Mr. Costa, whose Henry Costa Show came on air nearly two years ago, said he was leaving Hott FM and “moving on” because he was tired of being censored by his station manager, who he accused of being a paid agent for some higher-ups in the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government.
In the two years of the Costa Show, Henry won himself many admirers, especially among Liberians who profess change and want the Liberian economy to be placed into the hands of ordinary Liberians.
Through his show he was seen as a friend by some Liberians who respected his provocative on-air style.
“He always spoke the truth to the powers-that-be and rarely backed down when he was on the radio,” a young man, who only identified himself as an ardent listener of the Costa Show, said.
This gentleman, who only called himself as Emmanuel, also stated that because of the Costa Show on the radio, Hott FM has become famous both at home and abroad. The station is also aired online.
Costa was called by many people so that he could lift their plights to the limelight. He also helped broker negotiations that resolved conflict. One of such was resolved last Friday, February 28, when he helped resolve a crisis between the ‘McIntosh Village’ in Duazon, Margibi County and the management of the Hard Rock Crusher, who are operating a rock quarry in the community.
Costa told the Observer in an email: “My dear friends, I want to take this time to inform you, on behalf of my co-host Woods Nyanton and I, of the reason behind the silence of The Costa Show.
“The Wednesday, February 26, 2014 edition of The Costa Show was shut off on the direct orders of the station manager Mr. Bernard Benson, alias DJ Blue, simply because I responded to numerous threats made against me by Fombah Sirleaf, the President’s son who is also the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA).
“Mr. Benson called and instructed the technical staff to switch the transmitter off while we were talking on air unbeknownst to us. For a good few minutes we did not realize this until some listeners began to text and call to inform Woods and me that we were off the air. The light was still on, everything seemed normal but they simply switched the transmitter off and had us sitting there like fools. This was absolute disrespect to us regardless of the fact that it is their station! I am sure you would agree with me.”
He told the Observer that for the last two years The Costa Show has been taken off the air at least four times by management, just because he had been very critical of the regime and other Liberians, who do not want to see Liberia move forward.
He further said: “On many occasions we were banned from discussing certain issues. Recently for example, last Tuesday [February 25] when we began to discuss a US diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks, of a conversation between Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former US diplomat Howard F. Jeter held in Abuja, Nigeria in 2002 about the LURD insurgency and her involvement, one of the station’s staff walked into the studio with a note saying that Mr. Benson wanted us to drop the subject immediately, which we did to the disappointment of our valued audience. I felt very bad and belittled.”
While stating that Mr. Benson is a good friend, who has allowed him and Woods to use the station to serve the listening audience for the last two years irrespective of the situation, he added, “But we cannot continue to be censored or controlled in this manner, to be taken off the air for weeks and sometimes months has become unbearable for me in particular. Therefore, I regret to inform you that The Costa Show will never be heard again on Hott FM 107.9. I am tired, and I am moving on!”
Despite Mr. Costa’s effort at trying to resolve matters, he has on many occasions been lashed at by some callers on his show, who sometime labeled him as being biased, a troublemaker and a regime hater.
Meanwhile, a source at the Ministry of Justice told the Observer Monday evening that Costa now faces a charge of “terrorist threat” on the life of Mr. Fombah Sirleaf. He (Costa) is expected to face an investigation today by authorities at the Ministry of Justice at its 9th Street, Sinkor Offices.
DJ BLUE’S RESPONSE
However, Mr. Bernard Benson, alias DJ Blue, owner of the Hott FM, told the Daily Observer late last night that he had to order the show off air because Mr. Costa had got himself engaged in “unethical renditions on air.”
“Mr. Costa knows that Hott FM does not promote violence. He has on many occasions spoken against violence so for him to have been promoting it on the radio left management with only one option.”
He stated that Costa was not extra from all the other Hott FM staff, who are punished when they go wrong.
DJ Blue, however, said he was surprised when he learned that Costa has parted ways from Hott FM and wished him well in his sojourn.