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Diasporia News of Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Founder of the first Ghanaian Radio Station in the diaspora passes on

The Founder of the first Ghanaian Radio Station in the diaspora,
SAMMY KAY, has passed on

The brain behind the first ever Ghanaian radio station in the diaspora, Mr. Samuel Enin, popularly known as Sammy Kay, has been called to rest in London.

The late Sammy Kay is the pivot and the pioneer of Ghanaian radio broadcasting in the diaspora.

An ardent lover of music, he set up the Black Star Records in north London in the late 1980s where recorded Ghanaian and Caribbean music were sold. He also organised musical concerts and other events to entertain the Ghanaian community in the UK in general and London in particular.

Sammy Kay had a very fruitful relationship with a Caribbean radio station based in London called the WBNK where he was a Presenter for over a decade. He developed the passion for radio and decided to establish his own radio station.

Known as the Weekend Black Listeners Station (WBLS), Sammy, as affectionately called aimed at using the station, this first of its kinds in any Ghanaian community in the diaspora, to play Ghanaian music apparently to boost the operations of his music records shop.

The station was also used to announce social events in the Ghanaian community but by and large it was all music station with DJs and Presenters such as ‘Okoto’, Captain Morgan, Kwabena Gyasi, among others playing top Ghanaian music to entertain their audience.

The Sunday morning gospel show by Antwi Boasiako was also another hit point that drew much audience. With time the station gained popularity among the Ghanaian and other ethnic minority communities and the audience continued to grow day after day.

WBLS became the real representation of the Ghanaian populace in London at all levels and in all forms including the media, which appears to be the most important factor in ensuring the individual right to information in such a civilized society like that of London.

There appeared at the time, not only a serious language barrier but also cultural as well as social difference that exited between the popular radio stations in the city of London such as LBC, BBC, Capital, among others, and the people of Ghana living in London.

This was because the music, the type of news and information, the style of presentation on these mainstream radio stations were in a way alien to the people of Ghana in London at the time. WBLS was thus the real ‘tool’ to reverse the trend. It provided news about and for the people, music they understand because of language and culture and above all the station was used as the medium of public sphere.

One of the ideas about Public Sphere is about the situation where individual members of the society such as Ghanaians in London gather in places like the churches, funerals group meeting, and other social centers to deliberate on everyday life issues in civil society. The issues could range from politics, sports, economy and religion depending upon the interest of participating members and this was well done on WBLS, Sammy Kay’s initiative.

The station became much more popular when a Sunday afternoon political show known as the ‘Rabbi Show’ hosted by the ‘Chief Rabbi’ was aired. It focused on providing an insight into the political sphere in Ghana and many renowned Ghanaian politicians were interviewed. Some renowned Ghanaian journalists also reported on the program making it a real ‘hot station’.

This was in addition to the Sunday evening news analysis by Uncle Sam and Nana Otuo Acheampong of Ghana Review fame. The late night show for adults hosted by Nana Dokua was an icing on the cake.

Indeed Ghana was brought closer to its nationals in London through the magic of radio made available by Sammy Kay, but all was happening on the weekends and during the early 2000 a morning show was introduced and other programmes during the day followed.

WBLS was no longer a weekend radio station but operated for 24 hours. It later joined the Internet community with thought provoking programmes.

Sammy, will forever be remembered for this indelible legacy not only for the Ghanaian diaspora community but also in the history of broadcasting in Ghana at a time Ghana is marking 80 years in broadcasting.

His sudden death occurred peacefully at home on the 27th of April 2015. He left behind four children. Sammy Kay, a true Ghanaian, an enthusiastic entertainer, ambitious achiever and a lover of many.