Back in the day Ghana had only one channel- Ghana Television Network (GTV).
Established in 1965 and managed by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC)
Like anything new Ghanaians loved the network and the fact that it was the nation’s made them cherish it all the more.
As the years went by private stations sprung up, adding variety and providing consumer sovereignty along with the added advantage of competition which meant quality services for the people.
The state channel could rub shoulders and claim it was the best with its unparalleled reach to the hinterlands.
THE NATION’S HEARTBEAT, the slogan then (now PULSE OF THE NATION) held true as every Ghanaian home almost always left the dial on the network. GTV could boast of the highest rating as its broad range of educative and fun programmes captivated its audience and held them glued to their seats.
Programs like by the fireside, Kiddafest, fun world, sports highlight, Agoroɔ, and the Talking Point (every child loathed it whiles the political adults loved it to bits).
Also the sole privilege of having the means to broadcast live the activities the nation participated in on the international stage only strengthened its position.
Yep, believe it or not GTV use to be the BOMB back then, 90’s kidz would testify.
Along the line the private networks grew and beefed up, catching up with the state’s channel. These private networks found new and exciting programs to televise cranking up the pressure.
For some strange reason GTV either ignored or missed the warning signs and like most of our state owned corporations failed to evolve to stay with the pack let alone be ahead.
Over the years, we have witnessed a surge in the number of television networks in Ghana, not to talk about the comfort found in cable networks both within and foreign. One would have thought the state TV would restructure and try wake from its slumber rather what we see is a hulking antithesis. It has slowly and steadily declined in quality and gone stale.
No creativity or variety whatsoever to boost it’s performance. It’s really no surprise that when you look to the skies you see satellite dishes attached to the rooftops of many homes.
Recently, a proposition by the state network requiring citizens to pay a fee as TV licence had the citizens in uproar subjecting the network to ridicule, bearing the brunt of cheeky and satirical remarks, as the general feeling was the network was undeserving of charging for the low quality service.
A quick glance through the program line up affirms the stance of the citizenry.
It goes something like this, you have the ritual breakfast newspaper review, followed by a litany of African movies all through to midday where we are served with the news. Afterwards, we are fed with various substandard music videos, some few minutes for the kids (nowhere cool as the cartoon network we grew with), then more African movies, the evening news, then the peak time with a soap opera (thankfully no pre & post show analysis), more African movies to sign off with (cos we just can’t get enough). Wash, rinse and repeat till Saturday and Sunday where you have some preaching thrown into the mix.
What happened to the fun and educative programs?
Back then we used to see entrepreneurial shows on the tele like Hoff Knoff.
We could do with more such programs especially within these trying times of the economy, when people are being laid off, companies downsizing because they can no longer sustain such overheads.
Graduates are wrongly channeling their energy forming unnecessary
movements- Unemployed Graduates Association after fruitless searches for jobs.
The media is a very powerful tool which must never be underestimated. How we wield this great mechanism could go a long way to make or break this country.
There are a lot of brilliant programs out there like Shark Tank or its Canadian/British equivalent Dragons Den, The Apprentice or even good local programs which could stir up and spark the entrepreneurial spirits within the populace to do and start something for themselves instead of slouching in their sofas glued to time wasting movies while waiting on a government already struggling to keep its head above water to come to their rescue.
Dead dreams would be revitalised, passions rekindled, pushing people to bring the entrepreneurs within them. We would definitely see an increase in the creation of jobs.
After all most business and empires are berthed in times of hardships and adversity.
Ghana television has a role to play, and is falling short in that regard. Ghana television has been the PAUSE of the nation for far too long and needs some shots to quicken it’s pulse, a new lease of life.