How time flies. It is ten years already when the King of afternoon radio Bola Ray crossed the Kokomemle street from one radio station-Top Radio to another- Joy FM.
He had paid his dues to Top Radio having held the city hostage with his flagship programme Top City Jam. The switch from Top to Joy came as rumours and the rumours were in themselves juicy.
That Joy FM was willing to offer the latest brand of Golf vehicle which was very trendy then and a house to entice Kwabena Anokye Adisi; that they were ready to dole out millions in salary to the star of Top Radio to make that switch.
For those of us who were with Top at the time were with mixed feelings. Bola Ray’s imminent exit was a big blow. He was the star on whose shoulders Top Radio rested. We knew what the future held for Top Radio if Bola exited. The future was bleak.
But his future his dreams were more significant. And with the juicy offer being dangled around his nose, it was going to be foolhardy to turn the offer down.
I remember his last few days before the exit. Bola and the sports team made up of myself, Emmanuel Andoh, Stephen Osei and Nii Armah Ashong Katai had gathered in an emotional farewell to a brother, a friend and an icon.
The topic was “to go or not to go.” In that couch, tucked in a corner just outside the main studio of Top Radio sat Bola Ray in a dilemma of some sorts. “Should I go,” he asked, rather absentmindedly. We were unanimous in our answer. “You have to go,” we said. “It is a once in a life time offer,” Stephen Osei added almost insinuating that it will be foolish not to take up that offer.
Even though we could not confirm the rumours about the juicy nature of the offer being peddled in town, we knew it was big; bigger and far better than what pertained at Top Radio.
Right after that meeting we knew we had lost the torchbearer. Top Radio was never going to be the same again.
Kwabena Anokye Adisi gave meaning to the statement that success is not a function of what you are given in life but rather a function of what you do with what you are given.
Top Radio was obviously not in the league of the best radio stations at the time but Bola Ray was in the league of the best radio show hosts at the time.
It was no longer Top City Jam but rather Drive Time on Joy for Bola. After the switch, the speculations and the rumours also switched.This time it was whether Bola Ray could fit into the big shoes left behind by Gabby Adjetey on Drive Time. It was such a big shoe but Bola had a bigger head.
There was also the issue about what to do with the many young hip-life talents who through Bola Ray and the Top City Jam had their music turned instant hits.
For many of these young hip life artistes Bola Ray was the glimmer of hope; the ray of light to their dark, chequered dreams. Bola could not afford to let them down, even if his career has taken another shape.
And whilst Joy FM and the Drive Time show had a markedly different philosophy and programming from Top Radio and Top City Jam, the king of afternoon radio had to draw a fine balance between his past at Top Radio; his future at Joy FM and his responsibility not just to himself but the dozens of people who looked up to him for a meaningful life.
In what could be described as strategic thinking, planning and execution, Bola Ray built for himself an Empire which discovered talents, promoted them and turned them into stars. Empire Entertainment was born.
As CEO of Empire Entertainment, and host of Drive Time, Bola once again showed just how opportunities abound in Ghana; opportunities which at every turn tug at the hearts and minds of each and every Ghanaian and crying out for expression but most often blinded and buried by the same Ghanaian.
I paid a ‘courtesy call’ on Bola at his office in Laterbiokorshie in Accra late last year and I was hugely impressed.
It is not an imposing edifice but the minds within the edifice were imposing. They represented everything success represents.
On Friday, May 17 2013, Bola celebrated 10 years in Joy FM. Was there any doubt that Bola had seamlessly filled the void left behind by Gabby Adjetey ten years ago? The excited crowd that besieged the precincts of Joy FM to celebrate with Bola spoke volumes of a man who despite the long odds was determined to get to the top.
On the occasion of his 10th Anniversary there is once again a mention of a house. It was not the rumour I heard ten years ago; it was a gift from Blue Rose to celebrate hardwork and success of a genius who had the bleoo blood running through his veins.
The bleoo blood runs through mine too and I can only be proud of my big brother. I don’t have a house to give; neither do I have money to give but I dedicate this piece to celebrate a man of sterner stuff; a shining example of applied persistence and a master mind of success. Raise your glass and toast to success, to Bola Ray to Joy FM and the Drive Time team.