Today marks exactly two years since Starr FM went on air. It would mark the new beginning of a new media group that was poised to make a mark on the landscape in Accra, Ghana and beyond.
I caught up with Bola Ray last Tuesday at the plush Platinum House where EIB’s corporate office is located to confer with him about what the journey has been like for him and his team and whether he feels that they are on the right course from where they set off.
“It has been an awesome journey,” he said. “We came in not just to add to the numbers but to deliver compelling content and so far, we have done all the things needed to deliver relevant and compelling content, deliver superior audience share and to give maximum value to our stakeholders. So far we are on track.”
He said, for example, that with regards to audience share for Starr FM they had set themselves a target of at least 10 per cent by third year of operating.
“As we speak now, all the researches on audience share show that we are earning 6 per cent and so for us, it tells us that we are doing something good and that we are on track to attain the target we set from the beginning.”
When asked about what the biggest challenge has been during this two years journey, Bola said it was how to ensure that Starr FM at the beginning and subsequently the other media platforms they added to the group would stay relevant.
“As you know, there are more than 40 radio stations in Accra and to be able to stay relevant has been our biggest challenge.
Every day, we set ourselves the task of being innovative in all we do to ensure that we would stay relevant.
There are many stations and the audience have different choices and so staying relevant becomes the biggest challenge both for me and the entire team, especially in the category (high LSM) in which we operate.”
Bola Ray said what has kept him and the team at EIB going has been the drive to ensure that they achieve the vision for which the business was set up.
“I believe that we are a work in progress, but far away from the ultimate vision. I always tell the team that we have only been able to achieve 10 per cent of what we have set ourselves to achieve and so we all need to continue to work hard.”
He said they will not be stopped by space, geography or time to ensure that the big vision of making EIB a global company is attained. “Our vision is with a global perspective: where we need to have affiliates we will, where we need to have physical presence we will, it doesn’t matter if it is in London, South Africa, Kenya, China or anywhere in the world,” Bola Ray stressed.
He added that the ethos of the group is not to only make their brand and business offering known, but that they would ensure that through their efforts they will build a good image for Ghana and Africa. “We are doing this not only for ourselves, but also for our country and our continent.”
EIB started this journey two years ago with Starr FM, but through acquisitions and other strategic efforts has added a few more media organisations to the group. They include Live FM, Kasapa FM, Ultimate Radio, Agoo FM, Abusua FM, Empire FM; GhOne TV, Agoo TV; Daily Heritage Newspaper; starrfmonline, kasapafmonline, livefmonline and ultimatefmonline.
The next are two more stations to commence transmission in Cape Coast and Tamale soon.
Bola Ray thinks those who hold the view that EIB is too big are getting it wrong. “I have heard people say that we are too big and that we will fail, some have said it not because they want us to, but they do out of genuine concern.
I have had friends who have mentioned that to me as well. But my answer is that why not? If you believe you want to make an impact on society and you have the means and the team to effect it why don’t you do it?”
He said EIB was set up to affect society and if setting up as many stations would help to achieve that they would.
“There are opportunities to be exploited and we shall exploit them to add our quota to social change.”
He mentioned that EIB currently employs 412 people and he believes that paying salaries for this number of people has a multiplying effect on the society.
“We are not just here to add to numbers, we are in to make a difference,” Bola Ray emphasised.
Bola Ray was for two years the host of the afternoon to late afternoon show known as Top City Jam on Top Radio, he went on to take over from Gabby Adjetey as the host of Drive Time on Joy FM for eleven years and after two years of pioneering and hosting the Starr Drive on Starr FM, he thinks it’s time to part ways with late afternoon radio.
“Take it from me, this is the last time I am hosting the drive. It is not the end of me and radio show hosting, but the end with the drive,” he insisted.
He believes Giovani and Anita are capable of handling the show and he has no doubt at all that they will excel.
He, however, will continue to present the interview show on Wednesday evenings known as Starr Chat.
When asked if he has regretted this move Bola Ray laughed and said “No! If you wake me up from my sleep and ask me I will tell you that I will do it again if given the chance. This is what I want to do and there are no regrets at all.”
On what legacy he would like his EIB to be known for, he said excellence was all they seek to give the industry.
“We should be noted for being the best, excellence in what we do and churning out what people are interested in. We shall endeavour to stay focused to ensure that we deliver our best.”
“We have a business that can give full service communication to brands, including outdoor broadcast and product launches. We hope many more businesses will take advantage of the one-stop solution we offer,” he pitched!