Doreen On Her life, Career, 'Payola'
Doreen Wilhelmina Akua Andoh, Joy FM's presenter of Cosmopolitan Mix and Lunch Time Rhythms has condemned disk jockeys and radio presenters who are said to collect payola from musicians. "It is not good," she says. Payola is the illegal practice of payment of money or other gifts by record companies and musicians to presenters to play their music on air to induce listeners. The 'Soul Sister' of Ghanaian radio says. "It is not good. In this part of the world, musicians do not earn much and there is no need for them to give money for their music to be played. If a piece of music is good, it should be able to sell itself. I don’t collect money from musicians." She made these views known to The Spectator in an interview. Arguably the most outstanding female private radio station presenter, Doreen got to Joy FM in 1995 and has since not broken service. In fact, she is the longest serving member of staff of the Multimedia team except the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kwesi Twum. Her loyalty has been well-touted, her diligence well exemplified. Doreen, who originally took radio presentation as a hobby, has gone deep in broadcasting and is currently contemplating producing television talk shows. She wants to tread the path of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. Asked what accounts for her long stay at "Joy FM", Doreen says "commitment is the key. I believe that whatever I get myself into, I must make it work. I take pleasure in ensuring that whatever I do grows I try to work at things to make them better. I apply the same principle to friendship." To the question what could be done by owners of broadcasting stations or the public to ensure quality of presentation, Doreen responds: "The onus lies with owners of radio stations. We must employ people who can do the job well. Media owners ought to be careful not to employ people who want a job as part of a phase in their career with a view to getting other jobs later." She continues: "In radio broadcasting, you are communicating with people, so you must have a good command of both English and some local languages. You must be well-educated to impart the right kind of knowledge.” Doreen feels that a good presenter is not necessarily one who strings words together and bandies them about. "Some presenters use proverbs that make some people excited but the language might not be right for radio. At the end of the day children are listening." Sometimes when you hear people speak Fante on radio, you wonder! It's just street language. People listen to radio to polish the way they speak English. We must make sure the children pick up the right things." Asked whether she was satisfied with the level of professionalism in the field, Doreen replied in the negative, "we are not yet there. We have to put the proper people on our radio stations." On what advice she has for women who consider her as a role model the 'Soul Sister' points out: "Any person who wishes to become a presenter should get all the education he or she can get. In the past, people considered those who became disc jockeys or presenters as people who never completed their education. Education can make you to think on your feet and to act on the spur of the moment. If you are not well-read or not well-educated, it is difficult for you to think on the spot, you should be able to ask the right questions and to speak properly on radio, it is good to have as much education as you can. You need to have a curious mind - that is essential for journalism; you need to know what is happening around you. Doreen says women especially should not look at the work of radio presenters as a "job for men", "Women need to be open-minded. In the past, we have men as pilots, radio presenters, vehicle mechanics and taxi drivers but now women can equally perform such tasks. Today, more women are being educated and I pray for the time when we shall have a woman president in Ghana like Liberia, I am not being sexist, we need to open the mind of our women, they can do it." On how she handles criticisms, Doreen responds, “I like to hear criticisms because it helps me to improve upon my work. It makes me a better person. I want to hear what people see and what people hear to improve upon my work. Criticisms are good. People sometimes call and tell me what they don't like and I take them in good faith. Criticisms help you to become a better person, you learn more and improve upon what you are doing." Doreen says she has enjoyed a very good relationship with her male colleagues over the years. It Is a question of learning from your experienced brothers. You take the good and subtract the bad. It's been a great school of life, I've learnt from others and also teach others." She mentioned some of the people she had learnt a great deal from as Tommy Annan Forson, Gabby Adjetey, Mark Okraku Mantey, Cox Tamakloe and also Mr Kwesi Twum, the Chief Executive Officer of Joy FM. "Mr Twum, gets ideas and calls me to examine them. I give them a try and on many occasions they work very well." Doreen says she is also indebted to Kwaku Sakyi-Addo of Front Page fame from whom she learnt some interviewing skills. "I do respect the intelligence of all my male colleagues and the encouragement they give me." QUES: Are you under any pressure to marry? ANS: Not so much pressure. Sometimes you hear comments from family members. I however believe that God's time is the best. I have seen classmates marry and later divorce. I believe that people must commit the subject of marriage to prayer. I shall seek the face of God for the best time. People must exercise a lot more patience in choosing partners. We need to communicate better in relationships. We need to give a little bit of ourselves and be open-minded when it comes to relationships. My parents have been married for 35 years and are still living together. So people can make it work as they make sacrifices to make relationships work. QUES: You sound religious, do you make time to attend church? ANS: Yes, I worship at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church at Tema. QUES: Any future career interests? ANS: I intend very soon to produce television shows. I shall also produce for others. I'm also planning other businesses that are not media related which I shall not make public at this moment. QUES: Your educational background? ANS: I attended Tema Parent Association School, St. Roses Secondary at Akwatia in the Eastern Region, Holy Child for the Sixth Form and a year's exchange programme in Denmark. I studied Public Relations at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), and took a course in Radio and Television Broadcasting at Columbia School of Broadcasting in the USA for two years. I also studied Events Management at GIJ. QUES: Who are your parents? ANS: My parents are Wilfrid Andoh, a pharmacist and Gladys Andoh, a computer analyst who currently does private business at home. QUES: How do you see the broadcasting industry today? ANS: It is vibrant, radio has come a long way, we can do a lot more to make it better. The competition among radio stations is healthy. I have a lot of respect for those who are doing their very best the professional way. QUES: Your views on Payola? ANS: It is not good in this part of the world. Musicians do not earn much and there is no need for them to give money for their music to be played. If any piece of music is good it should be able to sell itself. I don't expect people to collect money from musicians. QUES: Awards? ANS: Between 1999 to 2004, I received three awards as the Best Presenter at the Radio and TV award ceremonies. I also received two awards for my two radio shows 'Cosmopolitan Mix meant for people at work which is aired between 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon during week days and Lunch Time Rhythms meant for people on break between 12.30 to 2.00 p.m. QUES: Any producer of your programmes? ANS: No, I do not have a producer, I produce and present them myself. QUES: How old are you? ANS: I am in my mid-30s and I think I look good.
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