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20.02.2007 General News

: Crisis Hits Ashanti Media

By Daily Guide

LAYING OFF workers, massive resignations, sale and closure of privately -owned media organisations have hit the media in the Ashanti Region recently.

Whereas media owners pay huge sums of money to recruit Disc Jockeys (DJ's) and presenters to host programmes, most trained journalists (reporters) on these stations are not paid monthly salaries, at all.

This situation, coupled with other factors, has forced journalists, sales executives, producers and presenters to move from one FM station to another in the city, resulting in the closure of the stations and dismissal of workers.

In the last couple of months, about five electronic media organisations were allegedly sold in the region while others have become dysfunctional.

Assh FM, Invisible FM, Mett FM and Jet FM, all in Kumasi, have been disposed of by their owners while the rest, Mighty FM, Nananom FM were sold in Mampong and Goaso respectively.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Hon. Ken O. Agyapong, MP for Assin North has purchased Assh FM, whereas Dr. Kwaku Oteng, Managing Director of Angel Herbal Products, has purchased Nananom FM in Goaso and Mighty FM.

Dr. Oteng is reported to have changed the Santasi-based Mett FM to Angel FM in Kumasi.

Daily Guide's investigative scouts were not told what exactly informed media owners' decision to offer their stations for sale.

However, careful analysis of the situation pointed to the fact that majority of those stations found it difficult to struggle for the limited advertisement opportunities.

To ensure Angel FM made impact with its programmes in the region, Dr. Oteng, Daily Guide gathered, has gone for Mr. Kwame Adinkrah, former host of Fox FM's morning show drive programme.

Adinkrah was said to have settled with his new employer for the job over the alleged contract sum of ยข500,000,000.

Angel FM's proprietor was said to have as well recruited Yaw Serbeh, Fox FM, Joe Laka and Oware, both of Kessben FM.
Dr. Oteng was said to have as well recruited Kwame Kesse from Kess radio, in Kumasi to ensure the station won the heart of the public.

With the exit of Kwame Adinkrah from Fox FM, Captain Smart, formerly with Otec FM, has been employed to host its morning show programme.

Prior to the commencement of its transmission, Kessben FM had contracted a number of journalists, sales executives, reporters, newscasters and presenters and agreed to pay them huge sums of money.

However, the hopes of most of these workers were dashed when the station's management later realised that the challenges facing media operations were enormous.

A few months into its operations, the station's management was forced to lay several of the workers off over the accusation of non-performance.

Recently, Mr. Berfi, managing director of Nkosuo radio, another Kumasi-based private local station, told Daily Guide in a chat that media management was very challenging and non lucrative.

He observed that the load-shedding exercise being carried out by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) had worsened the situation and threatened to offer the station for sale or close it down if its state of affairs did not change, because he was incurring too much loss.

Workers of Spirit FM, a purely Christian-oriented media organisation, were laid off recently by its management, citing non-performance on their part.

According to sources, management of those stations had claimed that the workers could not work hard to generate enough income to meet expenditure.

Currently, Kapital Radio is embroiled in series of organisational crisis between management, on one hand, and some of the presenters, journalists and the rest of the workers, on the other hand.

Several other stations, though operating in the region, have as well failed to come up with distinctive educative and informative programmes to feed their listeners, hence cannot be felt or heard.

These, coupled with blatant disregard for journalists as well as the poor monthly payment for reporters, have stifled the effective operations of media organisations in the region.

Many private individual business magnates in the region had thought that setting up and managing local radio stations in the cities could generate adequate revenue overnight.

However, their assumptions and the reality on the ground have proven contrary, thus many of them have gone haywire, laying workers off and recruiting new ones daily.