Title: Absolute Radio: The Inspiring True Story of the First Private Radio Station in Ghana’s Western Region
Author: Phillip Nyakpo
Format: Paperback, eBook (Kindle) and as an Audiobook (read by the author)
Year of Publication: September 2022
Place of Publication: Perth, Australia
Number of Pages: 370
Availability: All Online Bookstores Worldwide, including Amazon
WhatsApp: +61 493 219 774
Book Website: www.nyakpo.com.au
Usually, when I am assigned a text to read for a class, I am bored out of my mind and cannot seem to focus on it. The exact opposite happened when I read Absolute Radio by Philip Nyakpo. I was hooked right from the author’s introduction. I found Nyakpo’s account of working in journalism very relatable.
I, like Nyakpo, find thrill in telling stories and breaking news in journalism as well as the fast paced environment. From his start in Australia, to his life in private radio in Ghana, to his retirement back to Australia, Philip Nyakpo had me hooked in his gregariousness leaping off the page.
Proof of Work
Phillip Nyakpo’s effort to track down and interview over 70 people for this book very much shows he was as reliable a narrator as it gets and meeting him in class only reinforced that belief. The idea of the book was for Nyakpo to chronicle the immense talent that worked at Skyy Power FM and get their perspective on their time there as well as their own experiences to add to his own.
The book is personal and also has a wide scope.
Various chapters cover iconic personalities that worked with Skyy Power FM to make the station a hit and bring joy to the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi in Ghana. It all started with Wilson Arthur’s idea of building a private radio which became the first private radio station in Ghana’s Western Region.
Wilson Arthur had a knack for recruitment and an eye for talent, according to numerous people in this book.
A Member of Parliament for A Start
The reader is introduced to some amazing talents and personalities, starting with a former Member of Parliament, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, whose perspective on Skyy Radio’s growth is covered in Chapter 1. Wilson Arthur himself shares his experiences in medicine prior to radio and entertainment in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 presents the story of Kingsley Boohene (KingB) and his time working on Drive Jam for Skyy Radio.
Stories of Talent and Strong Personalities
These and other personalities share stories about the early days of Skyy Radio, the work that went into finding a good location for it is covered in Chapter 4, with details and experiences from some of the 70 people Philip Nyakpo interviewed to write this book.
Strong personalities came into the building at 37 Windy Ridge with talent to work in radio and the constant flux and a complete summary of all the stories that came from within Skyy FM’s walls is a tall task. Nyakpo does a beautiful job of juggling all the stories told by various individuals now living all over the world and their experiences in Ghana over a period of 25 years.
The Tip of the Spear
Some other stories within this book include how Wilson Arthur gathered resources for the radio show in Chapter 7, or in Chapter 8 offers Michael Griffith’s perspective on Skyy Radio, and how the experiences there shaped him into the father and man he is 25 years later. In chapter 9, Maame Esi Mark-Hansen details how the Skyy Radio experiment was one of the best times in her life as well as how much of a workaholic she was.
The stories flow into one another and make the reader feel truly apart of the history made at 37 Windy Ridge to the point they might have been there themselves. The camaraderie these individuals still have across the world from each other 25 years later share about their pet project is astounding, and the change of perspective chapter by chapter keeps the reader engaged, hoping for more details about Skyy Radio and it’s awesome participants to be shared. It weaves together seamlessly through the journey in Ghana and leaves you cheering for how the success of the station came to be.
A Multi-Narrative Story
The book flows surprisingly well for sharing the perspectives of over 70 people over the course of 44 chapters. The stories of people such as Kojo Frempong in Chapter 10, or Naa Adoley in Chapter 13 also show that life is a lot of chance, and that sometimes all you need is one opportunity to express your talents and let them shine.
All in all, Philip Nyakpo did a fantastic job of capturing the culture and personalities behind Skyy FM and all the talent that walked through the building to help it succeed. Nyakpo absolutely did his homework with this book, as every perspective shared adds something necessary to the book and it wouldn’t feel the same leaving any of them out.
One small gripe I have with the book however is the fact it skips through modern times and times from years ago. Reading through it gave me a bit of confusion at first but I got used to it eventually and once I did it helped me form a more solid picture of all the events. This multi-narrative book by Philip Nyakpo reminds me of another, one of my favorite books ever The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. That book covers the story of her particularly odd childhood through multiple perspectives much like Absolute Radio does with Skyy Radio. It also reminds me of The Last Dance documentary, which revolved around telling the story of the 1990s Chicago Bulls through the perspective of the players, coaches, and opponents decades later. Those two examples give me the same feeling as this book, that all the perspectives are needed in order to tell the full story and after meeting with him, I totally understand why Philip Nyakpo felt it absolutely necessary to gather all these perspectives, as it was of the upmost importance to tell these riveting stories before they were lost to time.
A Book Worth Reading
Overall, I am glad we were able to read this book (in our class at Stetson University) and had the privilege to meet the author as reading this book and speaking with Philip Nyakpo gave me a new perspective on life. It showed me that one can truly get by and be successful without having to put other people down or throw them under the bus. Life is short, chase your passions and the success will follow if you put your talents and heart into making your dreams reality.
Nyakpo, P. (2022). Absolute Radio: The Inspiring Story of the First Private Radio in Ghana’s Western Region. Perth: Phillip Nyakpo Publications.
Herir, J. (Director) (2020) The Last Dance [Film] Jump 23 & ESPN Films
Walls, J. (2017). The Glass Castle. Virago Press.