Today, Joy FM is celebrating 25 years since they hit the airwaves and swept cosmopolitan Accra off its feet with their programmes and presentations, giving all within their reach a refreshing breath from what GBC had served its monopolized listeners over the years. The team of 1995 were men and women who were on top of their games. The standard set by these forebearers was so high that, their successors at the Station had no reason to falter.
A score and five later, Joy 99.7FM has been graced by some of the finest of presenters, hosts and journalists Ghana can boast of. This write-up is to celebrate these men and women who made Ghana’s first privately owned Radio Station (forget Tarzan and his Radio Eye) what it is today.
I likened Joy FM over the years to any top Football team in the world – Barcelona, Manchester United, Great Olympics, etc. Many good players would be available for selection, but at the end of the day, a coach will face the difficult task of picking a team of 18 for a match. And that is what I attempted to do with this opinion piece. Many of the people who have passed through Joy FM were successful, but for the purposes of this article, I have chosen my first 11 and a bench of 10. Another limitation too is, I limit this write-up to only on-air personalities. I concede, Joy FM could not have come thus far, without the support of its off-air personalities over the years.
Please read on:
1. Tommy Annan-Forson: In between the sticks will be the legend Tommy Annan-Forson himself. His ability to be friendly yet stern and meticulous will be crucial for us to put the discipline of the backline in check and to initiate a productive attack. Uncle Tommy was a man passionate about his craft and knew it so well. His programme Gift of Song was well accepted by many in Accra, however, it was his Country Music show that endeared him to me and established himself as one of the all-time great radio personalities in Ghana. On the all shows of Tommy Annan-Forson, one thing was certain though, you will have something to laugh about. He was such a blessing to Radio in Gh.
2. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah: At right back, I will give it the Kojo. The dude stepped up to the party when Joy FM needed someone that good to wear the shoes Komla Dumor left behind when he joined the BBC. He was relatively unknown but took on the show and gradually warmed himself into the hearts of listening Accra. Kojo was intelligent and his knowledge was vast. He did not have the voice of the Boss Player but his, was not that to be missed either. Until 2014 when he moved on, he brought stability to Joy FM’s flagship programme Joy SMS and such ability is what we will need at the right back.
3. Matilda Asante: One of my all-time great newscasters is Matilda Asante. She was that newscaster that showed up very prepared. She asked the tough questions from her interviewees and made sure not much was left unattended to. For years, she delivered the Mid-Day News at Joy FM and took it to enviable heights. She possessed an enviable command over the English Language and matched it with a wonderful diction. Tilly took her work profoundly serious and delivered a new flawless output. We do not think we can get a better left-back.
4. Ken Addy: For so long, Ken Addy delivered what he has come to be synonymous with – Jazz On Joy. He has been so good at it that he even made occasional listeners of his show like my good self to take a respectable notice of his greatness. Uncle Ken knows his Jazz and has that great voice to make his presentation one of those that can easily be remembered.
5. Gabby Adjetey: At the heart of the defense, I will gladly field Gabby Adjetey, the Gabster. When the “good old” Gabby Adjetey took over from Dusty Wayne, the Drive Time on Joy was just another programme running at the Station. He knew his listeners and had a way of selecting the best of music to get Accra going home. His huge sense of humour on the show was a great asset. Gabby’s position as an astute broadcaster was put beyond doubt after he took on other shows at the Station and “killed them” as well. However, for me, his ability to make Ghana take that late afternoon radio serious was the trump card.
6. Doreen Andoh: Surely at the midfield, we do not want to look beyond the Queen of the Airwaves. Doreen to us is the best person to link the Joy FM greats of yesteryears and the energetic talents of the contemporary times. As to how Doreen Andoh has been able to churn out quality stuff on her show, Cosmopolitan Mix for all these years remain a mystery to some of us. Of course, it must be Doreen. The history of broadcasting in Ghana cannot be written without the mentioning of Doreen Andoh, the first female to receive the Best Presenter of the Year award, in 2001.
7. Nat Kwabena Adisi: The right-wing will be an asset for us if we could get someone with an enormous skillset and confident enough to take on the world. It is Bola Ray for us! For so many years, Bola Ray took charge and drove Accra home without any struggle. With his Drive Time, Bola smashed the established standard set by the likes of Gabby Adjetey and others in the industry and set his own. Years later, many are still looking up to Bola Ray as the yardstick of how a late afternoon show should be hosted. He was that good.
8. Kofi Kum Bilson: We needed a “utility player” for this position and we couldn’t look beyond the Royal Baby. On the Lunch Time Rhythms, Kofi was top notch! He could hold even the passive listener tuned-in till he signed off. Throughout his stay with the Multimedia Group, a journey that took him from Joy Fm through Luv FM and finally to Adom FM, Kofi Kum Bilson’s flair and ingenuity were never lost on anybody. Till today, I still follow the Royal Baby at Peace FM.
9. Komla Dumor: The Boss Player features for us as the lead striker. He was not the first person to have hosted the Morning Show on Joy FM, but from the back of a scooter doing Traffic Watch, Komla grabbed the Super Morning Show and made it his own. With a captivating personality, confidence and drive, Komla and his team on the Super Morning Show took on stories of national interest that others feared to tackle. His intelligence and the eloquence with which he speaks the English Language were simply amazing. Komla topped his amazing qualities as a broadcaster with a voice that can never be missed by any listener. Even in death, the 2003 Journalist of the Year has remained the secret standard for not only Morning Show hosts in Ghana, but broadcasters in general. May his soul rest in peace!
10. Kwaku-Sakyi Addo: Wearing the iconic number 10 jersey would be Kwaku Sakyi-Addo. He hosted the Front Page, an a-not-to-be-missed weekly talk show on Joy FM for 16 years (1995 – 2011) and established himself as a talk show host par excellence who could rub shoulders with any talk show host in Africa and beyond. Indeed, in one of their articles, the BBC referred to him as Ghana’s Larry King. He is, without doubt, one of the best talk show host Ghana has ever seen. Kwaku Sakyi-Addo handled his Front Page so well that it became the reference point of all the major news in Ghana.
11. Rami Baitie: At the left-wing I will have Rami Baitie. I do not know the brains behind the Weekend City Show on Joy FM, but during his time, Rami Baitie made the programme one to look forward to every Saturday morning. Just as the progamme was designed, Rami had a way of making his listeners see the funny side of everything, while still sharing valuable knowledge. A comic radio programme like the Weekend City Show could only be successful with a highly creative host, and Rami was one. Every segment of the show was delivered with near precision. Till today, I keep wondering where Rami got all his “useless information” from… I hope that does not make me the “toonoo of the week” though. Any wonder Joy FM struggled for years to find a good fitting for the Weekend City Show when Rami sadly left to join Choice FM?
Bench: Mark Okraku Mantey, Akwasi Sarpong, Seth Kwame Boateng, Isreal Laryea, Cox Tamakloe, Nii Ayi Tagoe, Adwoa Aidoo, Yaw Ampofo-Ankrah, Eva Otchere, Kwame Sakyiama
Please what do you think? Who would you rather have in your team? Kindly share with us in the comments section below.