I was just minding my business somewhere last Wednesday when I received a call from London. Indeed, it was Voice of Africa Radio‘s Project Manager, Space Clottey.
After the usual question & answer session, he broke the news: “Do you know something? Voice of Africa Radio has got the FM licence!” I was like, WAOH!
I happen to have been handling (design, development & maintenance) Voice of Africa Radio’s website since April 2004 and couldn’t help being excited at the news.
You might wonder, “Why the excitement?” I’d simply answer: “Why not?”
In an article released by the station after the announcement,
“The station was launched to act as a true Pan-African voice for the African community, who until that point didnâ€™t have a service solely for them. The ethos behind the station is very similar to those often-lamented Reithian values of the BBC â€“ to inspire, educate and inform. Listeners to the station who are expecting to hear wall-to-wall African music would be very disappointed because Voice of Africa Radio has a strong speech commitment, providing phone-in discussion programmes for local residents to discuss issues affecting the African community both within London and internationally. Programmes are broadcast in a range of African languages as well as English, French and Portuguese.
The Voice of Africa Radio studios also play host to visiting local councillors, MPs, and other dignitaries who regularly take part in the discussion programmes, answering questions and discussing both local and international agendas set by listeners. This is one of the reasons that the station has a strict dress code â€“ while all staff are volunteers, they are expected to dress smartly at all times. As Space explained, many of the local MPs, Councillors and Pastors etc simply drop in from time to time and so staff are expected to be ready for any eventuality! In fact, such is the stationâ€™s commitment to local governmental issues, that whilst I was there I jokingly asked whether Tony Blair had ever paid a visit â€“ Space played me back a message on the station answer phone from Mr Blairâ€™s office apologizing that at that time he wouldnâ€™t be able to visit but the request had been noted. No wonder the stationâ€™s motto is â€œit always seems impossible until itâ€™s doneâ€
In a nutshell, VOAR is London’s first African radio station. That’s right! It isÂ now official.
What’s more? VOAR needs our support. The press release issued concluded by saying:
VOAR would like to thank everyone connected with the station for their support since we began broadcasting 6 years ago.
Please visit our website: www.voiceofafricaradio.com for more information.
Â On behalf of www.voiceofafricaradio.com and on my own behalf, I wish to thank you sincerely for all your support towards this struggle and will like to appeal for your financial contribution to help us to go on air by 25th May, 2006, on the African Liberation Day.