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How Ghana switched to colour TV in 1985 with Japanese grant

Prof Karikari Morning Prof Karikari, a former GBC DG spoke of the transition on Citi TV

Sun, 1 Aug 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

• Ghana started coloured TV transmission in 1985

• Funding for the transition was secured via a Japanese grant

• A former GBC DG spoke about the conditions that led to this feat


Ghana’s transition from black and white to colour television took place some 36 years ago under the military regime led by Jerry John Rawlings.

According to one man who was at the center of the action in the lead up to this transition, the national broadcaster at the time – The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GBC – was suffering chronic constraints at the time of the transition.

Prof Kwame Karikari, a former GBC Director-General, told host of Citi TV’s ‘Footprints’ show that it took a Japanese grant of three million dollars to help effect the transition.

He noted that being at GBC in the heady days of the revolution was difficult in part but also exciting but resource constraints also meant that drastic decisions needed to be taken.

“Being in GBC in those period were very difficult and very exciting. As DG, the biggest problems were the state of the facilities of GBC. When I went there, the cameras were not functioning, there was only one studio camera and it was all taped up, it wasn’t very good.

“And we were still black and white, because of the facilities, GBC was still transmitting television (for) … about six or so hours a day but because of the system, we had to even still cut it down further to three hours. It was terrible but the radio was still going on,” he added.

He continued about how he contacted the then secretary of information who led him to Jerry John Rawlings, leader of the Provisional National Defense Council, PNDC, to lay before him GBC’s challenges.

“I worked hard, I spoke to the then secretary of information, the late Ato Austin, we went to Rawlings and said TV is important but we can’t continue. If we force, the station could close down, so we should reduce it to three hours.

“And then I worked hard and got the Japanese to give us a grant of 3 million to refix the TV and introduce colour television at the time. At the time I was leaving, the contract was on, when I left in 84, by 1985 or so, they introduced this thing,” said.

Records indicate that Ghana started with coloured transmission in 1985 during the Rawlings era. Later when Rawlings transitioned after 1992 into a democrat, private media will thrive into the big industry that it is today.

Professor Karikari, who is a lifelong academician, also spoke variously about how GBC had become one barrack with heavy military deployment because the understanding at the time was that any successful coup would need the plotters to take over Burma Camp and GBC.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com