that, I may just want to do a ceremony in front of my God as the Bible prescribes so it doesn’t make much of a difference.
It does not, just based on an individual’s preference.
The experience with Starr FM; how has it been so far?
It’s been fun, challenging and it’s been a learning experience from day one to now. From the first day, I walked in here till now. I’ve never done radio; this is my first radio job. I’ve never spent more than one hour at a radio station until I joined Starr FM, so it’s been more than anything a learning experience for me. I was happy to join Starr FM because I like new things.
I like trying new things. When I heard about Starr FM, I heard Bola Ray had joined Starr FM; I called Bola and said, why have you left Joy FM? Wherever you are going take me with you, he just laughed it off. And then he called me later; ‘you said you wanted to come to Starr FM, come and lets have a chat’. So I was looking at one, thirty minutes show on a Saturday or something because I’ve never done radio and I came and he said I want you to do mid-morning every day. I was like, no this is big, you need someone who has done radio before you know and he said ‘I trust you, I know can you can do it. ‘I think you can speak well, you can sit on radio for three hours and have something to say.’
I said, if you think so, who am I to say no, if you believe in me, I should believe in me too. So I decided to give it a shot, I spent so many hours on Youtube watching how to host a radio show. I don’t remember anything from there.
Day one was shaky, a little bit or a lot bit (sic) * laughs*. And then I joined Bola on the Drive to watch him, just sit in the corner and watch him and I think that’s what helped me rebuild my confidence. I’m still learning, I’m still growing every day.
How would you rate yourself over the period?
I think I’ve done so well. I’m learning but I think I’ve done so well. I think I’ve grown fast. Like I said, everyday I’m learning. Every day I realize something new, sometimes every hour but I think I’ve done well.
You mentioned that you’ve grown fast, do you compare yourself to the likes of Jessica Opare Sarforo and Doreen Andoh?
I look up to them. I hope one day people will ask radio presenters if they are comparing themselves to me. I’ve been listening to Doreen ( Andoh ) since I started listening to radio attentively; that is like 17 or 18 years now so I by all means admire her. And I hope one day people will ask this question you asked about her about me.
Give me a good reason why i should tune into ‘The Zone?
Unlike other mid-morning shows, there is a breath of fresh air in it. Amongst other things, I have a great DJ who plays great music. His name is DJ Mono. I appreciated DJing but since I started doing my show here at Starr FM, I have appreciated DJing more because he just has the right music. I don’t know how to put it but he plays the kind of music I want to listen to if I was at home or if I was at work or if I was in traffic or if I was in a banking hall queue.
He just cuts across and from 9-12; people are usually at work, trying to get work done, people are stressed, people are tired, people have problems at home, they just left the wife and child and thinking… at that time of the day, it’s very crucial because all kinds of things happen before launch and you don’t want to listen to a show that will further depress you or just basically annoy you so you want to listen to ‘The Zone’ .
We give you great information about your health, fitness and there are real life stories which are told on certain days which appeals to many people across the country.
[quote_center]I can tell by the kind of feedback that we get, and amongst other things the segments are designed to give solutions to real life problems, the things that you think about whilst you are at your desk, when you get out of your car to enter the office. It’s a hundred percent of what your mid-morning should be. And so you should listen, if you tune in once, you won’t tune out[/quote_center].
How long do you plan on working with Starr FM?
As long as I can.
Do you want to have a radio show just as you do on TV?
Well, I could but I haven’t given it that much of a thought.
Between radio and TV, which do you enjoy doing the most?
They are different. On TV, if I’m talking to you and you are making me happy, it is evident on my face without having to say a word. On radio, I have to say you’re making me happy. If I just sit down and smile, nobody knows that I’m smiling so nobody knows what is going on.
On radio, you can’t just express your emotions by body language, you have to speak it, so if I’m extremely tired. I have to say oh, I’m so tired today so radio requires a little extra unlike TV. And radio requires a lot more to be able to build a connection unlike TV.
On TV, I know if I look into the camera, you are looking into my eyes. On radio, I have to say something that will draw you to me so it’s different. It requires an empty studio and you the presenter, speaking to a lot of people but it has to be personal to each of them.
You are on radio, TV and an actor as well; do you see yourself as a celebrity?
I don’t. I just do my work.
There is an ongoing debate on whether or not there are celebrities in Ghana. Your thoughts?
I don’t know what a celebrity is. I need to look up that word in a dictionary or google it and then I can answer that question.
How do you manage to juggle the many things you have to do outside your work as a broadcast person?
I think its God. I cannot… you know just last night I was talking to a colleague here around 10:30 pm at the sales office and I said I have no idea how we are able to do this. I have no idea because it’s no easy, it requires a lot of your everything, it requires all of you and you still have to be able to have a life and still do all this.
I was studying and trying to figure out how I’m able to do all this, I cannot give you a logical explanation; I plan my time no that would be a story. I think its God and a will to do it. It requires you to what to it with your all not I kind of want to do it. I want to give it a shoot, no don’t give it a shoot, you have to want it and you want to have to be good at it.
You want to want people to say I think I like the way she does it or I think I like how she is doing it or I probably want to be like her. It requires you to want all that to be able to do it. You must have a God who you’re speaking to, who will be with you and teach you and guide you all the way.
What should any young lady who dreams of becoming like you, do to get there?
Oh, you must want to do it. It shouldn’t be about the money. If it’s about the money, you shouldn’t do radio. If you want money, go and sell gold. * laughs*. That is a joke. You should be passionate about it.
There’s nothing you can get out of a job if you don’t like it. The money will pay the bills but then you have to be happy doing it. When I’m smiling about radio,I i’m happy.
I’m not well but I’m here. When I wake up in the morning, I want to come here. On Saturdays, my days feel odd because I feel like I’m breaking my schedule so you have to be passionate about it , if it’s about the money please , you won’t be happy. Money does bring happiness , money makes me happy but I love what I’m doing, I’m glad I’m getting paid for it. Find what you love doing and then you get paid for it; you will be awesome at it.
Brand or not?
I think that every person is s a brand. There is a brand called Sedem , there’s a brand called Star FM, there’s a brand called Naa. And every brand has its characteristic, for example, Coca Cola and Pepsi, both taste similar, but there is a reason why you would pick Coca Cola over Pepsi right? Because of its branding and in the same way all of us, so if you have a product you want to sell and you think mine is more synonymous with what you want to project, why not? So yeah, we are all brands so I am.
Do you think there will be a time when Starr FM would be the market leader?
I think so. Many stations come and it takes them forever to make the impact that Starr FM has made. Starr FM is a baby and yet has made so much impact on the airwaves, online and people across the world are listening online and I think that’s a big deal.
People have a problem listening to radio online but people are listening to us via starrfmonline and I’m getting text messages from Tokyo. I met a man from the United States yesterday and he said ‘I listen to your show’ and I was glad. He listens online, he had never been to Ghana before, he just wanted to listen to a Ghanaian station and he chose to listen to Starr FM. Before long, I think Starr FM would be a market leader.
Take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Whether you intended to be a radio show host, whether it was a plan or not, once you have an opportunity, it’s probably coming from God, you should grab it and use it. Where there are no opportunities, try to create some and not wait for it to happen to you. And be prayerful, and work hard at everything you do.
By: A enewsgh.com special