Monday, April 9, 2012
UP CLOSE WITH BISHOP ATO TRUSTWORTHY AHOMKA FM FINEST DJ
If you have ever tuned in a radio or turned up at a party anywhere near Cape Coast you know you can trust the tunes will be pumping whenever Frances “Trustworthy” William Acquah is around.
In addition, even if you have never tuned in a radio or turned up at a party anywhere near Cape Coast, chances are you still know his voice.
Besides being a DJ extraordinaire and something of a living legend in the Central Region, Trustworthy, you may say, is the “voice of the nation” – or at least one of the most heard voices in the nation. That has provided, of course, you do not count the various NDC and NPP politicians engaged in daily on-air verbal slanging matches.
His dulcet tones give voice to so many radio commercials that he does not even try to name or count all the products he is pushed over the years when asked.
He is also becoming something of a matchmaker, a Cupid’s deputy if you like, thanks to his special Love Paradise show on Wednesday nights.
CENTRAL PRESS caught up with the 99.5 Akomka FM veteran of eight years late last month to find out what is the secret to his popularity.
Moreover, it does not take long to see, and hear, why. Possessed as he is with a deep passion for music, honesty (more later), and a silky-smooth, yet welcoming, voice, he has a manner that is nigh on impossible not to like – even when he’s unable to give you a simple answer to a simple enough question about the size of his audience.
Indeed, even the taxi driver who dropped me at the station’s halfway between Cape Coast and Elmina said he was fond of whom I was going to see. When I asked the driver if it was because of the music Trustworthy played, he laughed and agreed with a simple “yes”.
The fact Trustworthy spent 11 years at ATL, two-and-a-half years at Yes FM and several more as a mobile DJ for hire probably doesn’t hurt his popularity either. Whether he meant to or not, the boy from Tama has become something of a Cape Coast institution.
So, why Trustworthy, I ask?
“I have a whole lot of names,” he replied. “The most common one is Frances William Acquah
“Trustworthy is my middle name. The reason why I adopted Trustworthy is I am the kind of guy who hates lies. I see the person who tells lies as a coward.
“I’m the kind of guy who always speaks the truth.”
In addition, being called Trustworthy helps Frances remember that he must always be honest; he must always be sincere.
Does this tendency for truth telling ever land him in trouble?
Sometimes, he concedes, but he adds, when people do not like to hear the truth there are ways of being diplomatic so as to get your honest message across with hurting too many feelings.
As the 43-year-old’s loyal listeners know, Trustworthy is a jazz man, but he does not like to limit himself to any one genre. Good music, he reckons, is good music no matter what style it is in.
“My specialty is jazz, African music, Ghanaian music.
“And I love reggae too.”
Is there any type of music the maestro doesn’t like?
“I am a music lover. When I play music, everything comes by feeling.”
Therefore, there is an honesty in what DJ Trustworthy chooses to play, even if that means he has to change the schedule.
For instance, when Central Press visited one Thursday last month (besides his special Wednesday night gig, he hosts the lunchtime slot on Tuesdays and Thursdays), Trustworthy was scheduled to play high life.
“But I felt like jazz, so I played jazz.”
Above all else, it seems, Trustworthy is honest with himself and what he is feeling. That makes sense really for a self-described spiritual man who sees music as a means of communicating not only words or lyrics, but moods, feelings and much else besides.
Trustworthy grew up in a household where the first thing everyone would do of a morning was turn on the sound system. Having a sailor uncle also helped the child Frances grow up into DJ Trustworthy, as he brought back music from around the world, including jazz and Motown greats such as Aretha Franklin.
He got into radio Disk Jockey after his so-called “grand master”, a DJ at the famous Dance Paradise in Cape Coast named Popsy, took the young mobile DJ under his wing and introduced him to the airwaves. As 99.5 Akomka FM now streams online, Trustworthy’s broadcasts can now reach every corner of the globe.
As for Trustworthy’s answer to my question about ratings, or the size of his audience: “I don’t know. I like to think the moment you tune into the radio and hear Trustworthy is there, you leave it on.”
In addition, what about his blossoming matchmaking programme on Wednesday nights.
Well, what started as a phone-in show for men-seeking-women and women-seeking-men has become more of a two-way talk show. Lonely hearts still phone in to let listeners know they are available for dates and to share their phone numbers, but, for the past three-and-a-bit months, Trustworthy has taken to phoning listeners’ girlfriends or boyfriends with a message their loved ones asked him to pass on. On air.