I have spent a few days in Zimbabwe, visiting some of the most iconic places of culture, leisure and tourism in the Southern African country. In due course I will tell you about some of the experiences I have had.
For now, I want to talk about something very huge that happened while I was away: The thanksgiving service at ICGC to commemorate the 20th anniversary celebration of TV3 last Sunday.
The service emphasized the fact that 20 years ago a new station was established, which for the most part of its existence, has led the way in giving meaning to the expression “content is king” while also defining, in many ways, what a television station should focus on.
Rev. Dr. Mensah Otabil, who preached the sermon commended TV3 for its contribution to the story of ICGC. As reported on www.3news.com, Pastor Otabil said “We appreciate that they gave us a great opportunity on television to take the Word of God to destinations.”
But certainly, TV3 has done more in the last 20 years than giving ICGC and many other religious bodies the opportunity to share their messages of salvation with people.
This was captured in the observation of the Group CEO of Media General Group (parent company of TV3) when she said TV3 has gone through a “tough journey but it’s been full of rewarding moments and to think that we can still claim to be number one today, that’s something special.”
Apart from the church service that heralded the 20th anniversary activities, there were special programmes and a special news programme that featured some of their previous presenters, including Paul Adom Otchere, Gifty Bingley, Gideon Aryeequaye, Abu Issah Monnie, etc.
There are many people who have also expressed their own experiences with TV3 and the impact the station has had on their lives over the years.
For me the many great moments at which TV3 has excelled in its 20 years could be looked at from five different perspectives, each of which I want to discuss briefly, after which I will attempt to find out the station intends to do in the coming years.
SOAP AND DRAMA: As has been said by many, TV3 came with a bang in the area of soap drama. This might be a belaboured point but it is worth saying one more time that the station introduced us to the swashbuckling Acapulco Bay and our lives have never been the same again.
The drama, suspense and everything else that Acapulco Bay represented was novel and refreshing and we enjoyed every bit of it. When it ended, we asked for an encore and though it was as exciting as the initial showing, it was better than those before it.
However, Acapulco Bay was not the only soap that the station introduced that had us foaming at the mouth, there were others such as Sunset Beach, Rosalinda, Highlander among others.
Most importantly however, the local drama productions found a home and the local viewers loved them. Efiewura showed for a long time on TV3 and gave us some very important hilarious moments, just as Chorkor Trotro and the others that also aired on the channel.
Thus for foreign and local soaps and dramas, there cannot be any argument that TV3 has earned its five stars.
REALITY SHOWS: The entrance of TV3 was a watershed period for reality television shows. Over the years some of the biggest and most audience following reality shows have been churned out by the station. No local station has done more in that area than TV3 in the past 2 decades.
Mentor was the real deal when it was in its prime. Look, in 2006 when Ghana played at the World Cup in Germany, TV3 did not have the rights to the matches. It introduced Mentor instead and though many had predicted that eyeballs would move away to the games, TV3 scored an A with its music reality show and had many tuning in to watch the likes of Prince, Okuraseni Samuel, Andy and the others get grilled by Mark Okraku Mantey, Rama Brew and Dominic Asare.
Another big one that set TV3 apart 11 years ago was Ghana’s Most Beautiful. It started as an alternative to the traditional beauty pageants and over the years it has become the pageant that gives the opportunity to young women to express themselves while they educate the audience about their traditions and cultures in a very entertaining manner.
There have been other big reality shows that have featured on TV3 over the years including the likes of Talented Kids, Looking for Love, Dance Fever, Celebrations and many more. Need I say more?
SPORTS: TV3 has been big on sports as well. Right from the beginning, it was obvious that it believed in local production for sports and delved right into one of the shows that would rival GTV’s Sports Highlights.
Over the years, the likes of Yaw Ampofo Ankrah, Kojo Frempong and Elloyne Amande have hosted the leading sports highlights show on the channel, Sports Station and done so with distinction. There have been other sports programmes that have discussed sports, especially football to the admiration of audiences.
The station has also had the opportunity to show some of the big football properties, including the World Cups, Champions Leagues, English Premier Leagues, and others.
NEWS: TV3’s payoff line from the beginning was “First in News, Best in Entertainment” and the station lived it to the fullest. Their initial approach to news was to be disruptive. Bring in the likes of Emma Morrison, Ama Adade, Paul Adom Otchere, Abu Issah Monnie, Nana Ama Amoateng and others to rock the boat. The likes of Gideon Aryeequaye, Beatrice Abbey (nee Agyeman), Israel Laryea, Gifty Bingley (nee Osei-Boakye), Nana Aba Anamoah, Henry Herbert Malm, Roland Walker, Matilda Haynes (nee Malm) and many others would take over and carry the news presentation further.
Costuming was different from what we had known for a long time with GTV news. No cloth, no kaba, just suits for everyone. It was different, it was refreshing and for all the years that the station has been running, its biggest strength and its biggest revenue drawer has been the news.
The look and feel alone has not been the strength of TV3 when it comes to the news, its content has been another very important aspect of why it has led in that department for a very long time.
ENTERTAINMENT: The other leg of the station’s slogan is entertainment and it has shown over the years that it could live up to that. The reality shows mentioned above are all entertainment focused, but there are some very important entertainment content that have defined TV3 as well.
Music Music has been a great entertainment show on television for many years. Indeed many would have noticed that it is not as it used to be, but from the days that Bola Ray and Stacey started this show, it was and has become a great focal point for Saturday night entertainment on TV. Its predecessor, Gold Blast, hosted by Blakofe and Vincent was great entertainment too and so has been other shows like Hitz Video by Iso Paeley.
So where does TV goes from here, what should viewers look forward to after 20 years of content delivering by Ghana’s premier private television station? Joseph Warungu, the new General Manager of News at the station has an answer: “They should expect a completely different way of doing news that is engaging. They should expect to see a station that is a lot closer to its people, that covers the issues in-depth not just in Ghana and the sub region, but also international. We want to bring the world to Ghana but also Ghana to the world.”