Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Sammy Bartels ‘hounded’ out of Citi FM
The bespectacled host of CitiFM’s breakfast show, Samuel Bartels, has left the station and for good. The young, intelligent and sometimes over-probing presenter who was the surprise replacement for Bernard Avle, JIVE learnt decided to rather lose his job than die out of stress.
The young man who honed his broadcasting skills at the University of Ghana based Radio Universe was to many a brilliant sports presenter before taking the big seat on the Citi breakfast show. Though some were apprehensive about his ability to host a show which was adjudged by the BBC as the best in Africa, he did not disappoint his employers. Especially coming to think that over seventy percent of the morning shows are politically driven with few socially oriented segments, it should not be hard for anyone to fit into whatever shoes he is asked to step into.
He may not have had the strong ribs of his predecessor but did not disappoint those who invested their trust in him. He stood between the lines of callers and politicians and came out with his lenses still on. Even on occasions that he appeared to be under the belly of some guests who wanted to take advantage of his body, he never wavered. He stood his ground and kept them in line. He established ownership over the show and that was something commendable.
Honestly, the departure of Bernard Avle was soon forgotten and listeners identified with him; he was their own breakfast baby and people loved him for that. His guests cut across the political lines and all of them went through his hands.
His decision to ‘abandon’ the station and inform his bosses over the weekend, according to his colleagues at Citi only reflects his unhappiness with the kind of political postulations he was made to supervise as a breakfast show host.
As a listener, it appeared to me that he wanted more to discuss social issues, something lighter, and something that made the station the best in the whole of West Africa. Unfortunately, he was not getting that: His employers wanted him to do politics and some kind of politics, always with a skew. They wanted him to moderate a platform where politicians with known colours will come and spew out their own dosage to their supporters who will, in turn, call in and add up to the ignorance. All that made him unhappy.
His departure may worry loads of people especially when he was doing so well but the man clearly has had enough of the everyday politics and the pressure that his bosses put on him and others at the station.
Clearly, Citi FM wants to be like another station in the capital that had a clear political bias and not the same station that won the award for the best breakfast show in West Africa. It reflected a lot of the times in the issues that are pushed on the producers and news casters to discuss and the persons they call. It’s even more evident now in what appears as ‘forced’ comments by Fred Chidi on the newspaper review as he struggles to please his bosses and their inclinations.
With Sammy Bartels unable to cope with the political pressure from the DBD political tradition, he buckled. Some had already taken a clean pair of heels after the elections. Are many more about to flee?
The overall breakfast show in Ghana has never been like it was; everybody has been forced to tow the line of politicians and they are confusing us with their sometimes parochial musings. Even the major platforms that became the treasure for many people have all been polluted and the hosts are doing nothing but chasing politicians for their recycled thoughts on every issue though the very persons who are suffocating under the treacherous politicians of these politicians still live.
We all remember the era when the likes of Bukom Banku, a well known Ghanaian boxer, was the sole guest on the breakfast show on one of the private radio stations and he never disappointed. I still have the clip of that programme and how people called in and congratulated the station for, at least, making them sit on the right side of a hectic day.
The breakfast shows are no more stress relievers though we are often reminded by the presenters to believe so. Even in countries suffering the perils of war, they still find time to laugh and make fun of the everyday issues in their breakfast shows.
Even the BBC recognizes the importance of a stress free radio discussion on the lives of its listeners to the point that not only their domestic stations, but the world service has refined its weekend breakfast shows to reflect today’s trend. Listeners will realize that both the Weekend Network Africa and World Today programmes are more pleasing to the ears of listeners.
The Saturday edition of Weekend Network has a segment called ‘the Resident President.’ It involves two characters who transform serious issues into one that listeners can simply sit back and relax to. Our own president John Mills has been at the receiving end of these two personalities. The World Today also has a segment called ‘Radio Gold,’ a compilation of serious but funny clips that are pinned together as a package.
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