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Radio in Accra: A confluence of National and Traditional Representations.
Unformatted Document Text:  Radio in Accra 14 The use of local languages on radio is not new to Ghana. The Ghanaian Government used local languages in the programming of community radio, during the period of state monopoly of media. The point of departure is that GBC approached broadcasting without reflecting the totality of the traditional culture; it some how played down ethnic culture, but the private radio’s use of local languages presented content in a culturally significant manner. Thus, the use of Akan in private radio programs in the Accra area is considered appropriate for programming because it brought in the audience and facilitated better communication. Akan’s success in private radio practice is the result of the confluence of cultural forces negotiating an identity, which was best, articulated with Akan symbols images and other cultural forms. There is the continuous search for the right medium of communication in the mass media in Ghana. Language use has become very important because of concerns about effective communication and participation. The search for the right forms of representation is embedded in the search for Ghanaian national identity. Hence, the adoption of Akan forms of expression should not be perceived as a mere appropriation of an ethnic culture to represent the national identity and culture. It should be seen as an instrumentalist approach by radio stations to build coalitions among Ghanaians as a way of projecting Ghanaian identity in order to undermine all other cultural forms that are not Ghanaian. Critical theorists (Kincheleon & McLaren, 2002) claim that instrumental or technical rationality is more interested in the method and efficiency than in purpose. It delimits its questions to “how to” instead of “why should” (p. 282). It is evident that in the attempt to ensure efficiency, the radio stations which use Akan in Accra developed new ways of programming as an approach for better communication and audience attraction and retention. Efficient communications and audience attraction far outstripped any other considerations.

Authors: Boateng, Kwasi.
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Radio in Accra 14
The use of local languages on radio is not new to Ghana. The Ghanaian Government
used local languages in the programming of community radio, during the period of state
monopoly of media. The point of departure is that GBC approached broadcasting without
reflecting the totality of the traditional culture; it some how played down ethnic culture, but the
private radio’s use of local languages presented content in a culturally significant manner. Thus,
the use of Akan in private radio programs in the Accra area is considered appropriate for
programming because it brought in the audience and facilitated better communication. Akan’s
success in private radio practice is the result of the confluence of cultural forces negotiating an
identity, which was best, articulated with Akan symbols images and other cultural forms.
There is the continuous search for the right medium of communication in the mass media
in Ghana. Language use has become very important because of concerns about effective
communication and participation. The search for the right forms of representation is embedded in
the search for Ghanaian national identity. Hence, the adoption of Akan forms of expression
should not be perceived as a mere appropriation of an ethnic culture to represent the national
identity and culture. It should be seen as an instrumentalist approach by radio stations to build
coalitions among Ghanaians as a way of projecting Ghanaian identity in order to undermine all
other cultural forms that are not Ghanaian. Critical theorists (Kincheleon & McLaren, 2002)
claim that instrumental or technical rationality is more interested in the method and efficiency
than in purpose. It delimits its questions to “how to” instead of “why should” (p. 282). It is
evident that in the attempt to ensure efficiency, the radio stations which use Akan in Accra
developed new ways of programming as an approach for better communication and audience
attraction and retention. Efficient communications and audience attraction far outstripped any
other considerations.


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