The Quality Series

ATL FM – World-Class Radio from the Heart of Cape Coast

Broadcasting since the early days of FM Radio in Ghana, University-run station pursues public serving mission

© 2016 Dave V / Jav Zamor

Ghana, a country on the Atlantic coast of West Africa with an ethnically diverse population of over 27 million people, is considered to be among the most developed African countries, with high levels of education, stable democratic government, and solid infrastructure. The nation was formed from the unification of the British Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory in 1957, becoming the first sub-Saharan African country to win its independence from a European power. Today, the country is an active participant in global affairs as a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African State, and the Non-Aligned Movement, and is considered to be a major regional power politically.

Ghana’s economy is considered to be one of the strongest in Africa, with a well diversified resource base that includes healthy export industries centered on hydrocarbons, industrial minerals, agricultural cash crops, and manufactured goods including laptops, mobile phones, and desktop computers. This has resulted in Ghana having one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa, and its people were even ranked as the friendliest to travelers in all of Africa by Forbes in 2011.

One of the most highly prized institutions in Ghana is its free press and free media, with high levels of protection for freedom of speech and protection. Freedom of the media is considered to be one of the most important components of a well functioning democracy, as it holds elected leaders accountable, presents information and opinion in a way that allows citizens to formulate their own interpretations of the news, and gives voices to minority perspectives, leading to greater complexity in the national debate. One of the leading voices in Ghana’s vibrant media industry, especially in service of these all-important functions within the national democracy, is ATL FM, from Cape Coast.

Cape Coast, a coastal city and fishing port located in the central region of Ghana’s Atlantic Coast, is one of Ghana’s most historically important cities that over the years has changed hands between, and been influenced by, the Dutch, Swedish, Danish, British, and Portuguese. In the 1600’s, the Swedish established a trading fort here, now known as the Cape Coast Castle. This fortified facility, now a World Heritage Site, was where locals would trade gold and mahogany for goods from abroad, and eventually, it became one of some 40 “slave castles” along the Atlantic coast of West Africa where slaves were bought and sold for passage to the Americas.

© 2016 Dave V / Jav Zamor

Today, Cape Coast still has an important economic role as a port city, especially in the formal and informal fishing industries. It is also home to the University of Cape Coast, which is Ghana’s leading University in education, teaching, and research, and is where the story of ATL FM has its roots. The radio station was established in the earliest days of FM radio in the country, when, in 1989, an independent group on the campus of the university set up a small transmitter and began operations, serving only the immediate campus environment. In the years that followed, through additional investments and participation from the University community, the group formalized operations and acquired more and more powerful transmitters, eventually becoming a major regional broadcaster in the Ghana’s central coast region. Today, ATL FM is officially operated by the University of Cape Coast, and is one of the highest Quality mixed format stations in West Africa.

The station’s programming consists of a mix of news reporting, news talk, local and national politics, opinion, sports talk, and informational features broadcasted in Ghana’s official language, English. The leadership and staff of the station is dedicated to an objective and factual editorial voice, with opposing views and perspectives presented in a balanced manner, often taking advantage of the knowledge and expertise of University professors and staff to explain complex topics and present an informed point of view. The station’s mission is “[t]o serve as a professional platform to the University and its audience through provision of responsible and scholarly broadcasting services with integrity by employing modern technology.” This public-serving mission is reflected in its hiring practices, employee development, and educational focus. Many young university students who began their careers as interns at the station have gone on to become the top radio presenters and producers in the country.

Other activities of Atlantic FM include the curation and production of additional news and written content for the website, and broadcasting a feed of the station live, 24/7, on the internet, freely available for an international audience. The ATL FM website also features official statements from departments of the University who are wishing to disseminate important announcements and findings to a general audience.

ATL FM’s Quality policy is composed of several of the most important tenets of Top Quality, including its dedication to serving all stakeholders with fair and excellent broadcasting, its staff training and development, maintaining cutting edge technological and audio quality standards, and relentlessly pursuing continuous improvement as an organization.

For the role it plays in upholding the values of a democratic society, for its execution of an important public serving mission, for its role in educating the media professionals of the future, and for its dedication to the core concepts of Quality Management as an organization, ATL FM has been selected to receive the 2016 BID International Quality Award, one of the world’s top recognitions of Quality and Excellence in organizations around the globe.


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.