Joy morning show losing soul

Last Saturday, the late broadcaster Komla Dumor, was finally laid to rest but what is yet to find rest is the nagging problems that have confronted the show he hosted for many years and made very popular on local radio circles.

That the Super Morning Show on Joy FM is a sinking ship that needs salvaging is becoming a legend on the streets of Accra.

The host for seven years, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah finally said bye bye to the station and the show at the beginning of the year.

When Oppong Nkrumah was in absolute control of the show for six years, it was going strongly but in the seventh year when he tried to leave and was persuaded to stay, the station tried to spread the “ownership” of the programme across multiple people and that in my view has been the death knell to the show.

I will come to this shortly, but first let me paint a picture (by borrowing from something I have written before) of the show we are talking about and the impact it has had on the broadcast scene over the last two decades.

The Super Morning Show on Joy FM would be a very good case study for students of journalism and communication. Over almost two decades of being in existence, it has been a huge part of the growth of the radio industry and its development in the capital.

The show has broached many subjects that have gone to become “The Issues” on which several commentaries have risen. To put it mildly, it has seen it all and done it all as far as radio broadcast in an urban setting is concerned.

The most interesting aspect of the Super Morning Show, over the years has been the people who sit behind the microphone to host it.

And man has there been many! Tommy Annan Forson, Dusty Wayne, Gabby Adjetey, Komla Dumor, Kwesi Anim Agyei, Kweku Sintim Misa, Felix Vanderpallen, Adwoa Aidoo-Shum, Nortey Dua, Kofi Owusu, Akwasi Sarpong and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah have all had a bite of the show one time or the other. Some did well and yet others were abysmal.

As far as I am concerned, only four out of the people mentioned above come across as those whose tenure to host the show turned out to be, what I refer to as, epoch-making.

Annan Forson, Dumor, Aidoo-Shum and Oppong Nkrumah brought a lot of verve and influence to the programme.

Among the four, there is no doubt that Komla happens to be the one who dominated it and brought his persona to unite with the show the most.

It was therefore going to be very difficult to find a replacement. Thus when Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah took over, when the former was leaving to the BBC, a lot was expected of him.

Seven years on the latter could be said to have successfully succeeded The Boss Player and served his time very well.

Three months into replacing Komla Dumor, Oppong Nkrumah told me he was cutting his own path on the show, so to speak.

“For the fact that he hosted the show for ten years means he would be difficult to do away with. If the audience, the production team and you the host see the show as Komla’s show you are finished and so I try not to see it as such.

It is a challenge, but one we have managed so far,” he said.

Indeed he did extremely well in that role and set himself up as a good replacement and host of the flagship programme of the station. However, going to the end of his time at the station, things had to change and that had a telling effect on the show.

There was an expansion of the number of people who appeared on the show sometime in early 2013. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah sat in the host’s chair but around him were other people: his wingman Nana Ansah Kwaw who had previously showed up on Radio XYZ and Rainbow Radio, Edgar Wiredu an insurance guy, Bright Simons of IMANI Ghana and a couple of ladies who interchanged.

Per that arrangement Nana Ansah Kwaw was the co-host to Kojo and the others were the regular guests although they also had other guests appearing from time to time to speak to issues. Although most of the time the “experts” in the studio wouldn’t let the real experts speak.

Somehow, along the line, Bernard Nasara Saibu (who used to sit in for Kojo when he was away) got himself back on the show in a gradual manner and before long he was doing what Ansah Kwaw was supposed to be doing as Oppong Nkrumah’s wingman.

Then gradually they offloaded the regular guests and “our ears went to eat” as they say in Akan.

Sometime along the way, the station’s news presenter and previous co-host of the morning show on Multi TV, Francis Abban was brought on the show, as another co-host.

Thus towards the dying days of Kojo Oppong Nkrumah’s stay on the show there were two co-host long with him as the main presenter, although he took a backseat for Saibu to be dominant.

It must be noted also that since the previous younger regular guests were jettisoned, two older gentlemen took their place as regular guests.

First it was Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobbey who was appearing on the show and then some smart-alecky guy wanted to balance things and so brought on Dr. Tony Aidoo. But that didn’t change the dwindling fortunes of the Super Morning Show and if anything, it rather worsened it.

You know those days when you felt like you’ve missed something if you woke up and didn’t listen to the Super Morning Show? Those days are long gone.

Now you don’t feel you miss anything if you don’t listen to it. Even more worrying is that if you listen to it and you are like me you end up complaining so much you wish you did not.

There are three main problems in my view that are preventing the Super Morning Show from being great: no strong presenter, the structure of the show and the regular guests. Any other thing is but a bonus for the SMS.

Firstly and as previously mentioned, this particular show has seen some of the greatest presenters this side of the Atlantic and so when Bernard is not pulling his weight to come up to those standards its glaring. His style of questioning is too winding, his music taste is non-existence, his understanding of issues lack some depth and above all, he doesn’t take control of the show as he ought to!

He puts me off than he keeps me tuned in with his style, off colour jokes and interjections like “this news was carried on Joy News last night” during the newspaper review segment and I have heard a couple of people or more express similar sentiments.

This is the biggest problem and someone should find a way to fix it.

Secondly, this was a show that gave you everything: the best music, good humour, great interviewing, fantastic interaction with guests and callers and the whole nine yards of a five star radio morning show.

I am not even sure we are making two stars right now with little servings of everything and even in some cases no serving at all.

Music is dead on the Super Morning Show and that I hurt badly because it was a show that defined the music of the day! Can we have a lifestyle radio show again instead of the political talk show it’s degenerated into, please?

If you have two PHD holders who have had vast experience in many areas including academia and public service sit in your studio every day and your confidence is not as big as Puff Daddy’s ego, your show will go nowhere and you will be seen as lacking confidence.

Both Wereko-Brobbey and Aidoo are dominating and domineering personalities who emasculate the host  and co-hosts of the show with their views on national issues.

You want to have these venerable gentlemen on the phone or in the studio once in a while to talk about issues in their area of expertise; you don’t want them to be a part of the furnishings in the studio.

In sum this is my free advice to the guys whose job it is to fix the Super Morning Show at Joy FM: push Bernard to improve or get a new host from where I don’t know, freshen up the show with music and content (although I know it is a tad difficult in a more commercial milieu as we have now) and above all let your regular guests go.

And oh you want to know what to do with Nana Ansah Kwaw and Francis Abban? The latter has some flashing potential to become a good wingman so improve him and keep him as such. The former you can let go to focus on That’s My Opinion (a subject for another day).

Oppong Nkrumah’s departure created a gaping hole, but the signs were on the wall and could have been avoided.

Unfortunately there are other shows that are giving the SMS a good beating and therefore it is in the interest of the top guys at 355 Fanofaa Street to stop the hemorrhaging before it becomes too late. 

Follow the writer on twitter: @TheGHMediaGuru

Source: Graphic Showbiz