The Rise and Rise of Komla Dumor – by Francis Doku

*In honour of Komla Dumor, who passed away yesterday 18 January, 2014, aged 41, I reproduce an article by my friend Francis Doku. KD inspired many of us. RIP, KD. We will miss you.
By Francis Doku (published 7 April 2011)
KOMLA DUMOR has had a very wonderful career in broadcasting and that has culminated in him being nominated last week at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2011 as Speech Broadcaster of the Year. Before I tell you about this award though let me tell you about how the man we used to call The Boss Player has managed to reach the summit of his career with such a flash.
There are but a few people who choose a career and end up experiencing as much success with it as Komla Dumor has since entering broadcasting over a decade ago. Dumor, you would know, has been working with the BBC for a while now since leaving Joy FM and just recently he was asked by the global broadcaster to step in to host the morning news on the World Service called BBC World News.
Now you have to understand the importance the Beep places on that news programme to know what this would mean to a broadcaster, any broadcaster at all let alone one who started his career as a traffic reporter on a smoky “shamiogbo” from the streets of Accra. Simply put, it is a television show that many a broadcaster will kill to have (but then people will kill to have anything, this column inclusive).
Before this Komla Dumor had been presenting the World Today in the morning on radio either together or rotating with the likes of Pascale Harter (I have an obsession with this woman’s voice so much that I wish she presents the news every day), Piers Edward and others.
Again, this programme is the World Service’s leading radio news programme that reaches audiences all over the world and one that many a broadcaster would love to take a hefty bite of. Because his appearance on television is on weekly rotational basis he still comes around to present this show.
While doing this show earlier, the BBC designed a programme that looked at the economic and business development trend that was taking place in Africa and guess who was chosen to travel across different countries on the continent to talk to the people who are at the fore front of redesigning the business landscape of the continent and to present this programme, Komla Dumor of course! He has been the face of BBC Africa Business Report.
Before all these he had been hired to work at the Beep as a producer and presenter at the Africa section and he had that wonderful opportunity of presenting Africa’s biggest breakfast show as host of Network Africa. He had finally gotten to where the likes of Ben Dotsei Malor, Bola Olufunwaa (Musuro), Hilton Files, Joseph Warungu and others (I actually grew up listening to these people every day at dawn) had been and that it itself was no mean achievement.
Komla said he once told Ben Dotsei Malor that he wanted to be where he was one day and the ever so humble broadcaster, who now works for the United Nations Radio, replied that he should aim higher than that. Now as they say in the Bosch advert “that’s good advice” as it turned out to be a self fulfilling prophesy – Network Africa served as the launch pad for greater things at the BBC.
Komla has been called upon to take up specific assignments for the BBC over the period that he has been working with the British public broadcaster. During the Ghana @50 celebrations he was here to do a whole lot of reporting on things known and hitherto unknown to the global audience of the BBC, he was in South Africa to cover the world cup for his employer, he was in the United States to cover the mid-term elections, he was on his way to cover the Nigerian elections last week when it was called off, among other high profile assignments.
Before all these grandiose global journalism work, Komla Dumor had been working in a small studio belonging to a popular radio station in Accra as the presenter of their morning show. It was here at Joy FM that he cut his teeth in broadcasting and it was also here that he gained the necessary experience that would come handy when the opportunity came to move shop to the Bush House in London.
The broadcasting profile of Dumor cannot be completed without reference to one of the biggest controversies the Ghana Journalist Association has had to deal with. As it does every year the GJA decided to hold its annual awards to honour journalism professionals and it is said that the award for the Journalist of the Year fell on Kwaku Sakyi Addo.
However, the story goes, when it was communicated to him Sakyi Addo declined it on the grounds that he had won that award a couple of times and therefore thought that someone else should have it. There were two people who could have it then Nanabanyin Dadson and Komla Dumor and as you may know the latter was chosen because the former doesn’t do “serious journalism”, whatever that meant.
Hell broke loose when Dumor was announced as the winner. Some members of the GJA disagreed with his choice on the grounds that he was not a journalist in the true sense of the word because he was never at the Ghana Institute of Journalism nor was he at the School of Communications Studies…choo!
Does that mean the BBC is made up of mad men and women who would pick someone without a diploma or degree in journalism and give him their top notch programmes to host and send him around the globe to cover the juiciest stories? No they are not mad; that just makes nonsense the infantile argument that was raised vociferously at the time.
Last week the bald headed broadcaster was nominated together with Anne Diamond (BBC Radio Berkshire), Jeremy Vine (BBC Radio 2), Liz Green (BBC Radio Leeds) and Victoria Derbyshire (BBC Radio 5 Live) and if all goes well he could be named as the Speech Broadcaster of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in the United Kingdom.
Now that’s a big one and I pray he picks the award for himself and for this country but even if he doesn’t we know The Boss Player has paid his dues and it is my hope and prayer that he rises way above this stage to put the country up there.




5 Responses to The Rise and Rise of Komla Dumor – by Francis Doku

  1. Winnifred Phakade Ndamse says:

    May he rest in peace. he lived well

  2. Indeed Ghana has lost a media jewel. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

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