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Radio & Television

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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Music

“You Do All” – Samini APPLAUDS Shatta Wale as they freestyle LIVE ON AIR

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Reggae/dancehall star Emmanuel Samini, simply known by his surname, was on Starr FM’s Starr Chat Wednesday August 16, discussing his life and musical journey (which started in 2004).

Responding to questions posed to him by host and EIB Network CEO Bola Ray, he addressed a number of touch issues including Marijuana use, his beef with Shatta Wale, his personal life, his forthcoming 7th studio album, among others.

On his take on the use of the Marijuana, the Linda star opined that as it was legal elsewhere, the country could capitalise on it and grow it in commercial quantities for foreign income specifically:

“There are countries that have made fortunes from exporting marijuana and it’s not just for smoking or recreational use, I’m talking about the other 33,000 uses of the plant. We can make jeans fabric from the plant, we can make oil from the plant. If Ghana’s economy is struggling and there’s a plant not meant to be used on the streets of Ghana, let’s plant it and export it to the streets that they use it and collect money from them. Because they have legalized it there, so why not send it to them. A farmer who has a good soil who can grow acres of marijuana should be able to grow it, package it and send it to who buys it so that we make money for the economy,” he explained.

He also spoke on his role in colleague dancehall act Shatta Wale’s rise to prominence, pointing out that their lyrical beef was instrumental in shooting the Kakai man up: “He [Shatta Wale] should always say thanks to the blueprint [Samini] because I’ve been there and he looked at me, targeted me, he threw shots at me because I was on top and still at the top, he knows that. So I became his main target, so now I guess he is even tired of answering questions about my name because wherever you will go, I promise you that they will ask you: what’s your problem with the artiste Samini?”.

Samini also recounted putting Wale on his 2004 nationwide tour, placed him among his top three dancehall acts in the country currently, and inadvertently influencing the SM frontman’s change of name to Shatta Wale.

Towards the end of the thrilling conversation, Shatta Wale was raised on the line, and both acts lauded each other’s contributions to the genre and the industry as a whole. “You Do All’, Samini said to Shatta Wale, before they delved into a historic freestyle session live in air.

Shatta Wale appeared on last year’s edition of Samini’s “Saminifest” concert, a gesture announcing the end of their prolonged beef. They’re also reportedly working on projects together, as well as a world tour.

Watch the interview below:

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Radio & Television

Vanessa Gyan Gives Back To Uni Students

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Vanessa Gyan may be off the airwaves at the moment but that isn’t stopping her from making an impact.

The television/radio personality is using social media to assist University students. Just last week, Gyan gave away phone credit to 5 deserving students from various universities but it doesn’t stop there. This morning, Vanessa brought a smile to yet another University student by the name of Kyei Francisca who attends the University for Development Studies. The host of Sincerely, Vee gifted Kyei with 400 Ghana Cedis and a goodies bag filled with her favorite beauty products.

Throughout the next few weeks, Vanessa will continue to use social media as a means to connect to students.

Vanessa is also gearing up for two major projects to end 2017; Xo, We Care! and the Post Pregnancy Boujie Express both happening on Dec. 1st, 2017 in Accra. Although, Vanessa hasn’t released many details on each of the projects, according to her various social media accounts, The Sincerely, Vee Foundation will take Accra by storm on Dec. 1st.
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Music

Accusations, Flaring Tempers & Cuss Words!!! Becca and Samini Clash Live On Empire 102.7Fm

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What was meant to be a Fan interaction turned out rather Fun and bizarre as two of Ghana’s celebrated music stars squared-up on live radio.

King of African Dancehall; Samini, was guest in the studios of Takoradi based Empire102.7Fm with host of Empire Drive; Joseph Kumi as part of his musical tour when Afro-pop diva; Becca called in during a phone-in segment to make outrageous claims against the Ghanaian music legend.

The live radio incident is only best for your hearing.

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Radio & Television

Happy FM Revamps with Exciting New Programs

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Happy 98.9FM, Ghana’s number one sports station, as part of measures to continue providing relevant and credible content to its listeners, is revamping with some exciting new programs which covers from sports, entertainment to current affairs.

The revamp –codenamed  ‘Happy Asesa’ –which will take place on August 21 is aimed at not only furnishing the Happy FM listeners with the best programs meant to educate and entertain them, but also to be a game changer in radio broadcasting across the country.

Some of the Programs include ‘Ayekoo Drive’ which airs from Monday- Friday at 6pm-10pm.

An all-new current affairs show that places emphasis on accountability, charging people in authority to be responsible and living up to expectation, is part of the revamped Happy FM. The show dubbed ‘Epa Hoa, Daben?’ airs on Monday- Friday from 2pm-5pm.

Speaking about the revamped Happy FM and the new exciting programs, Kwesi Sarpong, Programs Manager for Happy FM said “ The new and exciting shows on Happy FM are meant to bring a new flavor into the lives of the general public.

“Change is a good thing and that is why the Happy FM team keep working hard to bring the best to our listeners every time.  We entreat our listeners to continue patronizing the revamped Happy FM,” he said.

He added that as part of the revamp, Anopa Bosuo Sports, which airs everyday at 6am-10am, would have a facelift where a strong panel of gurus in the sporting fraternity will digest issues affecting your world of sports.

“An all new ‘Nsem Pii’ which airs from 12pm-2pm Monday to Friday, will be coming out with more controversial social issues that will send shivers down your spine.

“The repackaged Wamputu airs from 5pm-6pm daily. The show will bring you all the intriguing breaking news and all the in-depth analysis and gossips around the world of sports,” Mr Sarpong disclosed.

Listeners can also tune in to ‘Adwuma Mre Nie’, a revamped brunch show on Happy FM, which airs on 10am-12pm. The repackaged show on Happy 98.9fm will contain all the nutrients that will make you feel good because it’s full of varieties.

Patrons are encouraged to stay tuned as the station rolls out all these exciting shows on the new Happy FM on August 21.

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Events & Places

HURRAY! Gifty Anti, Nana Ansah Kwao welcome baby girl

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Veteran media personality and host of  Standpoint (GTV) has reportedly welcomed her first child today, August 11.

47, she tied the knot with fellow broadcaster Nana Ansah Kwao, who is also the Chief of Adumasa. This is welcome news for citizens of Adumasa (Eastern Ghana), who are said to have commenced preparations for the royal naming ceremony.

This is the first baby from the union, which started in 2015.

 

 

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Radio & Television

Acid burns victim back in Ghana after successful first phase of surgery

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Henrietta Amoah, the lady whose boyfriend doused her with acid, is back in Ghana from New Delhi- India where she under-went the first phase of surgery successfully.

Accompanied by her mother, Henrietta visited Happy FM to express their gratitude to the station after supporting her with an amount of GHc50,000 through the award winning social programme “NSEM PII” hosted by Pastor Nyansa Boakwa where scores of listeners contributed towards her surgery.

Speaking on NSEM PII after her return, she showed gratitude and revealed that she is feeling better now than before.

“I am grateful to all for the support they gave me which enabled me go through the first phase of the surgery. I am okay now and I feel happy and better than the state I was in previously.” She told Happy FM.

Before the surgery, she could not close her eyes because there was no flesh covering her eyes, as the acid took away all flesh on her face including her eyes which hurt her badly when it came into contact with the sun.

She stated that she can now close her eyes and see as well. “I could not close my eyes before, because the flesh on my eyes peeled off by the acid. But thanks be unto God, I can close my eyes now. My mother has to check on me because sometimes I close my eyes very hard and water starts dripping.” Henrietta added.

“I can also see now” she told Nyansah.

They had to return to Ghana because of the high cost of hotel bills in India. The doctors are also finding a cell that will suit her eyes to enable her see properly.

The Ghana police has offered her another support to go for the completion of the surgery scheduled very soon.

 

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