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Made in 1977 – Of Our Bola Ray!

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A sharply-dressed man sits for hours in a small room with no windows, talking to himself, laughing at his own jokes. He sports glasses and a clean shave. He has nothing but a microphone and music for company, and there’s a melody to his speech, and a diligence about his articulation.

He’s wearing a large headphone over his head, and his fingers are working channel faders on a console. He’s immersed in himself, but at the same time, is sharing his essence with an entire city. Over time, because of the seamless manner in which he navigates this insanity, and how expertly his performance textures into society, a love flickers, and then grows into a full flame stoked by the feeling of family. So that, tuning in becomes a cherished ritual for Auntie Adiza, who hawks rice dishes by a gutter in a Mamobi lungulungu, a Sowutuom barber who has also now become a regular caller, bank tellers at Airport City, a Spintex CEO looking over 1st quarter numbers…

Gradually, that young gentleman behind the console, disseminating bubbly vibes in spite of his own private tribulations, becomes various things to various people –but in the end, we all concede that he’s a real-life superhero.

Born Nathan Kwabena Anokye- Adisi, Ghanaian broadcaster Bola Ray turns 40 today, March 1st. Also, he marks 20 years since his days on Legon-based Radio Univers. It’s a big deal, because he’s something like a phenomenon at this point. The industry is gearing up accordingly: a series of events (including a marathon of revelries) has been lined up in honour of the day, or more appropriately, the season, and gestures of gratitude and goodwill will overflow, for a legend treads amongst us.

It is to be expected: his mark on Ghanaian radio and showbiz has been both permeating and undeniable. This next sentence too, is no exaggeration, even if it sounds fantastic: a vast majority of those who constitute the emerging generation of on-air influencers in the country have been products of specific engineering on his part. If they’re based in Accra (which EIB effectively governs), then they were most likely led, by hand, to their current path.

Bola Ray turning 40 is also iconic because of the stories he represents – consciously, steadily, he has redefined the possibilities available to people who choose a career in radio. Suddenly, being a deejay is not a “second-class vocation”, because you can ultimately aspire to his feats. Hitherto, the journey of the Ghanaian broadcaster was linear, and ended up one way: walking off into the sunset, gratified to land a modest government appointment in retirement, or in the knowledge of being simply referred to as “veteran”. Occasionally, he might resurface to receive a long-overdue plaque, or to reminisce “the good old days”, or lament falling standards.

Well, until Bola Ray. Finally, and in our time, we have witnessed an “ordinary” presenter climb up the levels to become an actual media mogul, elevating many young talents into positions of power while at it. Guess what, they’re all shining, and are confirmation of his abilities as leader.

His story has entirely been about proving that it can be done. Every step of his journey, he has faced considerable doubt: when as a 19-year old, he asked for a chance to be on Radio Univers, or when he first got to Joy FM, or ventured into TV with Music Music, or began Ghana Meets Naija Concert, or dreamt up Empire Entertainment, or EIB Network.

For young men across the country, it is certainly an instructive message of drive and resilience that cannot be drummed home enough.

Bola Ray heads EIB Network (Ghana’s biggest media establishment today –owners of Starr FM, Live FM, Abusua FM, Empire FM, GH One TV, the Heritage Newspaper, and a host of others). He’s also CEO of the Empire Group of Companies comprising Empire Entertainment and Empire Records. Under that outfit, he stages the annual highly-anticipated Ghana Meets Naija Concert, and has overseen the careers of popular acts as Guru, Ruff & Smooth, and Dobble.

Bola Ray has also distinguished himself as a style icon, daily mentor, powerful visionary, eternal philanthropist, and model family man.  So far has his integrity spread that it has landed him in conversation with national and international newsmakers across various spectrums of society: H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, Coach Avram Grant, Don Jazzy, Dr. Charles Wreko Brobbey, Paul Afoko, Ofori Amponsah, Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Madam Joyce Aryee, veteran commentator Joe Lartey among several others.

It doesn’t end there: he’s’ recipient of enviable honours as 4th Most Influential Personality at the 2014 edition of Ghana’s Most Influential Awards, International Media & Entertainment Personality of the Year award (GUBA, 2015),  Vector Recognition Award (2010), City People’s Awards (2012), 2016,  Man of the Year – Communication (Exclusive Man of the Year Awards, 2016), multiple Radio & Television Personality (RTP) awards, GN Awards, etc. What does he make of these laurels?

“It means people are watching, people are listening to you, and people are being inspired by what you do”.

Also key to his legacy at 40, is his genius on radio. You see, he has spent half of his time on earth filling our late-afternoons with cheerful colours: his infectious personality, thoughtful playlists, and (of course) the charming density of his voice, have assisted work time and allayed the stress associated with Accra traffic for a whole era – the brightest period being his 11 years with Joy 99.7 FM (it makes him the longest to have ever served in that role there). Bola Ray has taken on a hundred other roles aside Drive Time on Joy: Top City Jam on neighbouring Top Radio, TV3’s Music Music between 2001 and 2009, Top of the Pops for the BBC, personality-based Paradise, Revealed, Personality Profile, Autograph, and Starr Chat. Still, it is his role as drive-belt host that abides most with us. He handed down that baton to fast-rising protégé Giovanni Caleb in August 2016, but the social impact he accrued while carrying out that duty is simply unprecedented. While he compered Drive Time on Joy, it was hands-down the most popular programme in that time slot. Same for his tenure at Top Radio.

 

“Average doesn’t tickle my fantasy”

“Bola” means “big” in local pidgin, and if you went to the prestigious Accra Academy like I did, you may be privy to a story, but I’m not trying to get into trouble, so we’ll stick to a rather inspirational version he submits to Nigerian journalist Familusi Babajide in an interview months ago: by Form 2, he decided that Nati Ray Jnr. (after his care-taker senior) was not original enough, hence he carved his own identity: BOLA RAY – Brilliant, Outstanding, Loving, Affable. Religious, Ambitious, Youthful.

Those are a few of the traits of his person, but also essential are such virtues as discipline, integrity, skill, loyalty, and candour. He credits the Accra Academy for imbibing him with that last value – “to be is better than to seem to be”, the school’s motto translates after all. He’s also quick to emphasise God’s role in his story: “we give God all the glory”, he would always chip in when anyone mentions his achievements.

March 1st, 1977 is easily “Word Bola Ray Day”, because really, not much else happened. Okay, the Bank of America adopted the name VISA, and down here, we tried to make sense of the SMC…but that’s it. There’s a good chance therefore, that the birth of one Kwabena Anokye – Adisi in the mining community of Obuasi in the Central Region, is the most iconic bit of history from that day. Of course, it’s a pronouncement we are only able to make in hindsight –an accurate assertion regardless.

No matter how many ways you turn it, all writing about Bola Ray winds up being an ode, because all accounts about legends end up thus.

Nevertheless, all legends are humans, rest assured –humans who chose to honour their calling to humanity…and the proof is in the discovery of quirky little details as his fear of flying, or his failure with Gadgets & More (an electricals startup which plummeted almost as soon as it was birthed), or his constant fidgeting with his smartphone, or his insufficiencies at artist management, in his opinion.

“It is important for you to live life”, Bola submits during the Familusi interview. These words, because of the everyday manner in which they’re spoken, may easily be glossed over, but conscious reflection reveals what powerful wisdom they hold.

There’s no doubt that the man enjoys life. For a long time, he has actively participated in curating some of the most memorable events on our entertainment calendar. As far as this city is concerned, he’s esteemed nightlife connoisseur. Bola Ray has proven all through his rise, that it is possible to have fun with what you’re doing, something that only happens if you’re living, actually living.

Bola Ray demonstrates all-round success everyday. Therefore, who better to instruct us on the concept of accomplishment than the man himself? Here’s a reflective definition he offers in a 2013 edition of Exclusive Men’s Magazine:

 “a successful man is one who lives a fulfilling life, impacts positively into the lives of others and is at peace with the supreme Lord. I don’t see any man as being successful when the fellow has abundance of wealth and cannot, out of a godly heart, be a blessing into the lives of others”.

 

Our Bola Ray!

 

 

 

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Bola Ray mentors 30 YOUNG BUSINESS LEADERS, October 19!

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Media mogul Bola Ray ( Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi) will hold a mentoring session with young Ghanaian business leaders on Thursday, October 19.

A renowned entrepreneur and corporate icon, Bola Ray looks to renew the passions of “tomorrow’s business leaders”, taking them through his own experiences, and his road to success.

Recently publishing his best-selling memoire “It is Possible”, Bola Ray is CEO of the EIB Network and the Empire Group, and has been a key media player for 2 decades now.

Bola Ray joined radio while still in university, Bola Ray has grown to become an authority not just in radio broadcasting, but in the entertainment industry as a whole. He joined Accra-based Top Radio after university and went on to The Multimedia Group, where he served a variety of roles, mainly hosting Drivetime on Joy for 11 years. For the past two years, he has been host of Starr Chat and co-host of Starr Drive.

Dubbed “An Evening With Bola Ray – Accra Edition”, the event is put together by Empire Protocol, with support from uniBank, StarLite, RLG World, Allianz Insurance, Dominion Oil, MenzGold, and Special Ice.

Copies of Bola Ray’s book can be secured via bolaray.com

 

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Radio & Television

The Price Of Fame Premieres On Telemundo This October!

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Telemundo presents The Price of Fame, a brand-new telenovela that will take viewers into the alluring yet treacherous world of music. The musical drama series follows the story of two brothers who, at the peak of their success in the music industry, find themselves torn apart by envy, revenge and ambition. The Price of Fame daily at 7pm on Telemundo (DStv channel 118).

The Price of Fame introduces a host of new faces to the channel, with Daniel Elbittar starring as the hugely popular musician Julio Cesar Solar and Alberto Guerra taking on the role of his younger brother, successful music producer Mateo. The brothers have it all; the looks, the fame, the power and success until the unexpected disappearance of Julio Cesar sets a chain of dramatic events into motion, on and off stage.

As Mateo seeks to find those responsible for his brother’s disappearance, he soon discovers a web of music industry mobsters, including Rafael Zabala (played by Alejandro De La Madrid) and Amado Matamoros (played by Juan Pablo Medina). With adversaries so dangerous and powerful, Mateo will carry on with his quest for the truth and justice, stopping at nothing.

Eventually, he meets and falls for Manara Matamoros (Maria León), an aspiring music artist who seeks his guidance and also happens to be the half-sister of the mobster, Amado Matamoros. Will the forbidden love affair stop Mateo from unleashing a vicious war against his enemies?

This is how three families the Solars, the Matamoros, and the Zabalas become embroiled in a story of vengeance, betrayal and secret romance. Featuring a wide range of music, from pop and Puerto Rican dance music to Spanish ranchero and mariachi, The Price of Fame airs on Telemundo (DStv Channel 118) at 7pm.

 

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Radio & Television

KOD, VVIP, Sista Afia,Mix Master Garzy, MACASSIO,Elikem Kumordzie, OTHERS attend WatsUp TV Anniversary party

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After donation exercises and screening of market women in Accra, leading Pan-African entertainment TV Show, WatsUp TV hosted a grand party to celebrate it’s 3 years of creating stunning entertainment content in Africa.

The party which was hosted in Accra at Club Onyx own by D Black saw the participation of various celebrities from across the entertainment industry in Ghana.

Some celebrities which attended the event include: KOD, VVIP, Sista Afia,Mix Master Garzy, Macassio,Elikem Kumordzie, Opanka,Kurl Songx, Capasta,D Flex,Jkd,ephraime,Dj Toyo, yemmey Baba, twinsdnt beg,Smile Baba ,Ghadys,Bikers Forum gh ,Ultimate Riders etc

In an interview with the CEO, ABD Traore, he shared so much excitement about the success of the TV Show which has also produced an Awards and Magazine in just three years. He also promised to continue leading his team to offfer support to the entertainment industry across Africa.

The anniversary party was also supported by; Rush Energy Drink ,Verna Water ,Jack Daniel and 360 Group.

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100 Movies to See in your Lifetime On M-Net Movies Bucket List Pop-up Channel

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What is your absolute favourite film of all time? The one that opened your eyes, tugged at your heartstring and made your soul leap with joy you were born in the golden age of cinema? Is there a stack of fantastic features your like-minded friends and family have been raving about, which you’re sad to admit you haven’t seen YET?  You now can tick off all the films you still need to watch or enjoy again before it’s time to kick the bucket!

M-Net and MultiChoice have created yet another exciting movie pop-up channel as a special treat to DStv Premium customers. Between Thursday 30th October and 2nd December, the M-Net Movies Bucket List pop-up channel will count down 100 popular and iconic Hollywood movies to see before you die.

This selection of fine films and all-time favourites will be showcased on DStv’s channel 109 with the first of the 100 movies scheduled for just after 4pm on Thursday 30th October. Thereafter, the countdown will continue all the way to the number 1 main attraction on Saturday 2 December at 6:30pm. Depending on the duration and age-restrictions of these films, the daily countdown will kick off on weekdays at approximately 4pm and on weekends just before or after 2pm.

To get a nod for the coveted M-Net Movies Bucket List, compiled by an expert team of film fanatics, a movie had to be entrenched in popular culture, define an era, shift mediums, uproot the status quo, delight a variety of audiences, impress critics worldwide and can reignite your love for movies.

“Our themed pop-up channels such as the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Fast & Furious and James Bond channels have been huge hits and we promised to continue curating unique experiences for our M-Net Movies audiences,” says Cecil Sunkwa Mills, General Manager, MultiChoice Ghana “With the M-Net Movie Bucket List we’re taking the pop-up concept to the next level. Never have viewers been able to see so many magnificent game-changing movies in one place over such a short time.”

While M-Net Movies will share the titles from #100 to #11 on its programming schedules, the Top 10 films on the list will be a top secret. This means that the final films on the M-Net Movies Bucket List will only be revealed to DStv customers on the day of the screening, so you will have to be sure to tune in to channel 109 on the day it airs.

“Keeping hush about these titles just adds to the excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime movie compilation. We all have our own bucket lists based on our own taste and we believe it will be great fun for movie fans to compare notes and see whether their favourites have made it onto the pop-up channel.”

The Bucket List Bonus features will comprise additional classics which can’t be ignored but which will appeal to niche audiences. Among these titles are vintage silver screen darlings that were ground-breaking at their time, like Mary Poppins, Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The M-Net Movies Bucket List schedule (prior to the Top 10) will be published at www.mnet.tv you can also consult the EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) or catch up on the films you’ve missed on DStv Catch Up Plus.

If the day’s countdown doesn’t start at exactly 4pm or 2pm M-Net will communicate start times on social media https://www.facebook.com/MNet

 

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Nominees For Inaugural L.E.A.D Merit Awards Announced!

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Organizers of LEAD SERIES, an educative & career driven event have launched a monthly awards portal to honor and recognize outstanding personalities.

The L.E.A.D SERIES MERIT AWARDS will be a new inaugural awards poll, which will honor personalities who are helping make impact lives in our nation and making a difference. The awards will celebrate “teachers, parents, principals, actress, TV/Radio Hosts, students etc, who convey leadership, change, inspiration and is set to take place at the end of each month.

General Manager of OMNIS2131, Annie Forson said ‘Every contribution an individual makes through their efforts, brings this city and this nation closer to providing a well-rounded quality life to each and every person’

The general public is encouraged to visit the website www.leadseries100.com to vote for their favorite influencer. Voting ends on the 25th of October 2017.

Merit award 2017 is an award to recognize and acknowledge individuals/companies whose immediate activity in various areas of expertise have bring about a positive change in society within the month in review.

Below is the full list of nominees for the month of September:

  1. Ruth Ama Gyan-Darkwa – ( youngest girl to gain admission to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
  2. Nathan Kwabena Adisi aka Bola Ray – (Launch of biography ‘It is Possible’)
  3. Claudia Lumor – (Glitz Africa Awards)
  4. Dzigbordi K. Dosoo – (Help coach online Series)
  5. Stonebwoy – (Ashaiman to the World Concert)
  6. Fancy Gadam – (Gadam Nation Concert)
  7. Sarkodie – ‘Highest’ Album

 

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AJ Sarpong resigns from EIB… joins Citi FM

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Media Personality AJ Sarpong has left the EIB family.

She started working with Adabraka-based Citi 97.3 FM as a Presenter and Producer of the morning show, Citi Breakfast Show Tuesday morning.

Prior to joining Citi FM, she was a host of the entertainment segment of mid-morning show The Zone on Starr 103.5 FM and also hosted ‘Tales from the Powder Room’ on GhOneTV.

Read below our feature on her in February 2017

At the young age of 25, Media Personality AJ Sarpong has achieved what her age mates or older can only dream of or imagine.

Sarpong is a TV/Radio Presenter, Event MC, Voice over artiste, actress and Radio/TV Producer with a career spanning 9 years and counting.

She works with Starr 103.5 FM and GhOneTV as a Presenter and Producer, and also a regular panelist on Tales From The Powder Room, a weekly show that airs on the same station.

Sarpong started out in the media at the age of 16. One of her early jobs in the industry was as a Media Relations Officer and Event Correspondent with ghanamusic.com, an artiste management/music promotion firm.

On TV and Radio, she comes across as one with the warmth of a mother or friend who will do just about anything to ensure that the people she loves are happy or in a good place.

This sentiment is corroborated by some friends and colleagues of hers we spoke to.

As an Event MC, Sarpong has hosted quite a number of events including Sarkodie’s Sarkoholic concert launch, DSTV I Factory, The Cake Fair, The MakeUp Revolution and the launch of the Bartenders Association of Ghana.

She is a columnist with Glitz Africa Magazine, sharing her thoughts on events and the entertainment industry in Ghana.

Sarpong is a “Killer combination of Beauty, Brains and Hardwork” as she calls herself: she has a Masters Degree in Journalism from the Ghana Institute of Journalism, and also a product of University of Ghana with a degree in Political Science and Theatre Arts.

Born Nana Adjoa Akuoko-Sarpong, she is the daughter of Nana Kwame Akuoko-Sarpong, the Omanhene of Agogo Traditional Area.

The sky is only the starting point for the ambitious, driven and focused AJ Sarpong.

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