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GBC rolls out digital media structure

In the era of hyper media pluralism where information is easily weaponised for political, economic and military purposes, the need for a national public broadcaster as a media of reference cannot be overemphasised, the Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Prof. Amin Alhassan, has said.

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Presenting a management report at the GBC Stakeholders’ Conference in Accra yesterday, Prof. Alhassan said “Ghana needs a well-funded, a well-resourced and a professional national broadcaster. And that is what GBC seeks to continue to be”.

GBC, he announced, would roll out a new organisational structure to reflect the identity of a digital media. To achieve this, the Board and Management, he said, had embarked on developing a new organogram and Scheme of Service to enable the organisation to effectively serve the public.

The current structure, a product of an analogue media industry, is said not to be fit for purpose any longer in the current Ghanaian media ecosystem.

The media space, Prof. Alhassan said, was seeing an increasing preference for Direct-to-Home (DTH) over Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and a growth of online and social media over legacy media.

With these developments, he said, there was an increasing number of Ghanaians sourcing their media content from non-professional sources, for which reason various strands of mal-information, including misinformation and disinformation, continued to be on the rise.

“What these changes mean for GBC is that our structures setup for radio broadcasting some 80 years ago and TV broadcasting some 59 years ago appear not fit purpose. The idea that radio and TV operate as separate entities cannot be sustained in an era of extreme media convergence,” he pointed out.

He said it could not be business as usual for GBC when radio studios were changing to visualised studios, and online and social media were transforming TV content into converged listening, viewing and reading on mobile phones and tablets.

Announcing some of the changes to take place soon at the institution towards its transformational agenda to properly secure its place in the digital space, Prof.  Alhassan said the state-owned broadcasting institution was scrapping four office divisions, namely Radio, Television, Engineering and Technical Production.

Instead, the new structure will have News, Programmes and Technology divisions. 

New structure

The Legal Services, Corporate Affairs and the Audit divisions are to be changed into directorates with the division of the Human Resources assigned to a new division of Administration.

The Ghanaian media ecosystem, in the last two decades, has witnessed a dramatic transformation that reflects the wider global phenomenon, with the mass media value chain of content production, transmission and reception completely transformed.

The new media ecosystem, he said, had brought about a change in the media culture of Ghanaians and “consumption habits of Ghanaians have changed beyond our imaginations”. 
“Change has been imposed on us. We either accept it and change or resist change and soon become unsustainable,” Prof. Alhassan added.

The corporation, the GBC Director-General said, had taken the right path over the past three years, including bold new content, both on radio and television, as part of efforts of a comprehensive branding exercise that was yielding positive results.

“Today, GBC can be rightly described as a House of Brands. We have moved from the idea of a GBC and one monolithic brand to seven distinct TV brands. We have also repositioned the regional and district FM stations, 18 of them, into separate brand identities,” he said.

Prof. Alhassan said the corporation was, nonetheless, faced with serious human resource challenges which could hamper its work.

“In the last 10 years, a total of 605 staff have formally retired from GBC. Of this number, we have had over this same period only been granted approval to employ 58. The irony of this staff attrition is that in the last 10 years, GBC has expanded in terms of number of TV channels, regional and district radio stations,” he stressed.

He called on the government to assist GBC resolve the looming crisis.

Prof. Alhassan further said recent increases in electricity tariffs had thrown the corporation’s budget out of gear as GBC, as of April 24, 2024, was spending more than 50 per cent of its revenue on electricity bill payments.

“Management is seriously considering diversifying our power source to include solar,” he said. The event was attended by prominent figures in the Ghanaian media space.

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