Thu, Oct

The Big Six, who are they?

Tommy Annan-Forson

Friday is Republic Day! It will be the 56th anniversary since Ghana attained a republic status, three clear year’s after Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had led this great nation with rich and varied cultures and its wonderful people to independence.

Before the independence and eventually the attainment of republican status and thus completely severing ties with Britain, there were some very prominent sons of the land who along with Nkrumah agitated in the last days to make sure it happened.

The six men and leaders of the first political party registered in the then Gold Coast, the United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C.) were arrested and detained under the Emergency Regulation in 1948 during disturbances in the Gold Coast. 

Those events eventually snow-balled into what eventually propelled the country to independence.

The big six include Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr. Ako Adjei, Mr. Edward Akuffo Addo, Dr. J. B. Danquah and Mr. William Ofori Atta. 

These gallant gentlemen got their names etched in Ghanaian political lore and eventually got immortalised in many ways, including having their faces on our currency.

Some academics have argued that the Republic Day is really the day on which Ghana became independent. Professor Kofi Kumado of the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana holds this view and forcefully expressed it around our 50th independence anniversary celebrations.

"If I may use the marriage analogy here, on March 6, 1957, the engagement took place. Good enough for the couple to engage in certain activities without the usual eyebrows being raised; but they still remain under the watchful eyes of the elders. 

March 6, 1957 is thus, like the engagement, just a dress rehearsal for the real thing, the marriage. The real marriage occurred on July 1, 1960," he explained.

However, regardless of how and when the consummation of the real independence marriage took place, we have the many Gold Coasters who fought for it and the leading role the Nkrumah and his Big Six played to ensure it happened. That is the reason we pay so much respect to them and use them as a symbolism for any combo of six things happening.

So in the spirit of the Republic Day and the role of the Big Six, let us look at the some of things that have or could take inspiration from the example set by these league of extraordinary gentlemen. Some brands over the years have leveraged the Big Six and their inspiration to deliver offers.

One of such brands is Tigo which recently used the symbolism of the Big Six to introduce some products to its customers, where among other things subscribers get free data and free Deezer for a number of days when they sign up.

Tigo as a brand has tried over the last couple of years to connect strongly with the music platform. The introduction of Deezer has been a no brainer and a simple way to give music lovers an alternative and generate revenue for local musicians.

But I digress as the real Big Six issue I want to talk about is about radio. There have been some Big Six moments and people in the radio and music scene that I would like to talk about as we celebrate 56 years of being a republican nation.

At midnight last Tuesday, Joy FM’s Doreen Andoh posted on her Facebook page “Thank God for 21 remarkable years ...!!!” That was when it dawned on me that we have crossed the 21 year mark since the liberalisation of the airwaves.

I was asking myself who would I put into a Bix Six of the last 21 one years since radio was moved from strictly state run to include private participation. 

After two days of thinking about it and adding and cancelling some names, I came up with this list as the people who during this period have had tremendous impact on the radio scene than their colleagues. From my point of view, of course.

Some great names came up, but consigning yourself to only six and focusing on Accra alone meant you have to choose but a few. 

So feel free to disagree but as far as radio goes and during the past two decades, the below form my Big Six, in my arrogant view.

Tommy Annan Forson is like the Nkrumah who ensured that the liberation would be complete and also drew the blue print that would inform later programme managers and presenters of how to go about their work. His enduring work at Joy FM and Choice FM is testament to the big role he played and why in my view he joins the Big Six.

Komla Dumor has had so many eulogies to fill the Atlantic Ocean about the great work he did on radio during his time as the morning show host on Joy FM. 

Even when he had moved to the BBC, his influence and legacy was the standard by which others were measured. I dare say even up to now, when he is no more, we measure others by the Dumor standard.

Kwami Sefa Kayi has earned his stripes as one of the people whose performance on radio has been phenomenal in delivering shows that many people identify with. 

From Radio Gold where he hosted some prime programmes including the morning show before traversing to Peace FM. It was at Peace FM and on Kokorokoo, the morning show that his legend was established and he moved from Chairman to the Chairman General.

Doreen Andoh is for me the only lady who can make it to the champagne room as the one whose presence on urban radio over many years has been well deserved. 

She has been the SI unit for mid-morning radio for so many years you would feel she is a part of the furniture in the studios of Joy FM.

Bola Ray went from Radio Univers to Top Radio to establishing himself as the leader of the pack when it came to late afternoon radio. 

For more than a decade, he went on Joy FM’s Drive Time and did what he knew how best to do even before he would help to establish a fledging media group in EIB Network, his legend as one of the best the city has seen in two decades was established.

Abeiku Santana’s coming to Tema to host the late afternoon show will go down in the annals of broadcasting as one of the most epochal game changing moves. 

He was big in Koforidua, he went on to be bigger in Kumasi and by the time he got to Adom FM, he had matured into something different. 

He defined what late afternoon radio show in Akan should be like and his template was replicated all over before leaving for Okay FM and setting that show on a high pedestal as well.  

As we celebrate Republic Day this Friday and remembering the work done by the pre-independence Big Six, it is my conviction that the lady and gentlemen mentioned above could be named as the Big Six of the last two decades of radio in Accra.

Maybe, I should consider putting together who I think will make the Big Six list in Kumasi as well, no?