Last Saturday morning was a very sorrowful one. Many people, both in the broadcast industry and among listeners and viewers, felt the pain that reverberated across the nation. Most of these people woke up to the news of the sudden death of Accra-based Asempa FM’s afternoon talk show presenter Kwadwo Asare-Baffour Acheampong (KABA).
Obviously, over the four-year period that he hosted the afternoon political talk programme on Multimedia Group’s Asempa FM, KABA endeared himself to many and therefore such a shock exit would be felt by all such people.
It is for that reason that social media, pushed strongly by Whatsapp, went into overdrive when the rumour of his demise started to filter through. There were so many messages waiting for me to answer when I woke up at about 8am, as to whether I had heard the news and if I could confirm it.
I belong to several groups on Whatsapp, some of which have his colleagues from Multimedia on it and yet none could confirm at the time if it was true. We eventually got confirmation that KABA had passed away that morning. It was heart wrenching!
I am not a big fan of Ekosii Sen mainly because I get fed up with the politics. I mean we get bombarded by politics from morning and so I prefer to listen to music-related programmes or alternative talk than getting myself immersed in a platform that was created to give opportunity to NPP and NDC apparatchiks to banter.
That notwithstanding, I have followed the show very closely to know what happens right from the beginning when Ken Addy was hosting it through the stormy days of Nana Kwabena Bobie Ansah till KABA took over in circa mid-2012.
Those with good memory who have followed Ekosii Sen would recall the tumultuous relationship between Asempa FM, Multimedia and the host of the show at the time Bobie Ansah on the one part and the NPP on the other.
In February of that year a good number of young members of the party besieged the station’s premises following what they called his insulting of the party’s leader, Nana Akufo-Addo. This led to his being taken off air and in April of the same year he was sacked by his employers.
It would seem that the choice for the new person to take over from Bobie Ansah was done with the main goal of looking for the one who would be more moderate and uniting of the two bitter political party rivals to close the chasm created by his/her predecessor.
Enter KABA. A suave character. Non cantankerous. But a tad rough on the edges. He however settled into the role and within time he showed to be a good fit for the big gap created by the very popular Bobie Ansah over the year.
Although his time saw some touchy moments, especially during the political season leading to the 2016 elections, he generally proved to be a more unifying character. The testimonies that poured in from both sides of the political divide gave credence to this particular characteristic of him.
There was so much commiseration with the Multimedia Group from government, opposition, competitive news organizations and all manner of organizations from Saturday through to when I sat to write this piece on Wednesday.
KABA was truly and genuinely loved by many people. The stations in the Multimedia stables all dedicated a lot of airtime to eulogise him. His colleagues showed their love and continue to do so till now. I even foresee a greater show of such appreciation of his friendship, comradeship and love towards others during the one-week celebration slated for this Saturday at the station’s Kokomlemle base.
Since Monday, Asempa FM has been playing some of the interviews he did of prominent and other people on varied subjects on the time that he would have been on air as well as snippets of commendations and tributes by many people on air.
After all is said and done, however, there would be the need to ask that one question: Who would be the one to succeed Kwadwo Asare-Baffour Acheampong? This question would be answered when the dust is settled, but it’s important to note that following how he handled the show and made it possible for all to find solace in it, it goes without saying that it would be a tough search to find a replacement.
There are certainly a few people lined up in the corridors of Multimedia both on TV and radio who conduct good interviews in Twi, but it is important to note the unifying role KABA played when he sat in that chair to be a key factor in determining a replacement. Whichever way it goes someone would be had and we shall see how he/she plays the role.
It is important to commend KABA on the role he played as host of Ekosii Sen over the last four years. Indeed, his young wife Valentina and the family left behind as well as his colleagues at Multimedia and his many friends would feel the pain of his demise the more. I am sure they would eventually come to the realisation that above all things, KABA played his role with exception.
I have been here and writing this column long enough to know that not many people in broadcasting utilise the opportunities that come their way in such a manner that their exit, after only four years would, cause such a stir as KABA’s has done.
I guess at this juncture it would be in order to say fare thee well, KABA. You’ve played your part in the broadcasting history of Ghana and you shall always be fondly remembered by those who appreciate the role you played.
NB: You may have heard that after over two years of being in hibernation, Blakk Rasta will return to radio beginning of December. I had a chat with the former host of Taxi Driver on Hitz FM on his new adventure and I hope to bring you the juice next week.