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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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Music

I had the worse performance of my career at Rapperholic 2017 – Feli Nuna

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Ghanaian Afrobeat singer and one of the fastest rising music star in Africa Feli Nuna has opened up on her not so impressive performances at last year’s Rapperholic.

The ‘I like am ‘ singer in an interview with Ghone TV’s Eli Kharis on RythmzLive told the host ” I had my worse flop at Sarkodie’s rapperholic last December. Sarkodie called and said he wanted us (Freda Rhymes, Eno and I ) to do 16 bars each rap song for performance on the night. I ended writing and recording my part that 25th morning …… So I had to memorize before the show, I had several engagements that day ….. I went on stage and I forgot my lyrics, no one realized it ”

Known in real life as Felicia Nuna Akosua Tawiah, she is signed to Bee Hyve Entertainment which also has Mr Kem Ankude, better known as Fizzi, as their sound producer. Nuna has worked with the likes of EL, Joey B, and Richie Mensah and was one of  Ghana’s rep at the Coke Studio Africa in 2017.

Watch the interview below:

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Music

SATURDAY LIVE! Beloved Citi FM show returns this weekend with Rex OMAR, others

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Saturday Live, Citi FM’s popular music & arts programme, returns for the fourth season this weekend.

Compered by Kojo Akoto Boateng, the show, since its inception in 2014, has witnessed iconic weekly performances from established names, as well as served as a grooming ground for emerging acts. Pat Thomas, Paulina Oduro, Obrafour, Okyeame Kwame, Kontihene, Gasmilla, MzBel, Yaw Sarpong, Lucky Mensah, Wiyaala, Lawyer Ace Ankomah, and Kyekyeku have all appeared on the show.

Others include spoken word artists Poetra Asantewa, Chief Moomen, Nana Kofi Sammy, Abibikasa, comedian OB, Dark Suburb, Sollo 7, Josh Black, the Voice Trumpeter, Strongman, Six Strings, Koo Kumi, Adomaa, Hashmullah, Nene Narh, Choirmaster, Brenya, Celestine Donkor, and a host of others.

Aside treating listeners  to enthralling live renditions of some of their most requested songs, the show also sees the host engage acts in lively conversations pertaining to their careers and creative approaches, as well as their lives beyond music.

This season kicks of with sets by highlife great and Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) chairman, Rex Omar. He will be joined by singer Adina, as well as the Characters Band.

Saturday Live airs on Citi 97.3FM and Citi TV, 2 pm to 4 pm every Saturday.

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Radio & Television

AGAINST THE ODDS! Peace Hyde interviews Linda Ikeji on Forbes Africa TV

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“True success is not about buying a house in Banana Island but rather the impact that you make,” Linda Ikeji opens up to Peace Hyde on Forbes Woman Africa Against The Odds.

In this episode of Forbes Woman Africa’s Against The Odds with Peace Hyde, Linda Ikeji shares how she went from the fashion runway to the digital space and in the process creating one of the most popular blogs in West Africa.

With several challenges and controversies along the way, that journey has not been an easy ride. She sits down with Peace Hyde and tells the story of a woman on a mission to make a mark in the lives of women all over Africa.

Watch Full Episode:

 

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Corporate

EIB NETWORK Completes Strategic Growth Path Process

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Leading media organization, EIB Network, has successfully completed an internal growth path process that will see it become a world class media organization.

The company, founded in 2014, and currently a leading player in the media ecosystem in Ghana and Africa, has set its sights on a deliberate and conscious drive towards an agenda that makes it resolute going forward.

The company today announced that, with the exception of GHOne TV (which operates from its head office at Platinum Place, Ridge, Accra), it has strategically moved all of its other units in Accra to the Meridian House located on the Ring Road.

The assembly of the units, executive management says, is to ensure a realization of its long-held dream of convergence, which is a key element of its initial roll out and strategic plan.

Management says it believes the businesses coming into one space would offer the various departments a perfect synergy to consolidate its gains while strengthening internal company values and ethos, central to its growth.

Part of a planned process that started in September 2017, executive management says the movement into one space would also afford it an opportunity to adequately scale down its human resource, where necessary and concentrate on meeting its stated goals with the right numbers. An internal Human Resource process to brief workers has been held while assurances have also been given.

“This is necessary as we have to stay competitive and winning. Growth, to our overall plan to become a leading business, is essential and we do believe that these steps would play a critical role in how we are able to navigate the business environment we find ourselves in,” says Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi.

He added that: “We have immense confidence in our staff and can be rest assured that they will help in realizing this convergence plan, a necessity for a progressive brand like ours.”

The media group’s management says it strongly believes that these prudent measures will play a pivotal role in sustaining the goodwill of its brand and the equity it has, and continues to enjoy in Ghana and beyond.

With headquarters in Ghana’s capital, Accra, the company was founded in August 2014, and has since become one of the leading media groups in Africa.

With an impressive asset portfolio in television, radio, print and digital, the company is strategically positioned to lead in the markets that it operates.

The media group operates Starr FM, LIVE FM, Kasapa FM, GHOne TV and Agoo TV (all in Accra); Ultimate FM and Abusua FM (in Kumasi); Empire FM and Radio 360 (in Takoradi), Agoo FM (in Nkawkaw) and the Daily Heritage Newspaper (also in Accra). The company is also getting ready to launch its digital group, EIB Digital, to amalgamate its current online offerings.

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Radio & Television

Turas debuts new show “Written in the Stars” on Joy Prime

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A star is the type of astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. A star in our local setting is someone who stands out in their profession or skill.

Our superstars are human, just like you and I. How powerful will it be to have an open window to their weapons of survival?

Written in the Stars brings to you the leaders, pacesetters, role models and mountain shakers in all walks of life.

Written in The Stars is a 30 minute chat show with various professionals ranging from musicians, lawyers, doctors, professors and many others who are setting an example for all and sundry to follow. The setting of the interview takes place in their comfort zone. Purpose of this to achieve the main objective of the show which is to uncover that other side of them they never talk about. Scars, wounds, troubling past, near-death experiences and weakness which never weighs them down as they share their survival strategies. Not your regular one-on-one Interview session which will go off track to talk about third party’s and matters relating outside the scope of the star.

Society has a view that people in high places, famous and of prominence are superhumans who have no flaws. You will be amazed with the revelations this show will be bringing as you spend time with host Alex Crassie as he asks the tough questions you may have never thought of.

Alex Kwesi Crassie is a seasoned Ghanaian entertainment presenter who has broken boundaries in the field of entertainment.  Based in South Africa, he was previously the host of Good Morning Africa on DSTV, as well as The Request show, also on DSTV and GoTV.

Premiering on Joy Prime on the 3rd of June, this show will be aired every Sunday from 5:00pm – 5:30pm.
Written in the Stars is produced by Ark House Productions.

So get on board, put on your seatbelts and let us take you on that roller coaster trip with amazing stories which can only be ‘Written in the Stars.

 

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Radio & Television

Fw: Four HD Channels Coming To DStv

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Your favourite Discovery channels on DStv are now available in HD bringing audiences a fresh dose of entertainment, bigger and clearer than ever before. From Monday 21 May, TLC (channel 135), Discovery Family (channel 121) and Investigation Discovery (ID) (channel 171) will be available in HD, boosting the viewing experience for TLC OMG lovers, ID crime suspense fanatics, and Discovery Family magic shows followers across Africa. The three channels will join Discovery Channel, which is also available in HD.

“At Discovery, we are constantly seeking ways to enable our passionate audiences to explore their world and unlock new experiences. With our entire DStv portfolio available in HD, Discovery fans can now catch their most loved shows in the best quality,” said Amanda Turnbull, Vice President and General Manager, Discovery Africa and the Middle East.

According to Cecil Sunkwa Mills, General Manager, MultiChoice Ghana, “MultiChoice key priority is to put customer’s needs at the heart of everything we do.  part of our continuous efforts to offer an ever-evolving and enhanced DStv experience that ensures our customers get the most value for money, we’re delighted to announce that four DStv channels will now air in High Definition for our customers from 11pm on the 21st of May.” Customers will not have to tamper with their decoders to be able to enjoy the enhanced picture quality.

Showcasing the best in meaningful entertainment and reality shows, this June TLC will premiere shows such as THANDO BARES ALL (Saturday 2 June at 7pm) a new local series which sees South African actress, radio DJ and television host, Thando Thabe the sassy, straight-talking style and charismatic personality encourage people to ‘open up’ and be honest about things they might otherwise be embarrassed to talk about. While Honey Boo Boo’s mum, June Shannon AKA “Mama June” is back with all new MAMA JUNE: FROM NOT TO HOT (Tuesday 12 June at 7pm), and she’s hotter than ever!

Then on ID, new series THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER: IT’S NOT OVER (Thursday 24 May at 7.55pm) follows the decades-long case of the real-life bogeyman who stalked the night across four major Californian cities, assaulting over 50 women and killing at least ten people.

Lastly, on Discovery Family’s STRANGE EVIDENCE (Wednesday 6 June at 5:20pm), experts from across all fields of science analyse video footage to discover the truth behind some of the world’s most bizarre and mysterious occurrences ever recorded on camera.

Skip the FOMO and be part of the new-look TLC, Discovery Family and ID, when they launch in stunning HD on Monday 21st May, only on DStv.

 

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