The first time I told the world about Absolute Radio was on 4 March 2022. My announcement was delivered in a Facebook post, just around the International Women’s Day for 2022. With a collage of photos featuring the faces of some of the amazing ladies I worked with at the first private radio in Ghana’s Western Region, I wrote:
“…a few of the women who changed the destiny of Sekondi-Takoradi in Ghana’s Western Region – on Skyy Power 93.5 FM. This year, their inspiring and heroic story will be unveiled.”
An Unfinished Book
I had done the majority of the writing by early March, but there were still a lot of chapters to prepare. I couldn’t be sure when the book would be ready, but I took the risk and committed myself to release it in September/October 2022. As I considered the first thing to say about the book publicly, I thought about all the many dozens of passionate and committed people who passed through the pioneering establishment. I was moved by the sheer number of ladies among us who were young, intelligent, capable, smart, fun-loving and effortlessly sophisticated.
With a designated date in March set aside each year to recognise the extraordinary contribution of women around the globe, I decided to introduce Absolute Radio by honouring the ladies from Skyy Power FM. They deserved much more for their great contribution in private broadcasting across Ghana.
Having interviewed more than 70 people for the project, I started teasing out the content each week since March with excerpts of interviews I conducted with a wide variety of people, across the world. Most of the people I interviewed were my former colleagues at the Radio station as well as a few chosen individuals who were eye-witnesses of the history.
On 4 July, I posted a new teaser. It was about Bob Gardiner, also called Bob Gee. Along with a short video of soundbites from my interview with him, I wrote the following:
“Ten years a morning show host, and Robert Jimdim Gardiner (Bob Gee) knows the success template for a Radio station. All that and more in the book, Absolute Radio, launching this Sept/Oct 2022.”
Among those who liked the video on social media was a lady called Mary Ama Bawa. Mary also offered a heartfelt comment, congratulating me on the book.
Mary’s photo on social media looked familiar, but I struggled to remember her fully. Nonetheless, I reached out to express my appreciation.
That was when it all started coming back to me.
Back in 2001 in Takoradi, Mary won a competition to become a co-host on our radio station’s late afternoon show called Drive Jam.
Mary’s memory is way sharper than mine and she recalled events from 20 years ago that I probably took for granted.
A by-product of writing Absolute Radio is that I have had a lot of uplifting experiences with dozens of people from the past who kindly reached out to me to share many beautiful memories.
Mary did the same, but she went a step further. On her social media account, she shared her own memory about Skyy Power FM and how she perceived my work as a journalist, including those of my colleagues.
So generous was Mary that she mentioned a number of my colleagues from Skyy whom she acknowledged inspired her in some way. She specified Bob Gee, Abena Ntifuah Bondah, Joe Enuson and Sylvia Odonkor.
“I am part of the generation that had really good people to look up to as mentors,” she wrote.
I consider Mary’s recall and appreciation so moving that I decided to reproduce it below:
I will tell you the little things that lift us up when we are down.
It’s the genuine checkups, the pleasant imojis on our posts and the kind comments.
It’s been many years, almost two decades, since I left Takoradi – my root.
Radio in Takoradi was beautiful and I had the blend of Skyy Power and Goodnews FM. I look back with a lot of nostalgia.
Since I relocated to Cape Coast, I have been in search of four radio personalities; Bob Gee, Abena Ntifuah Bondah, Joe Enuson and Phillip Nyakpo. These amazing individuals shaped my career in diverse perspectives.
Social media made it possible for me to connect with the first two after many failed attempts. I connected with Joe about two months ago on a business negotiation. Phillip Nyakpo reached out to me this morning, making my morning really good.
As far as radio in Takoradi is concerned, Phillip is a legend. He was a whole authority in News and when you landed on his platform as an interviewee, he just knew exactly how to get the information no matter where it was concealed. He always asked the tough questions. And I crushed a thousand times on his voice.His interviews were hard and strong and I never missed his bulletins.
Phillip and Sylvia Odonkor were such a perfect duo.
They made me want to do radio and so when I later auditioned for Joe’s search for a co-host in 2001, I had my own plans.
I think I’m part of the generation that had really good people to look up to as mentors. Unfortunately, I lost touch with these people.
Yesterday, just yesterday, I had the rare opportunity of leaving a comment under Gardiner’s post about Phillip’s book launch. That’s how Phillip and I reconnected.
Congratulations to Phillip Nyakpo, one of Takoradi’s best. Thank you for chronicling history in such a fantastic way.
‘A generation transformed by Private Broadcasting in Ghana. The trailblazing story from Takoradi to be served in “Absolute Radio”
A Dream from 20 Years Ago
Since Mary and I reconnected, I have learned more about her journey in life as a personal person with passion for broadcasting. Now based in Cape Coast, Mary Ama Bawa holds a Bachelor of Education in Arts, Master of Arts in Peace and Development Studies as well as Master of Philosophy in Communication and Media studies.
Her academic standing is just a small part of her identity.
More than twenty years after her passion for media and broadcasting brought her to Skyy Power FM in Takoradi, Mary has become a powerful broadcast Journalist and a radio documentary maker in her community in Cape Coast.
Working for the University of Cape Coast’s ATL FM, Mary delivers the morning show. She is also known as a high profile moderator of academic, political, economics and social events and programs.
Phillip Nyakpo’s book, Absolute Radio, will launch worldwide in Kindle, e-Book, Paperback and Audiobook on 6 September 2022. Details can be found on www.nyakpo.com.au