24 Sep The Rise and Rise of Podcast Culture in Ghana: Interview with Amma Aboagye
If you go back in time to 1995 and tell people that someday, podcasts will overtake traditional radio broadcasting in Ghana, they might not take you seriously. Today, the reality is that podcast has become a “seductive—and sometimes slippery—mode of storytelling.”
For a bit of context, podcasting is not entirely new. According to Wikipedia, the term, Podcast, was coined by The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley in early February 2004 while weaving out an article for The Guardian newspaper. The term is a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcasting.’
Unlike the picture painted by the name with regards to iPod, podcasting is simply a form of “recording and making audio-based ‘episodes’ available over the internet.”
As I type this, there are more than 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes in over 100 languages globally, according to MusicOomph.
In light of that fact, we recently caught up with Amma Aboagye, who just launched the latest addition to a fast-growing podcast culture in Ghana: Inside Out.
Here’s what she told us about Inside Out, the future of podcasting in Ghana, building mutually beneficial collaborations, and more. Enjoy!
Tell us about yourself
I dislike this question, ha! But I also recently had a mentor help me craft a vision statement, so I feel more comfortable providing an answer. I have lived with Africans and Afrodiasporans worldwide, and I am deeply passionate about how we can learn to love ourselves, trust each other, and build generational wealth together. I founded The Afropole as a brokerage that uses communications, merchandise, events, and advisory to facilitate that goal. I love connecting— building, facilitating, brokering. I like dancing… if you have seen my IG profile, you will notice most of the videos I post are of me dancing. It’s a good way to show gratitude, I have found. I have a huge family —seven siblings— and I love bubbling spaces with noise and action. I also greatly appreciate privacy. I love light and air and green. Anytime I am in a space that is absent at least one of these elements, I am underproductive. Altogether, these are the parts I like and of which I am proud. I can also be very flippant; some have said unapproachable. I have also been described as too lenient in my assessment of people on a one on one level. Those are things I would like to change. So that’s a bit about myself.
Why did you create your podcast, Inside Out?
In starting The Afropole, I made it a priority to focus my resources on talent. The majority of spending goes to maintaining high-quality people who add value to my organization. But it’s been not easy. It’s hard to find people who are confident enough to work independently, think critically, and identify opportunities to take the work to the next level. I spoke to people and realized that a lot of us were having this problem. We have spent so much time talking about people starting their own businesses. Still, not enough time talking about building mutual value by helping to innovate within existing businesses. The podcast is meant to highlight the six skills that make a great intrapreneur: someone who is a self-starter and an innovator within an existing business or organization. I believe if we have better intrapreneurs, we could truly make Ghana a bastion of innovation and forward-thinking— because that is what the future depends on. Furthermore, competition in the work and business world will continue to grow. Just consider Ghana’s Free SHS program. While laudable in theory, it will definitely increase the number of SHS grads in the market and sharpen competition before our private sector can catch up. So how do you set yourself apart? You do that by being intrapreneurial. I created the podcast to start that conversation in Africa.
Read: The secrets to intra-Africa trade actually working. Oh, and the not so small role Diasporans and Multinationals are playing by Tucci Goka Ivowi, Deputy CEO & founding member, Ghana Commodity Exchange.
People say the elements that made the podcast revolution inevitable (i.e., they’re cheap to make and easy to distribute) are the exact ones that made them seem the opposite of revolutionary when they first appeared. What do you see as the future of podcasting in Ghana?
That’s the way of the world. In EVERYTHING, the things that make it great are also the things that cripple it. I decided to focus on a micro-pod because I think the future of podcasting is shorter, grounded in offline activity, and thrives from a video. No matter how you slice it, people will also want to see behind the mic and build relationships with the people speaking. That’s the direction we will definitely take in the podcast. We will stick to our 15 min or less format, add short videos, host classes and provide tools and resources to ensure Africans and Afrodiasporans can leverage intrapreneurship to build better businesses, organizations, and governments.
What is your ambition for your podcast?
I hope to build an army of intrapreneurs. People commit to having a vision, making a plan, building coalitions, being consistent in their execution, innovating and iterating, and continually reflective. These are the people we trust to be our best doctors, teachers, development practitioners, politicians, tailor apprentices, etc. Those that form part of a system, playing their part to make that system better. The podcast also mixes my faith and personal investment in African and Afrodiasporan people. As such, I hope it is a call to 76% of Ghanaians who claim Christianity to really adopt that excellent spirit. Build a lifestyle that reflects the splendor of God. In addition to the podcast, I plan to develop courses and resources that can help people to become better intrapreneurs no matter your personality type, class, religion, gender, status, etc.— the information in this podcast applies to everyone who is part of anything from a company to an NGO to an organization. Over the next 5 years, I would like to see businesses, organizations, and governments adopt intrapreneurship models and reward these behaviors for incentivizing them further. I hope to see a nation, a region, a continent, and a people invested in taking ownership of our destiny not through grandstanding and talk but through small, daily actions that add to the larger goal of growth, happiness, and prosperity.
What’re your views on how to create mutually beneficial collaborations?
In my fourth episode, which comes out Oct. 7th, I dedicate a full episode to this. Without giving you all the juice, let’s say that the key to building mutually beneficial collaborations is first to know and offer your value add. Try never to be the person in the relationship who comes empty-handed. Even when you ask for funding or sponsorships, you can still offer value—sometimes that value is beyond the actual product for which you are seeking support. Once you understand your value add and can offer it for others’ benefit, you can build trust and develop mutually beneficial arrangements. Trust is really the foundation for any good relationship, and, especially for African and Afrodiasporans, trust can be hard to give (for many reasons). Build trust by adding value and seeking the greater good.
Reflecting on your journey so far, what is the one thing that has made you a better person and entrepreneur?
I think always seeking to be shepherded is an important part of my journey. I value knowledge, growth, and accountability. As a generation, we are blessed to have access to so many tools and resources that can make us masters of our own fate. This is so helpful because it accelerates the pace at which we can learn. However, growth is connected to experience and wisdom– things that others, especially elders, often have more or different access levels. I value my mentors and spiritual leaders who can pour into my life, and I think it has helped me think critically about the steps I take in my entrepreneurial journey. “Seeking to know” can be a double-edged sword, but having people you trust to help you when options cripple you, allows you the space to fail forward in a space that is supported and safe.
Where to find Amma:
- The Afropole
- Wax Print Fest
- Website- www.waxprintfest.com
- Twitter- www.twitter.com/waxprintfest
- Instagram- www.instagram.com/waxprintfest
- Twitter- www.twitter.com/amma_aboagye
- Instagram- www.instagram.com/aaboagye
- Podcast- www.anchor.fm/ammag
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Tom-Chris Emewulu is the Founder & President of SFAN (Stars From All Nations). When he’s not building SFAN and helping entrepreneurs and rising professionals create fulfilling careers, he’s telling African innovation stories or advocating for people-centered policy. Tom-Chris is a former consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana, and the author of the forthcoming book: Breaking the Limits. He is a thought leader on youth development, social entrepreneurship, technological innovation, and the future of work.