Entertainment of 2014-02-14

Jessica is the new diva on drive

Jessica Opare-Saforo, the swashbuckling diva of the famous Brunch in the Citi, Sister Sister and formerly on Sex in the Citi is your new Diva on Drive!

It is a perceptive observation that the drive time show on Citi FM has not been the best in the city for a long time now. Since Sammy Forson departed the station to YFM it has been very difficult to get a good replacement.

Several people have tried, including a former presenter of the station who went to XFM before returning in the person of Kat who partnered Spikey to drive the city home for a while. The show was going nowhere and then Kat left to her home country of South Africa and then Spikey handed over to Nii Kpakpo Thompson who also left late last year.

The next presenter of the show after Thompson was Osei Kwame or Mr. O.K. as he likes to be called and I mentioned on more than two occasions elsewhere that he was not cut for the drive and the competitive nature thereof. I knew it would be only a matter of time before he was replaced.

However, the nature of the replacement came as a mighty surprise for me when I saw a tweet about two weeks ago that the stations Programmes Manager and host of Brunch in the Citi Jessica Opare-Saforo would be the new host of the show.

Don’t get me wrong. Jessica is not new to the late afternoon show. She cut her ‘drive’ teeth many years ago at Choice FM when the Randy Abbey led administration tasked to rebrand the station put her on the then Highway 101 show. She was the only female then and she didn’t do badly too.

Indeed when she traversed from Roman Ridge to Adabraka to take up the role at Citi FM, it was as host of the drive because Jon Germain had just left. Somehow Odylia Ofori, the host of the brunch time show could not match the strength of Doreen Andoh (or so it seemed at the time) and so was taken off and replaced with Jessica.

For eight odd years all we have known is that Citi FM’s brunch time show host was Jessica and she alone knew how to present the show to get the city listening to her presentation, music selection, titbits and all the other things that come with hosting a good urban midmorning show.

Since last week Monday Jessica Opare Saforo has taken over hosting of the late afternoon show, the Traffic Avenue from Osei Kwame and it seems, she will be doing it for the foreseeable future. I have observed some changes in the programming content of the show with relationship issues appearing (this girl loves relationship matters) and the music looks different too plus sports flash to add to the entertainment news segment.

The question is this: can she deliver on the drive as she did on the brunch? Does she have the cojones or whatever a lady needs to have to play ballsy with the bigger guns on other stations she will be competing with?

Forget that she has done it before, no, remember that she has done it before, but note that the terrain is not what it used to be eight years ago and there is therefore the need to get used to the new realities of the drive. As her former Vibe FM compatriot Jeremy is likely to say, the drive is not for the faint hearted. It’s tough out there, but we shall surely see how this Diva on Drive fares on her new beat.

Whatever view you have don’t forget that Jessica is the reigning Best Female Radio Presenter at the RTP Awards and she didn’t get that by a fluke. Her task will be to use her award winning skills on Brunch in the Citi to put some excitement into Traffic Avenue which airs from 2pm to 5:30pm on weekdays.

The surprise for me again was that Jessica has been replaced on the brunch by the former host of the Traffic Avenue, Osei Kwame. I don’t know how Kwame will do it but this is another pressure cooker he has been thrown into. It is a tough task taking on Doreen, Kwame Farkye, Kofi Kum Bilson, Delay and all the top “shattas” of midmorning radio in Accra.

Was this the best swap? Or rather was this swap necessary? Why didn’t they keep Jessica on the brunch and find a replacement for Kwame? Or why didn’t they get another person to replace Jessica? Will this swap work? These are some of the questions that the future will answer. As for me, I shall continue to watch and listen to see how things go.