Bola Ray quits Joy FM
After launching his own radio station, it was just a matter of time for Bola Ray to announce he is leaving Joy FM. According to Francis Doku: BOLA RAY aka Nathaniel Kwabena Anokye Adisi is on his way out of Multimedia Group Limited. Bola Ray who has been the host of late afternoon show “Drive Time” on Joy FM for over a decade has tendered his resignation, according to very reliable sources, to leave the station at the end of this month.
Bola Ray has been off the programme for a few days now and it has been hosted by Kwame Sakyiamah, host of the late evening shows at the station confirming speculations of the former’s imminent departure from the show he has hosted and owned for such a long time.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Bola Ray when I heard rumours of his planned leaving and he declined to comment. However, when I spoke with him on Thursday morning he confirmed and said that he had had a meeting with CEO of Multimedia Group Kwesi Twum on Wednesday and he had received his blessings to leave.
“I have been here for long, have helped to build the Joy FM brand and therefore I didn’t want to leave with any bad blood between me and the station hence my meeting with Mr. Twum to discuss the matter and to receive his blessings to leave,” he told me.
But where is Bola Ray headed? He would not mention to me although some reliable sources have mentioned that he may end up at Star Radio, a new station that would be rebranded from the former Agoo 103.5FM.
There can be no doubt that Bola Ray has been a huge part of the radio industry for quite a while now. His name has been synonymous with most of the things that relate to entertainment on radio and over time he has transformed from an ordinary presenter to the reference point of late afternoon show host.
He started at the University of Ghana based Radio Univers where he was a big banging DJ-like presenter who ensured that he gave the audience at the time a good feel of both local and foreign local hip music. Thankfully, it was just at the time hiplife was emerging and Bola latched on to make it even more popular.
From Radio Univers, Bola Ray moved on to Top Radio and people old enough to remember when he used to do from 2pm to 4pm between the years 2001 to 2003. Top Radio even back then was not among the most popular stations in Accra but when Bola Ray arrived most radio dials stopped and he whipped us silly with good hip music on the Top City Jam.
When it was announced that Bola Ray was moving to Joy FM there were a couple of things that watchers of the industry at the time thought would vitiate against his success and due to that it was concluded by some that his decision to move was ill conceived.
To begin with Bola Ray was a nickname and as Sammy B would tell you when he moved from Choice FM to Joy FM, the latter station at the time did not allow for presenters to use their nicknames on air and he had to struggle to continuously mention “my name is Kwame Bampoe” after mentioning Sammy B for so long a time. Even DJ Black had to struggle to let his adopted moniker stay ahead of official name of Kwadwo Ampofo.
There were exceptions to this rule though as in the past the likes of DJ Azigiza and Heavy Dee managed to convince whoever made the rule at the time that they would stick with their on-air name, thank you very much. Even then Heavy Dee started mentioning my name Klenam Anatsui aka Heavy Dee only when he moved to Joy FM.
From all indications however, by the time Bola Ray had arrived at Joy FM the rules pertaining to not using nicknames on air had been dropped or its enforcement had reduced and so he got to stick with it although he had to continuously, during sign in and sign off, remind his listeners of the official name Nat Anokye Adisi. That was the first hurdle he cleared.
The next thing for Bola Ray to do was to be able to break that stranglehold that Gabby Adjetey had had on the Drive Time on Joy FM. In those days the SI Unit for drive time was Gabby and how good he was on the show. Look, Gabby was so good that when Komla Dumor tried to sit in for him he messed it up some and then his childhood friend Kwabena Pecku couldn’t fill the gap Gabby left.
Thus it was always going to be an arduous task for Bola Ray whose strength was more in his music playing than in his oratory, something Gabby Adjetey had in abundance. But what he didn’t have in speech he had in hyping, talking big and practically coming to the level of his listeners.
Over the years Bola has defined what ought to be done on radio at that time of the day to get the attention of listeners most of whom are commuting from work to their homes and in the process has given a reason to advertisers to use the show for normal commercials, extensive LPMs and many radio activations.
One of the two things Bola Ray has perfected to do best over the decade must be how he hypes or simply put, paints grandeur picture about things that would ordinarily be explained in simple terms by other presenters. He has a knack to make that simple event look like it’s the wedding of William and Cate and event organisers have come to know that getting Bola Ray along is one sure way of making your event look big!
The other thing Bola Ray does more than any other person on radio is dedication or shout outs! If dedication was replaced with 100metres at the Olympic Games Tyson Gaye, Asafa Powell and even Usain Bolt would all have nothing on Bola Ray and he would have continuously used them to wipe the tracks for ten years. The greatest mathematician cannot count the number of times Bola Ray makes dedications on a single show let alone how many he would have made in the eleven years since taking over Drive Time on Joy.
It must be mentioned that Bola Ray has taken his time over the years to build his own brand and in the process built the reputation of the programme he hosts on Joy so much that there seem to be some symbiotic relationship between the two. This is so palpable that anytime he was away from the show it felt that something had been taken away from it.
Bola Ray’s dedication to the programme also has to be acknowledged in the sense that although he was going to build his own businesses in Empire Entertainment and others he ensured that he also made time in the week for the Drive Time and didn’t let the personal businesses thwart what he is required to do on Joy. Or so it would seem from the outside.
After eleven years of continuously hosting the same show on radio is no joke and Bola Ray needs to be commended not only for the longevity but also for maintaining a high standard on the show that has kept his listeners and brought in younger ones as well.
During his time many have come and gone on other stations, there have been stiff competition from the likes of John Germain, Jessica, Sammy Forson, Kwame Farkye, Giles Bossman, Abeiku Santana, Fiifi Banson, Ekow Puncho, Okyeame Qouphy, Mikki Osei-Berko and many others.
Sometime when Live FM was being put together it was an open fact that Bola Ray was involved heavily and that just after his tenth anniversary at Joy FM he would leave to join the new station. Talks broke down and he stayed at Joy FM. This time, it seems all is set for the man described by City People as Ghana’s Biggest Showbiz Executive would move on.
It remains to be known if Kwame Sakyiamah or Lexis Bill, the man currently sitting in for him will continue to present the show or they will shop around for a replacement. Time will tell.