“I started school at Bible Faith Experimental School, Anyaano-Kumasi but completed my basic education at Rockanje Presbyterian Experimental School, 4 Miles, Tafo-Kumasi, all in the Ashanti Region,” says one of Ghana’s finest radio presenters.
He is stoutly built, dark skinned and a fashionista with an addictive style of fedora-wearing which is almost becoming his trademark. Nonetheless, you may probably not make him out in town with any of these attributes in mind. Trust me! The first day I saw him in person was at the Agape Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sunyani. It was not after he had spoken that I told a friend of mine that “That’s him!”
Born Owusu Amponsah Bobby Manfred and famed in the media circles as simply MC Bobby, he is the kind of broadcaster every serious media house would want to keep any day. His deep baritone voice commands his teeming listeners to stick to their radio sets. He exudes some overwhelming magic!
Back in the Brong Ahafo region, MC Bobby took the media landscape by storm as he succeeded in consolidating the numerous radio stations there into two whenever it was time for the late afternoon show. Indeed, it was his late afternoon show on Sky FM (96.7) dubbed Buzzy Drive and the rest of the other stations.
Whoever has followed the evolution of radio in the Brong Ahafo region would attest that there cannot be a shortlist of 10 all-time best in that industry without mentioning MC Bobby’s name.
In a country where identifying talent in our children is as rare as a hen’s teeth, I am not totally surprised that the broadcaster actually has a background in Accounting. After his secondary education at the then Abuakwa State College, he proceeded to the then Sunyani Polytechnic, now Sunyani Technical University.
In a WhatsApp chat with MC Bobby, I asked why he spent three years at the polytechnic studying HND Accountancy when he was all into broadcasting even as a student.
“That’s how interesting life could be at times,” he told me. “For real, Sunyani Polytechnic was my next stop after secondary school where I pursued HND Accountancy and afterwards, to the Catholic University, at Fiapre, also in the Brong Ahafo Region to pursue BSC in Business Management. Can you imagine?” he said.
Shelving his business laurels of certificates, MC Bobby became a household name in the Brong Ahafo region through the power of radio.
“They used to call me Sunyani Bola Ray. I was that huge and celebrated there. They likened me to Bola Ray probably because of my baritone voice on air and definitely because I was hosting the late afternoon show there and arguably their finest,” he recounts.
Having conquered the Brong Ahafo Region, he decided to make a great decision. He would move to Accra. Here, his aim was to challenge himself even more in the media space.
“I moved to Accra simply because I felt I had outgrown Sunyani’s media space or probably that of the entire region. I needed a bit of competition since I was growing complacent. I love new challenges. I love to be challenged any day. So, I said to myself, ‘Why not try Accra? If people are doing it big there, why can’t I?’”
As Sam Levenson advises that “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going,” the young man poised to be in Accra to make a difference held his vision tightly like a relay button. He kept going. Having settled in Accra eventually, he got himself the opportunity to host the late afternoon show on 3FM (92.7) – a sister station of TV3. He would host a show dubbed Easy Stream from 4-8pm on Mondays-Thursdays and from 4-6pm on Fridays.
MC Bobby is not the usual broadcaster who does the ‘copy and paste’ that dominates our media industry. Is it not so annoying that every television station now has a show of food cooking just because one started it? Are you not worried that from Paga to Axim, almost every television/radio station has the same format of a morning show? And have you not been malnourished by most of the country’s late afternoon shows where the presenter will read or have in-studio actors on a conversation of a grudge between two lovers so listeners call in to discuss such?
I do media monitoring very much. And if I compare even the ‘known names’ of late afternoon presenters in the capital city, I can say without fear of contradiction that MC Bobby is redefining Accra’s late afternoon show.
Working with a well-coordinated content on his show, Easy Stream, such as Poll Mondays, Easy Talk, Smart or Dumb among others, his teeming listeners hardly flick their dial. It is, therefore, not surprising to hear his listeners almost always requesting to meet their rising star in person to know who he really is.
On Sunday, November 25, 2018, MC Bobby acted as a TV host to Ohema, Brong Ahafo Region’s representative for the just ended Ghana’s Most Beautiful [GMB] on TV3.
If you watched the said show, you saw the face behind that voice on 3FM and you would agree his dexterity in broadcasting is exceptionally unmatched. Many have called for MC Bobby to combine radio with television.
Indeed, few years in Accra I am not surprised to see attempts by equally renowned media houses in the capital that want to poach him. As a close friend of MC Bobby, I get the opportunity to see a flood of emails to this effect. Nonetheless, what he keeps telling me is that he will not rush into taking a decision. He still considers himself as studying the Accra terrain despite his enviable track record of his broadcasting prowess.
“The competition here [Accra] is serious and makes me sit up any time I’m on air. I mean I’m still a work in progress but I love what I’m building here. So far, Accra has received me well and I know it will get better with time since consistency counts a lot in our line of work,” he tells me.
When asked his worst moment in his radio journey, MC Bobby said that people so close to him he thought could understood his moving to Accra rather narrowly got him giving up.
“My family and ex-girlfriend didn’t see the logic in my resolve to move to Accra. To them, ‘Who leaves his job, position and reputation to go start all over again somewhere?’ They not seeing the bigger picture I envisaged and that nearly broke me down. This, perhaps, has been the most difficult moment that I have had to battle in my broadcasting career,” he said.
Well, with his past behind him, MC Bobby is soldiering on now in glory and Accra and Ghana can only wait in the next few years ahead to see him ‘explode.’ If you were not the type that listened to radio because of the overdose of junk content, you now have a great broadcaster in the making to listen to. Yes, a broadcaster assisting us distinguish between wheat and chaff!
“May you live as long as you like and have all you like as long as you live. And always thank God for radio,” is MC Bobby’s closing remarks on radio and also my prayer for you for choosing him.
By Solomon Mensah
The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General (TV3/3FM). Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation.