The Lartey family is labelled in many circles as synonymous with sports in Ghana. This indigenous family tradition of being aligned with sports in general and sports commentary specifically stems from the successful practice of sports journalism by the famous social, political and sports icon and legend, Joe Lartey Snr. Popularly referred to as OVER TO YOU Joe Lartey.
The rise of Joe Lartey Jnr began in 1999 where he started off as a part-time sports presenter on GBC Radio 2, and twenty years down the line, the burning question remains, has he been successful with filling the shoes of his mentor [father] who turned 91 last year?
We had a hearty one-on-one conversation with Joe Lartey (Jnr.) where he talked about his life, sports in Ghana, global sports, challenges facing the discipline, stumbling blocks, wrong turns and all, and as usual, we had to branch off into our trivia-question segment.
1. What is your official name?
Joe: Prince Joe Lartey jnr
2. Where in Ghana do you hail from?
Joe: James Town, Accra.
3. Educational background in brief
Joe: Diploma in Journalism, diploma in public relations, certificate in Sports broadcast from BBC, certificate in journalism from DW academy. Certificate from GBC training college.
4 Who is your role model, and why?
Joe: My dad is my role model. He has been rated the number one sports commentator in Africa. He has also been my mentor throughout the years. He also mentored all my three mentors at the GBC training college.
5 What do you usually do in your spare time? Your hobbies?
Joe: I read, write and go lake fishing
6 What's your superpower, If you have any will you use for good or evil
Joe: I don’t have any but if I had, I will use it for a good course.
7 Professional Career (from beginning to Tv Africa)
Joe: Started in GBC as a part-time sports presenter in 1999 on radio 2. I was then a teacher of English Literature. I was promoted to UNIIIQ FM, also belonging to GBC. There I worked as a sports broadcaster under different broadcast supervisors at different times. I worked first under Nii Nortey Dua who later became a deputy sports minister, then under Nii Lamptey Vanderpuije who also became a sports minister. I worked under George Lartey as well. George Lartey gave me the microphone for my first radio sports commentary, at the Accra Sports Stadium. I did both sports and ceremonial commentary on GBC Radio which was linked to all its affiliates throughout the ten regions of Ghana.
In 2003, I became a discussant on GBC TV Sports shows SPORTS BEAT, hosted by George Lartey. I trained briefly under renowned TV sports commentator Kwabena Yeboah and later started TV football commentary. I did commentary on both national and international matches. On 7 July 2004, I joined TV Africa as an assistant sports producer and Sports presenter. I rose through the ranks to become a Producer, Senior Producer, Sports Editor, and Supervisor. I have sat in on the morning show host several times and later became a co-host of the show, (then known as DAYBREAK) I was also a standby for the current affairs show, MATTERS ARISING
8 How did you develop your interest in Sports?
Joe: My father is a renowned commentator on the African continent. Joe Lartey SNR. He worked at the GBC in Ghana and later at the Nigeria broadcasting corporation. He has been ranked as the all-time number one commentator in Africa. So when I applied for a job as a reporter and newsreader at GBC in 1999, the then director of Radio, Chris Tackie told me straight away ‘YOU WILL BE A SPORTS COMMENTATOR’. He then sent for the head of sports, Nii Nortey Dua and handed me over to him and that was the commencement of my broadcasting career.
9 What is the story with you and TV Africa in relation to sports?
Joe: When I joined TV AFRICA on 7 July 2004, there was no sports desk, no sports programme, and no sports presenter. The founder of the station Kwaw Ansah gave me a lot of support. In 2008, after successfully broadcasting the AFCON Live, I was promoted to managerial level.
10 Is sports Journalism a recognized and respected profession in Ghana?
Joe: Sports journalism is now more respected than about ten years ago. Some journalism schools treat sports journalism as a separate course and some have studios where they are taught sports broadcasting. Some also have campus journals where the writing skills of students are honed.
11 Do you have any challenges as a sports journalist, if so what are they, if not why so?
Joe: A lot of the young people joining the fold do not know the difference between the love for sports and the ability to be a sports journalist who should be able to speak fluently and write well. Due to the proliferation of radio and TV Stations across the country, there are a lot of sports journalist who does not have the requisite training and skills. They drag the name of this profession in the mud
12 What has been your most exciting sporting moment?
Joe: The first one was when I hosted Chelsea FC on my sports talk show on TV AFRICA in Ghana in May 2007.The second was when CNN chose me as their Ghanaian Sports representative to report the 2010 world cup in South Africa.
13 What in your opinion are the challenges facing sports in Ghana?
Joe: There are a lot of wrong people at the helm of sports affairs in this country. This has brought about a stagnation in the growth of sports. It has also culminated in ignominy for this country and we have become a laughing stock. (E.g. the Brazil debacle in the 2010 World Cup and the Australia scandal in the 2018 commonwealth games)
14 Can you prescribe the way forward the sports journalism in Ghana?
Joe: The bar to the entry requirement to journalism institutions should be raised in order to get good candidates for journalism. The authorities in charge should sanction the establishment of journalism institutions.
15 How can we improve the love for other sporting disciplines in Ghana?
Joe: The lesser known sports should have more wherewithal to operate. The concentration shouldn’t only be on the football
16 What in your opinion is the way forward for sports in Ghana?
Joe: Government should have a direct say in the sports affairs of this nation. They shouldn’t just entrust it into the hands of federations. In this way, when things are going wrong, the situation can be ameliorated early.
Switching from the career and personal talk we delved into some trivialities with the sports anchor.
17 If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life
Joe: Telling people about the wonders of God
18 If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?
Joe: Piloting a Cessna. (It’s my obsession)
19 If you could invent anything, what would it be and why?
Joe: The panacea for old age.
20 What stands between you and your happiness?
Joe: a Psychological eclipse of the moon and stars (don’t ask me what it means)
21 What movie deserves a sequel?
Joe: Total Recall (Directed by Len Wiseman)