The manager of a local radio station is taking part in DW Akademie's long-term project "Our Radio!". He's interested in boosting the station's financial viability and has already begun charting improvements.
Nana Yaw Ayensu is the station manager of Nkwa FM, a radio broadcaster owned by a Christian organization based in Accra. Nkwa means "life" and is one of nine partner stations taking part in the two-year media development project, "Our Radio!". The project has been jointly developed by DW Akademie, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA). It supports the stations by providing audience research, journalism and management training and in-house consulting. There are also plans to introduce program sharing.
Nkwa FM serves Assin Fosu, a Ghanaian town of 20,000. What is the greatest challenge you face as a media producer?
Because we're an independent radio station it's hard for us to gain access to financial resources such as advertising revenue or bank loans. There are many private stations in Ghana but only a few are really visible and commercially successful. Many of the stations are also owned by politicians or business people who pocket the revenue instead of investing it in good programming. Radio stations can't get ahead that way.
Nkwa FM has been taking part in "Our Radio!" for a year now. What have been the benefits so far?
There have been a lot of eye-opening experiences for the staff. And at the end of last year a DW Akademie recording engineer and a management consultant worked with us. The sound quality is now great, and the management consulting has helped us attract new clients and increase our revenue. In a recent workshop we further developed a business plan that was based on one we had previously written.
Do European business models and practices work well in Ghana?
We already had a good sense of what a business plan could look like, and you need one if you want to start up a radio station in Ghana. But most places hire a consultant to write one and in exchange you get a thick document which you can't understand but it does the job – it enables you to get the license. Now that we've had the training, we can write our own business plan that really fits the station and appeals to the target group when we're applying for funding, for instance, or for technical equipment.
The business plan includes the station's goals for the future. Where do you see Nkwa FM a few years from now?
We started the station three years ago and it's now number one in Assin Fosu. In the mid-term we'd like to widen our reach to increase advertising revenue. But first we need money to invest in technical equipment, and the business plan will help us secure that funding.