Friday, 03 July

It'll take "7, 8 years or more for new radio stations to break even" – Tommy Annan Forson

General News
Tommy Annan Forson

Due to the saturation of radio stations in Ghana, it would take new entrants about seven or eight years or more to break even, veteran broadcaster Tommy Annan Forson has said.

‘The King of Country’ made the comment on Straight Talk on the occasion of World Radio Day on Class91.3FM on Thursday, 13 February 2020.

He said: “I’m sure that a lot of investment went into this station [Class91.3FM]; a lot of investment has gone into other stations. Now I can tell you for a fact that if you put up a radio station, you’re not going to break even; even, maybe after seven or eight years, if not more, considering the fact that there are so many radio stations”.

According to Mr Forson: “Now you have passive listeners, you have selective lessons, you have loyal listeners. Somebody will say that: ‘No matter what, I’m not leaving, the issue of putting money into a radio station comes into play but no matter what you do for them [radio owners], it’s like: ‘Bring the money’,, the marketing comes in, programme content comes in...”

Touching on the diversity of content on the Ghanaian airwaves, Mr Forson asked show host Felicity Nelson that: “How diverse are we in terms of content?”, explaining: “Everybody is practically copying one another”.

“If you talk about radio worldwide, you have the morning show, you have the mid-morning, you have your drive, you have your late night shows and stuff like that but the content of what you put into the programme is what makes it different.

“If you listen to radio today; morning shows, talk shows, everything is just about politics. Everything is either NDC, NPP, this person did that, and, so, it becomes boring to listen to, so, a lot of people will shift to a station that predominantly plays music because you get up in the morning [and] everybody is saying ‘the economy is hard’; it is hard, it’s tough for everybody an,d so, you probably would  have 3, 4, 5 hours’ sleep, you get up and straight away you start thinking about yourself, your family and stuff like that. And, so, when you hear people drumming into your ears, screaming and yelling and what have you, you can barely have a very decent conversation on radio or television these days because everybody wants to prove macho. It doesn’t work that way”, he said.

“But if you wake up and you listen to a certain level of music, I think it sets your tone throughout the day and, so, if you have loud music, how diverse are we? Everybody is practically doing the same thing. It’s a total failure, I’ll be very honest.”

Mr Forson, however, indicated that diversity can be promoted on an individual level.

“On an individual basis, maybe the station owners need to say that: ‘Let’s tow this line with a certain number or a certain percentage of this’ rather than saying that: ‘Let’s just leave the stations to run autopilot’”.