14 Reasons Why I’II Miss Kwaku Sakyi-Addo by Francis Doku
ALL things in the world, including the world itself, would come to an end some day (and if you believe US preacher Harold Camping then that could be this Saturday) but it was very shocking for me to have learnt last week that Kwaku Addo Sakyi-Addo had decided to end his journalism career. It was shocking because I could never have imagined that he would ever take such a decision in my lifetime.
I mean this was the gentleman who many people looked up to when they decided to take up a career in journalism and or broadcasting. Not only that but he had also been seen by some as giving hope to them that the profession of journalism still had credibility.
Most profound and where people really felt his presence and professionalism in their life was when he presented the Front Page and until recently News File both on Joy FM. Over the last fourteen years or so we had him in our homes, cars, offices, campuses and all other places where we could hear him putting questions to his guests.
It appeared from what I heard him saying to Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah last week that the die is cast and the radio studio which for over a decade was his office and playground would not play a part in his life anymore.
The question is why and for what would we miss this broadcast and journalistic juggernaut? After fourteen years on air, I have fourteen reasons why many people, including yours truly have not been happy about this decision by Kwaku Sakyi-Addo (KSA) to take a permanent leave from broadcasting and journalism.
1. Authority: I am yet to see a Ghanaian interviewer who has more authority on his own show, be it on radio or television than KSA. He leaves none of his guests or audience in doubt as to which of them is the one rightfully chosen and paid to run the show.
2. Control: Just as he exudes authority on his programme, KSA also shows all the time that he is the man in control of affairs so long as the programme lasts. He calls you before you speak, he cuts you when you are not answering the question and he controls callers and texters like none other.
3. Confidence: Because he shows authority and lets everybody know who is in control of issues on the programme he comes across to his guests and audience as very confident in what he does. Consequently, the guests have confidence in his handling of the interview and his audience reposed confidence in him of asking the right questions. You don’t get that from a lot of other interviewers.
4. Suffers No Fools: There are several radio presenters who cut off people who make unnecessary allegations, but KSA has made an art of that. He suffers no tomfoolery and make it known to callers and texters that they cannot use his platform to malign other people without basis and if they say he is arrogant he advices them to report him to the station.
5. Logical: Many interviewers hereabout dance around with their questioning line and hardly link new questions with previously answered ones. If there is one interviewer who creates a logical linkage with previous questions and forces his guests to answer them it must be KSA.
6. Depth: Interviewing business people and politicians is no mean task and it needs that the interviewer has enough depth to understand the issue at stake in order to ask sensible and logical questions. KSA showed wonderful and adequate depth to take on anybody who appeared before him.
7. Objective: Everybody, every single person, has their bias towards one person or another or in political terms towards one party or another. I have mine, Afari Djan would have his and KSA would also have his own bias. The good thing is that he is about the one interviewer who shows tremendous amount of objectivity and thus makes sure whatever bias he may have would not show in the questioning of his guests.
8. Professional: KSA treats his topics, guests and audience with utmost professionalism. Anyone who appears on Front Page, News File or on Kwaku One on One knows where they are with the host as he would handle you and the issues in the most professional manner. The audience also knows that he would treat the people and the issues on hand professionally and not as others they know would do it.
9. Trade Mark Throat Clearing: Now this is an art Kwaku alone could do. Interviewers, it seems, are not allowed to clear their throats or even cough when they are in the middle of asking tough question. But not since I knew of his programmes have I listened to or watched any of them that he didn’t clear his throat at a point. He made that into an art and that trade mark throat clearing would be one of the things about KSA that many people would sorely miss.
10. Invincible: KSA has an aura of invincibility around him that was very strong you could cut it with knife. It was as if he was too tough to be beaten by anybody he interviewed on any topic at all. Some, who didn’t get it, said he was “too known” and that he would meet his match one day.
11. Style: His interview style is different. He held no punches, he asked the hard questions. He would normally come straight at the interviewee but when he/she proves difficult he would circle it and come back when he/she least expects it and wham, they are taken off guard!
12. Forgetfulness: Many times Kwaku forgets the phone lines that callers could call to and he fumbles a few times and with help from his producers he is able to establish that and call them out to the audience. He does that in an artful manner.
13. Indispensability: There were many times that when he was away on a journey and could therefore not present the Front Page some of us felt reluctant to listen to whoever was sitting in for him because the Front Page without Kwaku Sakyi Addo was like “koko” without sugar. He came across then as rather indispensable character who no one could sit in for.
14. Respect: In spite of his hard stance against callers and texters for allegations they could not substantiate he showed a lot of respect to his audience (both callers and passive listeners) and shows he appreciates their custom. He also has abundant respect for the people who appear before him to be interviewed and finally he never relents on showing his respect and appreciation to the teams that put his shows together.
There could be more reasons why KSA would be sorely missed but the significance of sharing just fourteen is to show how in the last fourteen years he has built a personal brand that would be very hard to imitate. Some argue that he had to go to give way for others to develop, I say you can never have another Larry King, but you can have is a short change called Piers Morgan.
*Written in May 2011 when the Ace Media man took the bow.