BERNARD AVLE – The Relevant Voice of Reason.


Affectionately just called “Bernard,” even two decades ago Bernardino Avle was already an inspiring emerging African leader. Bernard is “a passionate Ghanaian who believes in Africa”[1] and is desirous “to use multimedia tools and platforms to tell African stories.”[2] Those who have just come to know him in the last ten or so years as a no-nonsense, no holds barred, say-it-as-it-is, voice of reason on Accra’s Citi 97.3 Mhz frequency amidst the cacophony of patronising personalities and parochial politics can be aptly described as only “latter day saints.” Welcome then, to the man of the hour, the relevant voice of reason.

Way back in 2005, Bernard was one of 15 Inspiring Young People this author penned about and published in his first (and only) volume with that title. At the time, Bernard was “the youngest of all breakfast show presenters in the nation.”[3] Bizarrely, nearly two decades later, he still is among the youngest and arguably the best. While some of the other 15 ‘inspiring young people’ have not lived up to the promising trajectory displayed in their youth, Bernard, au contraire, has even surpassed expectations. No doubt.

Today, Mr. Bernard Avle is a broadcast journalist on both radio and TV, General Manager at Citi FM and Citi TV of Omni Media, public speaker, event MC and international conference facilitator par excellence. And for most people, it is his ability to speak truth to power, ask hard questions of leaders, analyze trending issues deeply, reason in real time and keep the feet of authorities to the fire that make him stand head and shoulders above the rest. No one, no matter how great, mighty or connected, has Bernard in their back pocket.



Christened Bernardino Koku Avle by a certain erstwhile Chief Research Analyst with the Community Health Department of the University of Ghana Medical School and his then postmistress wife, Koku had been born to them on a quiet Wednesday morning, 20th May, 1981.  Bernard(ino) is the seventh of eight children, some half siblings.[4]

Legon Thoroughbred

Until his graduate education in the UK (2008-2009) as a Chevening Scholar[5] at the Warwick Business School, where he obtained his MBA in Marketing, all of Bernard’s education had been in Legon; specifically in or around the University of Ghana (UG). His father’s employment with UG explains how he commenced his basic education at the University Primary & Junior Secondary School (JSS), on the Legon campus of UG. After his JSS graduation, young Master Avle went on to study General Arts, a combination of Elective Mathematics, Economics and Geography, barely a couple of miles down the street from UG, right next door at Presec (Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary). He would then return to the UG campus in June 2001 till June 2004, as a student in the revered (or is it feared?) Departments of Economics.

First Class, A++ Student

Goals are key to any achievement in life.  Bernardino set himself a goal to get a First Class at UG. And he did! On 12th March 2005, Bernard Avle was one of the few who graduated from UG with a First Class honours B.A. degree in Economics (and a Geography minor).[6] Remember, it’s ‘dreaded’ Economics we’re talking about here. Bernardino typifies what this author has called an “A++” tertiary education for the last two decades.  The “A+” is for academics, and the extra and/or co-curricular activities comprise the extra plus. Bernard made his A+, a First Class in no less a subject than Economics, and had the extra plus in leadership, broadcasting, politics, spiritual matters etc.  “The chain of awards Legon Hall feted him with in the 2003/4 academic year alone included Student Personality of the Year, Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Hall and Academic Excellence Award.”[7]

Interestingly, Bernard reveals the secret underpinning this First Class as an intentionally formed goal “specifically to prove to skeptics and even critics who believed that anybody involved in as many extra-curricular activities (as he was) on campus would automatically have mediocre academic grades.  He was bent on demystifying an almost entrenched and calcified myth.”[8]

“Born to Lead,” Indeed

Bernard Avle, “who seems quiet from a distance, has consistently displayed such a high leadership acumen in several spheres of life: broadcasting, politics, academia and the spiritual.”[9]  Even two decades ago, this leadership skill was duly recognized with a certificate in Leadership and Liberty by the Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana.

As a leader-broadcaster with the university FM station on campus, Radio Univers, he even acted as News editor from May to August 2003, a leadership role which involved managing a newsroom crew of over 15 student volunteer journalists, overseeing news search, editing, reporting and casting.  He was also a trainer of nouveau fresher volunteer broadcasters.  In the 2003/4 academic year, Bernard was actually the Student Coordinator for Radio Univers.[10] These, on hindset, were apt preparatory simulations for his role today as a broadcast journalist cum General Manager at one of Ghana’s most influential radio stations, Citi FM.

Politically, Bernard served as Junior Common Room Secretary of Legon Hall (2002/3) and was a member of the Student Representative Council’s General Assembly the following academic year.[11]  It is noted in 15 Inspiring Young People Volume 1 how “as an academic leader he was Class Representative for his Economics Class in Level 300, during which same period he was a spiritual leader of the Legon Pentecostals Union (General Secretary) and served on the University of Ghana’s Chaplaincy Board.”[12] So whichever way you look at it, Bernard was born, it seems, to lead…and in every field of endeavour he finds himself in.



In 2017, Bernard Avle became Ghana;s Journalist of the Year, an award conferred by the Ghana Journalism Association (GJA). This was a well-deserved recognition of Mr. Avle’s commitment to personal excellence in broadcast journalism as well as solid leadership in that space. Since the Law of Consistency is a prerequisite to the Law of Success, it isn’t any wonder that for consistently being on radio since 2001, from the university’s Univers to the city’s Citi, Bernard had done his proverbial 10,000 hours and had become a broadcasting genius.[13]

Broadcast Bloom to Boom

Bernard joined Radio Univers, the University of Ghana’s FM station, as a freshman and stayed the course throughout his entire four-year sojourn on Legon Campus, while many moved in and out.[14] “For the entire period in question he hosted Exposition (a Christian talk show), Campus Exclusive (a student magazine programme) and was an ombudsman News Reporter.  From 2003, Bernard also took up the challenge of hosting View Point, a current affairs programme.[15] Now he’s graduated to host the riveting Point of View on Citi TV too, unveiling a ‘baby face’ he used to hide behind radio. Even for his final year project work he was thinking about broadcasting: A Cost Benefit Analysis of an Expansion of Radio Univers.[16]

Bernardino is an all-rounder but has laser acuity “on issues on technology, business & economics, good governance and social development, with his distinctive mark of a well-researched approach to any area of discussion, which translates into the piercing and relevant questions that he treats his guests to.”[17]

One-Eyed Focus

After discovering and falling in love with the media, Bernard has looked nowhere else. He knew he was leaving campus radio to continue a career in radio at Citi FM. There was virtually no hiatus and certainly no doubt. He started out with the Citi FM news crew from July to December, 2004 and got the break to serve his first Citi breakfast on air that December as a 23-year old youth![18] The rest, as they say, is history.

“What do you love about broadcasting in general and the breakfast show in particular?” this writer inquired. According to Sir Bernardino, “Broadcasting has placed a privileged onus on me to play a leading part in the ongoing democratic experience, which is being spearheaded by an increasingly robust, probing, and pluralistic media.  Hosting the Citi Breakfast Show has given me the unique opportunity to be part of the mornings of many Ghanaians to ask relevant questions on the behalf of a perceptive audience.”[19] Within four years of producing and presenting the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Avle had grown the audience base by over 500 per cent![20]

A typical day for Bernard begins at dawn: 4 am!  By 6 am the Citi Breakfast Show commences and lasts for four hectic hours. Bernard not only has planning and production for the next day to think about, but also managerial and leadership duties as General Manager. Then there’s TV—Point of View—that ends deep at night. Factor in Accra traffic, to and fro, and you can do his sleep math.

Family Fortunes

Bernard even found love, again, on the University of Ghana premises. Bernard met Justine at a YouthPower! Conference organized by The HuD Group at the Great Hall of UG in October 2005. Bernard and Justine grew very fond of each other and tied the knot in 2011. Sadly, Justine, who really manned the domestic front to release Bernard to soar for God and country, kicked the bucket one fateful August evening in 2022.[21] Their union was blessed with five children, four boys and a girl.[22]

The Cost of Success

It hasn’t been all rosy. Well, even roses have thorns. Beyond the wicked blow of being a relatively young widower, Bernardino has his critics. We might even say there are those who loathe him to the same extent people love him. When he lost his wife, some of the most egregious comments that surfaced were stupefying. But Bernard isn’t a target just because he stands tall today; even before he would rise, the attacks came in fast and ferociously.

In a section of the 15 Inspiring Young People that was titled ‘Choking on Breakfast,’  Mr. Avle shared how when he set off in the commercial world of radio, “The bad reviews I initially got from industry analysts were almost crushing.  Sometimes their expectations of me were rather high and in my opinion unfair. These were coupled with criticisms that sometimes left me feeling inadequate.”[23] He admitted, “Hosting a breakfast show requires one to be eclectic in outlook, intense in commitment and consistent in delivery. Developing these traits come at a cost. My spiritual relationship with the Lord suffered initially.  How I got through? He was patient with me.”[24]



Awards and honors

The awards Bernard and his Citi Breakfast show have garnered include BBC Africa Radio Awards Interactive/Talk Show of the Year (2007) and two other continental awards, Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) Radio Programme of the Year for both 2013 and 2015, Ghana Journalists Association Journalist of the Year (2017), Ghana Journalists Association Best Radio Morning Show (2017 and 2018) and the Ghana Journalists Association Best (English) Radio Station (2018).

During his tenure as Operations Manager at Citi/Omni Media (Nov 2009-Nov 2013), Citi Eyewitness News was adjudged CIMG Radio Programme of the year (2011) while Citi FM’s newsroom won the Innovative Newsroom Award at the 16th Telkom Highway Africa Media Awards in South Africa (2012).

Bernardino Koku Avle has been a Fellow of The African Leadership Initiative West Africa (ALI) and the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) since 2015. Being Ghana’s journalist of the year is probably the one award that most consolidated the young man’s towering presence on the Ghanaian media landscape, cementing the influence of this voice of reason. It is no accident that this 2017 award followed impressive feats moderating the 2016 Presidential Encounter (presidential debate) and the one four years prior which was history-making with the first ever appearance of a sitting Ghanaian president.[25]

Growing Other Leaders

Mr. Avle is also a member of the governing council of the Global Marketing Network in Ghana. As a founding director of iJourno Africa, he trains and creates opportunities for participants to practise citizen journalism and equip them with tools to cover local issues. Almost as a way of paying back his indebtedness to The HuD Group for facilitating his finding of a virtuous wife, Bernard serves on the Ghana board, inspiring and empowering holistic emerging leadership development in Africa (and  beyond). He likes to tell the youth, who he regularly mentors on various speaking platforms in Ghana, “Think like a man of action. Act like a man of thought.”[26]

As a man who seeks to multiply himself, Bernard conceptually developed and successfully  implemented a $90,000 project to recruit, train and deploy up to 200 Citizen Journalists to cover Ghana’s 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Two years prior, he had done similarly with a $80,000 one to train 30 Citizen Journalists from 10 regions in Ghana.[27] Other innovative social impact projects to raise emerging media leaders have included a UNICEF “Voices of the Future” one.

Gallantry against Galamsey and other Gains

Illegal small scale mining in Ghana has gotten out of hand, making nonsense of both the law and law enforcement in addition to wrecking havoc on Ghana’s water bodies, flora and fauna. In 2017, Bernard Avle together with Citi FM launched a gallant campaign against galamsey[28] for which the Ghana Chamber of Mines awarded him and his show “for vigorously promoting environmentally responsible mining in Ghana through objective and analytical reportage.”[29] The citation further read, “Your relentless campaign against the upsurge of illegal mining and its consequent destruction of major water bodies in Ghana is admirable and worth emulating.”

He is also “currently spearheading national campaign against lawlessness on our roads, dubbed “War against Indiscipline.”[30] Between last year and now, Bernardino has been campaigning to raise money to support the Lower Volta flood victims of the Akosombo dam spillage, not only offering immediate relief and timely health interventions but also building permanent shelters for the displaced.[31] Bernard serves on the board of the Citi FM Foundation.




“Our problems are becoming bigger and our [leaders] are becoming smaller. It’s a tragedy,”[32] says Mr. Avle. At Perbi Executive Leadership Education (PELÉ), where authentic and customised relationships and resources are offered to C-level executives to grow personally, succeed professionally, and become significant societally, we have conscripted this relevant voice of reason as a consultant in media and general leadership development at PELÉ. Together we hope to hone current C-level leadership as well as incubate a host of emerging C-suite executives.



Bernardino Koku Avle was born to broadcast; he landed in 1981 to lead. From being a First Class graduate to serving first class food for thought as breakfast on air, consistency has been Mr. Avle’s forte right into his forties. Come next year, Deo volente, Bernard would have been running the same Citi Breakfast Show for twenty years, two decades! Apart from the Law of Consistency at work in his story, is also the Law of Process. Bernard did not just appear on the national scene in a day; he had been preparing himself daily for years on campus. From campus radio to city radio, and now Citi TV as well, Bernard has succeeded at both working in and on media, a feat few broadcast journalists are able to achieve. For many prominent figures on air, an elevation to managerial or leadership roles has meant, unfortunately, being promoted to fail. Even one of his nation and generation’s finest, Bernard Avle, gets his (un)fair share of criticism and takes it in his stride. Ghana’s presidential debate moderator and national award-winning journalist, together with his cutting-edge Citi/Omni media tribe, are reshaping the African narrative, in word and by deed. A relevant voice of reason indeed.

[1] CitiTVonline. Bernard Avle. Retrieved February 16, 2024.

[2] Bernadino Koku Avle. Curriculum Vitae shared with the author on January 25, 2024.

[3] Yaw Perbi. 2005. 15 Inspiring Young People. Volume 1. First Edition. Accra. Ghana: NEOpublishing, pg. 55.

[4] Ibid, pg. 55.

[5] “Launch of Chevening Alumni Ghana Association – News articles – GOV.UK”. Government of United Kingdom. Retrieved February 7, 2024.

[6] Yaw Perbi. 2005. 15 Inspiring Young People. Volume 1. First Edition. Accra. Ghana: NEOpublishing, pg. 57.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibd.

[9] Ibid, 56.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] A notion from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers that 10,000 hours of practice is what it takes to become a genius in a field

[14] Ibid, 57.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “20 under 40: Bernardino Koku Avle – Business World Ghana”. Business World Ghana. 9 March 2015. Last retrieved February 9, 2024.

[18] Yaw Perbi. 2005. 15 Inspiring Young People. Volume 1. First Edition. Accra. Ghana: NEOpublishing, pg. 58.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Bernadino Koku Avle. Curriculum Vitae shared with the author on January 25, 2024.

[21] “Bernard Avle Loses Wife Justine Avle |”. 2022-08-04. Retrieved Feb 16, 2024.

[22] MyNewsGH (2022-08-04). “BREAKING News: Citi FM’s Bernard Avle loses wife Justine Avle”. MyNewsGh. Retrieved February 16, 2024.

[23] Yaw Perbi. 2005. 15 Inspiring Young People. Volume 1. First Edition. Accra. Ghana: NEOpublishing, pg. 60.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Bernadino Koku Avle. Curriculum Vitae shared with the author on January 25, 2024.

[26] Yaw Perbi. 2005. 15 Inspiring Young People. Volume 1. First Edition. Accra. Ghana: NEOpublishing, pg. 60.

[27] Bernadino Koku Avle. Curriculum Vitae shared with the author on January 25, 2024.

[28] “Citi FM launches #StopGalamseyNow campaign”. Citi 97.3 FM – Relevant Radio. Always. 2017-04-03. Retrieved February 16, 2024.

[29] Allotey, Godwin Akweiteh (2016-11-26). “Citi Breakfast Show honoured at Ghana Mining Awards”. Ghana News. Retrieved February 16, 2024.

[30] Bernadino Koku Avle. Curriculum Vitae shared with the author on January 25, 2024.

[31] Abigail Arthur. #Relief4LowerVolta: Citi FM/Citi TV supports flood victims, organizes health screening in affected areas. Last retrieved February 17, 2024.

[32] Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana vignette of quotes. Last retrieved February 16, 2024.



50 Inspiring Living Leaders

This 50 Inspiring Living Leaders series highlights current influencers who are succeeding in leadership, integrity, family or entrepreneurship in whatever field and exhibit most, if not all, of our values of PELÉ. We value people, growth, particularity, excellence, success, authenticity and significance. These stories are largely written in terms of growth, success and significance in leadership, integrity, family and  entrepreneurship. While we do our best to receive personal references about each leader, most of our research and writing is based on literature review of publicly-available information. As authorities in leadership, we are fully aware that there is no such thing as a perfect leader, and leaders may have their flaws, but we choose to celebrate these inspiring living leaders for their achievements outlined in our series. Having said that, should you happen to have any incontrovertible evidence that any of our featured leaders does not fit our bill of an authentic leader, please write to us at Our vision at PELÉ is a flourishing global ecosystem of authentic leaders characterised by healthy growth, holistic success and lasting significance.

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