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A rewind: TV & radio shows patronage in Ghana, still a lottery?!

BY: Ajoa Yeboah-Afari

Onua FM certainly announced themselves in style earlier this week, in the Monday, May 16 issue of the Daily Graphic. Their full page colour advertisement had the heading, “WE’RE BACK, 95.1 FM”.

Below that was a montage of smiling faces, presumably the station’s staff, under which was their logo and slogan “Onua FM 95.1, yε dwene wo ho” (‘we think about you’).

Unfortunately, there were no captions under the smiling photos, no names; which I thought was a great opportunity missed, of helping the station’s followers link names to the voices they hear regularly.

Also, considering the high cost of such adverts, I would have thought that a media house, or any organisation paying so much for that space, would have squeezed out of it every possible benefit.

But my main issue, my question prompted by the heading, is: Back from where? Probably the station’s listeners may understand that heading, but what about the rest of the public reading the “We’re back” declaration in the paper?

Nevertheless, I was very gratified to see that the rest of the page was devoted to the station’s regular programme schedule for the week.

Thus, I heartily applaud the management of Onua FM, which belongs to the Media General family, for publishing their listings because that ‘audience-service’ seems to be of little importance to Ghana’s electronic media bosses.

Although this country now has countless radio and television channels, none of them seem interested in providing regular, reliable schedules as is done elsewhere.

Sadly, evidently, not much has changed since 2014 when I wrote about this shortcoming, notably in relation to television viewing in Ghana.

The following is an abridged version of what I wrote:

⃰ ⃰ ⃰
PART OF THE 2014 COLUMN
I have a number of complaints about the television fare, but most of all, my problem is that nobody seems to be taking care of viewers’ interests and needs.

For instance, isn’t it strange that despite the current multiplicity of television and radio stations in this country, one can’t find a single newspaper that publishes even a few of the programme guides or schedules of the stations?

In many of the countries whose ways we so avidly try to copy, such as the UK, TV and radio schedules are considered important and much attention is paid to those pages. Usually, readers are directed on the front page to where the listings can be found inside.

What seems to be the norm in Ghana is that the stations run the day’s schedule at the beginning of their telecast. Thus those who miss the telecast of the schedule have little or no idea what programmes are on that evening, or no idea about the exact screening times.

Further, if a film or programme is in two or three parts, it is difficult to know when the continuation will be shown as they usually conclude only with ‘To be continued’.

The pacesetters, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, used to publish a Radio and TV Times but as far as I know it has not appeared for years, if not decades.

In summary, TV viewing in Ghana is a lottery, a veritable cha-cha or game of chance.

Surely, this haphazard way of doing things is a matter that should concern some office or relevant interest group, or the advertisers who pay good money to sponsor programmes? Who knows, some of the time spent in beer bars could well be spent at home watching TV if only people knew the schedules and what programmes they might be missing.

Admittedly, there are no easy solutions. A few years ago, the Ghanaian Times started publishing some radio and TV schedules, an initiative that was much applauded. However, the paper had to abandon it after some time due to lack of cooperation from the media houses.

In fact, getting the schedules from them, to publish free of charge for the benefit of readers as well as to their own advantage, was virtually like pulling out healthy teeth. I know this for a fact because I was then the paper’s Editor and the person who introduced that idea.

So, who will come to the aid of viewers? Any assistance from the National Media Commission (NMC) or the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association?

Or maybe viewers’ needs are beyond the mandate or scope of the existing bodies, therefore what is needed is a new group, an Association of Television Viewers, to work towards making TV viewing in Ghana less frustrating; in effect, help them to help us (column of February 7, 2014, ‘Must TV viewing be a lottery?’).

⃰ ⃰ ⃰
As pointed out above, elsewhere, publishing a radio and TV guide is considered an essential part of the media's responsibility to the public. Indeed, for example, in the UK, there is stiff competition among the newspapers as to which of them can produce the most attractive, informative and comprehensive radio and television guide for the week.

The great irony is the present state of affairs in Ghana, as there are, reportedly, some 140 TV channels and nearly 500 FM radio stations, yet the cha-cha persists.

Furthermore, there are supposedly some 5,000 newspapers and publications registered with the NMC, although only 35 operate. So why is it that none of them will invest in publishing regular listings to help listeners, viewers and their readers?

Why should tuning into a radio show, or looking out for the continuation of a film on TV, still be a matter of potluck, and an extremely frustrating ‘cha-cha’ experience?

If only Onua FM would keep publishing their programme listings! And if only other radio and TV stations would follow the Onua FM example!

Or, will any daring and visionary entrepreneur take up the challenge, especially with all the technology currently available, to fill this glaring vacuum and produce a much needed ‘Radio and TV Times’?

Onua FM certainly announced themselves in style earlier this week, in the Monday, May 16 issue of the Daily Graphic. Their full page colour advertisement had the heading, “WE’RE BACK, 95.1 FM”.
Below that was a montage of smiling faces, presumably the station’s staff, under which was their logo and slogan “Onua FM 95.1, yε dwene wo ho” (‘we think about you’).
Unfortunately, there were no captions under the smiling photos, no names; which I thought was a great opportunity missed, of helping the station’s followers link names to the voices they hear regularly.
Also, considering the high cost of such adverts, I would have thought that a media house, or any organisation paying so much for that space, would have squeezed out of it every possible benefit.
But my main issue, my question prompted by the heading, is: Back from where? Probably the station’s listeners may understand that heading, but what about the rest of the public reading the “We’re back” declaration in the paper?
Nevertheless, I was very gratified to see that the rest of the page was devoted to the station’s regular programme schedule for the week.
Thus, I heartily applaud the management of Onua FM, which belongs to the Media General family, for publishing their listings because that ‘audience-service’ seems to be of little importance to Ghana’s electronic media bosses.
Although this country now has countless radio and television channels, none of them seem interested in providing regular, reliable schedules as is done elsewhere.
Sadly, evidently, not much has changed since 2014 when I wrote about this shortcoming, notably in relation to television viewing in Ghana.
The following is an abridged version of what I wrote:

⃰ ⃰ ⃰
PART OF THE 2014 COLUMN
I have a number of complaints about the television fare, but most of all, my problem is that nobody seems to be taking care of viewers’ interests and needs.
For instance, isn’t it strange that despite the current multiplicity of television and radio stations in this country, one can’t find a single newspaper that publishes even a few of the programme guides or schedules of the stations?
In many of the countries whose ways we so avidly try to copy, such as the UK, TV and radio schedules are considered important and much attention is paid to those pages. Usually, readers are directed on the front page to where the listings can be found inside.
What seems to be the norm in Ghana is that the stations run the day’s schedule at the beginning of their telecast. Thus those who miss the telecast of the schedule have little or no idea what programmes are on that evening, or no idea about the exact screening times.
Further, if a film or programme is in two or three parts, it is difficult to know when the continuation will be shown as they usually conclude only with ‘To be continued’.
The pacesetters, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, used to publish a Radio and TV Times but as far as I know it has not appeared for years, if not decades.
In summary, TV viewing in Ghana is a lottery, a veritable cha-cha or game of chance.
Surely, this haphazard way of doing things is a matter that should concern some office or relevant interest group, or the advertisers who pay good money to sponsor programmes? Who knows, some of the time spent in beer bars could well be spent at home watching TV if only people knew the schedules and what programmes they might be missing.
Admittedly, there are no easy solutions. A few years ago, the Ghanaian Times started publishing some radio and TV schedules, an initiative that was much applauded. However, the paper had to abandon it after some time due to lack of cooperation from the media houses.
In fact, getting the schedules from them, to publish free of charge for the benefit of readers as well as to their own advantage, was virtually like pulling out healthy teeth. I know this for a fact because I was then the paper’s Editor and the person who introduced that idea.
So, who will come to the aid of viewers? Any assistance from the National Media Commission (NMC) or the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association?
Or maybe viewers’ needs are beyond the mandate or scope of the existing bodies, therefore what is needed is a new group, an Association of Television Viewers, to work towards making TV viewing in Ghana less frustrating; in effect, help them to help us (column of February 7, 2014, ‘Must TV viewing be a lottery?’).

⃰ ⃰ ⃰
As pointed out above, elsewhere, publishing a radio and TV guide is considered an essential part of the media's responsibility to the public. Indeed, for example, in the UK, there is stiff competition among the newspapers as to which of them can produce the most attractive, informative and comprehensive radio and television guide for the week.
The great irony is the present state of affairs in Ghana, as there are, reportedly, some 140 TV channels and nearly 500 FM radio stations, yet the cha-cha persists.
Furthermore, there are supposedly some 5,000 newspapers and publications registered with the NMC, although only 35 operate. So why is it that none of them will invest in publishing regular listings to help listeners, viewers and their readers?
Why should tuning into a radio show, or looking out for the continuation of a film on TV, still be a matter of potluck, and an extremely frustrating ‘cha-cha’ experience?
If only Onua FM would keep publishing their programme listings! And if only other radio and TV stations would follow the Onua FM example!
Or, will any daring and visionary entrepreneur take up the challenge, especially with all the technology currently available, to fill this glaring vacuum and produce a much needed ‘Radio and TV Times’?
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