Doreen Andoh: Radio’s queen of quality

BY: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
Doreen Andoh

Many radio and television presenters hardly stay at one station for a long period of time.

In today’s cluttered and highly competitive broadcast industry, where many A-list radio presenters have been lured away with irresistible offers from one station to the other, or have moved overseas to seek new opportunities, it is rare to find an award-winning broadcaster resisting mouth-watering offers and remaining loyal to one station for a decade, let alone 20 years of dedicated service.

Even in the face of massive movements in the industry, one person who has exhibited the highest level of loyalty and not yielded to poaching or big carrot often dangled before her is Joy FM's Doreen Andoh.

For the past 20 years, Doreen, as she is affectionately called, has taken a stranglehold on the airwaves mid-morning to lunchtime, dishing out assorted and refreshing music interspersed with informative titbits and brain teasers to her listeners on the popular Cosmopolitan Mix and Lunch Time Rhythms.


Blessed with a gift of the gab, a deep insight into music and a good sense of selection which often reflects her taste or the occasion, Doreen has developed the ability to sustain her listeners’ attention with her unmatched confidence until she signs off. And it is little wonder she is one of the most sought-after English presenters and, perhaps, the longest serving female radio broadcaster who has made Fanofa Street at Kokomlemle home for the last two decades.

Often referred to as the Queen of the Airwaves, Superwoman, Super Soul Sister, among other sobriquets to reflect her dominant status, Doreen cut her teeth in broadcasting working with veteran broadcaster Tommy Annang-Forson, Kofi Tsakpornou, the late Dusty Wayne, Gabby Adjetey, Cox Tamakloe, Mark Okraku Mantey, Kofi Kum Bilson and other younger but talented presenters men who took the country by storm and brought freshness to radio when the airwaves were liberalised two decades ago, with Joy FM among the pioneer private stations.

With the passage of time, all these presenters quit Joy FM and left Doreen as the only remaining voice of the station’s original ‘crew’ as she weathered the storm despite the emergence of an array of radio stations and new crop of presenters.

Doreen's motivation

Speaking to The Mirror, she says the driving force behind her successful career is the fact that she enjoys what she does on air.

"I simply love music and my sense of music is older than I am. When I sit behind the console my sole aim is to serve my listeners with the best so they do not tune into another radio station".

Interestingly, Doreen does her own selection and plays them. This is evident as this reporter chanced on her with her laptop, external drives, a number of pen drives in a small sack, all filled with music from various genres and generations.

Just as some people have the passion for collecting jewels, watches, perfumes and cars, Doreen also collects music.

Touching on the kind of music she plays, she said, "I play jazz, afro pop, hiplife, highlife, old school, R&B, soukous, calypso, Soca, funk, reggae and many more. So far as the song is powerful, I play it," she smiled.

Asked what accounts for her long stay at Joy FM, Doreen stated, "Commitment is the key. I believe that whatever I get myself into, I must make it work. I take pleasure in ensuring that whatever I do grows, I try to work at things to make them better.”

In this era of payola, Doreen threw the challenge that any musician who claims she had ever collected a pesewa from him or her just to play their songs can openly come out to declare.

Payola is the illegal means of payment of money or other gifts by record companies and musicians to presenters to play their music on air to induce listeners.

“I don’t need to personally know you before I play your song. If your music is good I go out of my way to get it myself. I play songs by young guys like Gasmilla, Kumi Guitar, Bisa Kdei and many others but I have never seen or met them before,” she stressed with confidence.

For Doreen, paying payola is like paying an examiner to mark your script. “If you have written the best answers to the questions given to you, why the need to induce the examiner? Your work will speak for you. “

Memory lane

Twenty years ago, young Doreen decided to get a holiday job after her A’ Level. The doors opened at Joy FM and she started reading the news and announcements.

Subsequently, she started hanging out with Gabby Adjetey, Mark Okraku Mantey, Dusty Wayne, among others when they were presenting their music segments.

Doreen has many awards to her credit.

“This is how my interest for music presenting grew. It got to a time we paired and battled by playing old and new music for fun. Besides, I grew up around music. My mum even plays some musical instruments.”

Education

She attended Tema Parent Association School, St Roses Secondary at Akwatia in the Eastern Region for the Ordinary Level then to  Holy Child School, Cape Coast, for the Sixth Form.

Doreen, who was a science student, had the opportunity to attend a year's exchange programme in Denmark.

"I studied Public Relations at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and took a course in Radio and Television Broadcasting at the Columbia School of Broadcasting in the USA for two years. I also studied Events Management at GIJ," she mentioned.

Personal

For those who do not know, her full name is Doreen Wilhelmina Akua Andoh. She is a staunch Catholic and attends the Mary Mother of Good Counsel located at Airport.

She hails from Elmina and has two other siblings; Yvonne Andoh, a popular figure who used to present for Radio Gold and her younger brother Reginald.

Her parents are Mr Wilfrid Andoh and Mrs Gladys Andoh.