Kwame Nkrumah Tikese, one of the most celebrated morning radio hosts with a huge audience in the country, has charted a path worth studying.
He took a risky gamble to start a radio morning show that would not have a slot for panel members. This was at a time using panel discussants as part of morning radio was the order of the day and the standard practice across board.
For close to ten years, his ‘Ade Akye Abia’ morning show on Okay 101.7FM has been successful although it has no panel of discussants. The show has had a cult-like loyalty among its ever growing listeners and the station has maintained its ranking among the top three most listened to radio stations in the country.
Tikese has a striking command of the Akan language, his main language of communication on ‘Ade Akye Abia’ and he is generally reputed as ‘The Owner of Words’ for his extensive vocabulary and ability to say the same thing in different tones or style of speech.
Not many of Tikese’s listeners are aware he is a music composer, keyboardist and piano instructor.
THE NEW PUBLSHER caught up with Tikese to unveil his life outside the studio and the story of his climb to the top.
Over the last twenty years, Tikese has been in the media space starting first as a reporter, a news anchor, a presenter and a management member. He started in Kumasi with Otec FM as a part-time presenter, later moved to GBC, then moved to Fox FM, then to Kess Radio, then to Hello FM ; a subsidiary of the Despite Media Group and finally to Okay FM.
“It was accidental that I ended up a broadcast journalist accidentally. Apart from the radio, I’m known as a musicologist, a composer, a marketer and others. I would have channeled my energy at any of those avenues but I will say, radio took majority of the passion.
“I found myself in the political arena as a result of an exodus of presenters at then at Fox FM. Due to that, the owner contacted me to host the political programme so I started two political shows, Hard Ball and Hit Back which was aired on Saturdays and Fridays respectively”, he added.
Kwame Nkrumah Tikese said he never envisioned the kind of impact the show ‘Ade Akye Abia’ would have: ”No, I didn’t foresee this success story at all. It was a first of its kind, first ever morning show in Ghana where we don’t use panelists so many were wondering how we can win as well as sustain listeners. But I must say, it has been fruitful with the blessings of God and the help of Fadda Dickson, my able CEO, Osei Kwame Despite among others”.
Though a vast majority of radio audience loves the way Tikese handles the show, others can’t just stand him and have described his style as too loud, abrasive and sometimes insulting.
Tikese agreed he has a very unconventional style but denies he is insulting: “insulting, no but I say it as it is and that is what I learnt in my media training. It’s got to be something good, controversial or sensational when necessary just to get to be recognized”
Touching on some of the challenges he has experienced, Tikese made quite an interesting revelation.
He said: ”Well, life is full of challenges but I would say that media houses are not friendly zones, they are very hostile. As a matter of fact, my father taught me life is a struggle so have to fight it hard to win. Because of that, I noticed it very early that, it is nobody’s duty to make you happy or push you to win.’
”I am lucky I had people who helped me along the way; experience it took them years to acquire, they guided me to grasp them in no time and for free.
”With my success as host of Ade Akye Abia on Okay FM, a lot of credit goes to Fadda and Kwame Sefa Kayi who helped me gain my feet. They tasked me to be an all round player who will be able to survive on my own and that has helped me a lot. Fadda has been able to bring out the best in me” Tikese revealed.
”This programme is also part of the performing arts so you need to be very artistic in rolling it out. Where do I take off and where do I climax, where do I descend by way of the interviews I conduct and the people I deal with?
”I try to fuse into it tradition, culture, politics, health and religion. Someone might not like the politics but may like religion aspect while others may opt for culture and tradition so it’s like a buffer,” he explained.
Having been at this for so many years, the morning is of the opinion standards on radio have fallen. According to him, current journalism has lost the action of being a solution oriented agency.
STANDARDS ARE DOWN
”I used to be very proud being a broadcaster but the standards these days is nothing to write home about. Back then radio presenters were respected. We are doing our best to keep the flag high but the least said about radio the better” he added.
Kwame Nkrumah Tikese was born to Madam Adwoa Addai. His mother has 10 children but three of them have passed on.
He comes from Asante Agona and Mampong. He started his basic education at New Tafo LA, Kumasi Kofrom and Wesley Demonstration, continued at Osei Kyeretwie Secondary(Okess), then to Kumasi Technical University, where he got an HND in Marketing.
He left for the Australia Institute of Business where he had a degree, Post Graduate and MBA.
For those who would want to pursue a career in the media, Kwame had some advice.
”I will tell young ones to learn, whether positive or negative, there’s always a learning stand out of anything. Aside the passion to do journalism, find the specific area you good in doing for easy sustainability and betterment. Also seek God, without Him, just one storm in this industry and you are gone” he said.
Kwame further disclosed to THE NEW PUBLISHER, he is far from done. According to him, he will be embarking on more charitable works whiles he also develops and positions himself for bigger things like establishing a media school to train persons among other things.
”I’m extremely grateful to them. I know I have loyal listeners who have followed me for over twenty years. It is because of them that I am here. Without them, I couldn’t have come this far, God richly bless you all.” he concluded.