- Outrage as BBC sack ‘too intellectual’ Bonsu (Black Informration Link, UK, 03/05/2004)
- Ghanaian Presenter Sacked for Focusing On Third World Debts (Ghana Public Agenda, 03/15/2004)
- The Bring Back Bonsu Campaign (Ligali)
(FinalCall.com) – Despite the station’s website advertising their Black London radio host as offering “intelligent debate,” the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has fired Henry Bonsu for being too “intellectual.”
Accusing the station of failing to address the issues affecting the Afro-Caribbean community and not providing substantive alternatives for Black people to listen to, Mr. Bonsu, an Oxford graduate, was host of the Sunday night show GLR since September of last year. He has interviewed prominent figures within the Black community, such as Winston Silcott, known for his conviction for the murder of Police Constable Keith Blakelock being overturned in 1991, as well as Professor Tony Martin, author of the book, “The Jewish Onslaught,” about the Jewish role in the Black Holocaust.
‘I won’t go gently into that good night. The desire for a talk radio station specializing in Black issues is very strong. Since my show was axed I’ve had emails from doctors and lawyers, all asking what they can do to help.’ –Henry Bonsu
He said messages of support have been constantly coming since he announced live on the air that he was being fired from the station.
“I won’t go gently into that good night. The desire for a talk radio station specializing in Black issues is very strong. Since my show was axed, I’ve had emails from doctors and lawyers, all asking what they can do to help.
“Choice FM was about getting Black music on the air and the BBC responded to that by launching 1Xtra. There’s the Asian Network for the Asian community, but there’s nothing out there for Black but there’s nothing out there for Black people who want to listen to talk radio that examines the issues affecting them,” stated Mr. Bonsu.
According to BBC London, the reason Mr. Bonsu was replaced is because he couldn’t “connect” with the listening audience, the statistics showing that figures for his time slot had been low. But Mr. Bonsu disagreed by stating he wasn’t given enough time to prove that his style and approach could work, and that the low ratings being attributed to his show were a “station-wide problem.”
David Robey, managing editor for the station, said that Mr. Bonsu’s “intellectual approach” did not fit into the station’s agenda, and by comparing his style to other Black presenters on the station, added “they are big, full-on, opinionated people. They are highly articulate and intelligent, a description that also applies to Henry, but they are also quite rooted. I feel Henry’s approach has been too intellectual, not quite colloquial enough.”
Mr. Bonsu, who worked for the BBC for four-and-a-half years, is being replaced by Amina Taylor, editor of Pride magazine. Noting that there is a growing demand for a station that addresses Black issues in an intelligent way, encouragement from supporters and the experience he has gained in the industry has him making plans to launch a commercial station to fill the gap in the market.