By the time the last words of Absolute Radio were written, it had taken on the character of a reasonably large book. The production is more than 100 hundred thousand words.
The world is experiencing a growing short attention span. As a result, many publishers find it prudent to release a 30-thousand-word book. Of course, the quality and substance of a book has very little to do with the size or volume. Nevertheless, someone actually told me, “Phillip, what you have written is like three books in one!” It scared me a bit, and I wondered if I should apologise for writing a big book.
Despite the huge volume, there is reason to believe that not even half of the story was told: the inspiring story of the first private radio in Ghana’s Western Region. I interviewed about 100 people in order to bring the book to life. Still, the story is much bigger than the summary of the collective experience and memories of one hundred people over a quarter of a century.
As my team and I started working to put the book to bed, I had a crazy idea.
Why not read the book myself, in my own voice, as an audiobook?
The book came straight out of the broadcasting industry in Ghana. The story revolves heavily around private radio and also Television.
The account in Absolute Radio is a panoramic snapshot of a period like no other in the history of Ghana’s Western Region – and the entire country of 30 million people.
I felt a strong urge to read it and make a permanent record of a story in which I was an intrinsic part. I thought it would add value to the experience I shared with with dozens of colleagues who are now living all over the world.
The years I spent speaking on radio as a broadcast journalist was a motivating factor. In addition, I had the privilege in training others to use their voice professionally. Through it, my experience and appreciation was that the human voice is one of the most powerful tools most people are born with.
Confidence in Short Supply
Well, when I finished reading just the first chapter of Absolute Radio as an audiobook, my confidence floundered. It was so hard and challenging. It was surprising to me, particularly because, I was reading my own words. I judged myself harshly for sounding uncomfortable and rusty.
I had been off radio and TV for so long, and I could sense that my old self-assured voice and confidence had somehow evaporated. I had to dig deep, through many hours of practice, to find my old spirit again.
I really had to re-learn how to read in order to produce a good audiobook.
The process was a mixture of great misery on one hand but also a lot of fun down the track. The experience helped me to develop a newfound admiration for professional and excellent audiobook narrators.
I eventually completed the narration after an enormous amount of work. As a result, the audiobook version of Absolute Radio became a book “read by the Author.”
PS: The audiobook version of Absolute Radio is available from 6 September 2022
Phillip writes a blog regularly on www.nyakpo.com.au