The Remote Roots of Radford FMThe remote roots of RADFORD FM are traceable to the 1992 constitution’s guarantee of the right to freedom of speech and independence of the media. Liberalization of airwaves in the country is another precipitator root.Before 1994 broadcasting in Ghana was a state monopoly and only Ghana Broadcasting corporation (GBC) was mandated to do so as a public system. In 1994 however, Radio EYE, a private commercial Radio Station broke that monopoly by taking to the airwaves without authorization.This defiance got it entangled in a legal battle with state authorities. The incident awakened liberal thinkers to question the sense in state monopoly of the airwaves when evidently the air is free gift from Nature for all living things. Eventually, political authorities yielded to pressure and accepted assigning radio frequencies for independent use. The responsibility of frequency allocation was charged on Ghana Frequency Registration and control Board (GFRCB) which was accordingly constituted in 1977. The Board first called for applications for setting up private broadcasting stations independent of GBC, in 1995. Consequently the first frequencies were issued to ten Commercial Radio Stations in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi in July 1995.In May 1996, ten other frequencies were granted to rural areas including three Community Radio Services this time. In the same year, the National Communication Authority (NCA) was set up by Government and mandated to take over the function s of Ghana Frequency Registration and Control Board (GFRCB). The latter continued to favour Private Commercial Radio Stations while neglecting community Radio, in frequency allocation. To date, while commercial stations have mushroomed in the hundreds, notable community Radio Stations number only seven.The Sissala Community should therefore count itself luck to have RADFORD FM Station as one of the few. Like all good landmarks however, it was not achieved without ardent sweat.
The Historical Background of Radford FM It is the Sissala Youth Network, an Accra-based youth association that first conceived and nurtured the dream of seeking a Community Radio to bridge the scattered Sissala population in Sissala East, Sissala West, Lambusie District and WA East. After intensive deliberations, the Network approached Plans Country Director in the year 2005 with a proposal for help. Their community profile highlighted the plight of the people as wallowing in endemic poverty, as being largely non literate, and above all, information-starved.The people being mostly subsistence farmers, the youth saw radio as the best tool that could effectively disseminate messages on modern farming practices to help them improve their small-holdings for better living standards. Miidan Education Trust, a local children right organisation also played a tremendous role in advocating for the commitment of Plan Ghana to the project. This was against the back ground of the facility been necessary for the advancement of the rights of children in the area of operation. Moved by empathy to the plight of the communities, the then country Director of Plan, Mr. Amadou Bucoum, visited then Upper West Regional Minister, Mr. Ambrose Dery and indicated Plans resolve to grant the Sissala Youth Networks earnest request for a committed itself by constructing the studios and offices for the station.Having received the Regional Ministers nod and blessing, Plan commissioned one Professor Soule Issahaque from the Netherland to conduct feasibility studies on the project. His work was later continued by Professor Kwame Karikari of the Media Foundation of West Africa.Finding the project feasible and a truly felt-need that could turn the generally low living standards of the people of the area around, Professor Karikari proceeded to design a model Community Radio Structure. The structure comprises a General Assembly of all identifiable groups in the Sissala communities, a Board of Directors, Station Management, and a Programmes Advisory Committee in that hierarchy.The community on its part also mobilized itself and formed the General Assembly as recommended by the feasibility report, from which the Board of Trustees was appointed to lead the process. Upon assuming office the Board of Trustees managed to acquire a license from the National Communications Authority. What is now needed is the concerted effort of all stakeholders in the drive, to keep the station buoyant. The clarion call for hands on Board leaves no one out.The District Assemblies, the communities, Decentralizations, Associations, Groups, as well as individual actors need to put shoulders to the wheel to keep RADFORD FM on even keel. Otherwise, the station at this stage of infancy cannot thrive as no infant was ever born walking.The station as a matter of urgency realizes the fact that the station is a non-profit making one and thus, expects all to take concrete plans far ahead of time towards ensuring sustainable and continues broadcasting, in view of this, the management intends to mobilize one hundred individuals to donate GHC 10.00 per year starting 2009, the two Sissala East and West Districts would be expected to contribute from the common fund, proposals shall be sent partner organizations and philanthropic bodies not forgetting of mobilizing material and human support from the numerous communities and organize annual dinner dance to raise funds, furthermore some programmes would be structured in such a way as to attract sponsorships from NGOs, government departments and religious organisation. Posterity will not forgive our generation if we allow this gracious gift to sink.