Radio is a wonderful medium

Dear Editor,

Radio is unstoppable, a wonderful medium indeed. It can have a soothing and therapeutic effect, depending on the nature and quality of the programme. I grew up listening to radio and still do listen. I remember so well a serial which kept my mother glued to our radio whenever it came on: Portia Faces Life, followed many years later with the Tides of Susanburg, Let the Lion Loose, My Bones and My Flute and House of Pressure, as I recall. And it was on a small box-size radio that my father, livid with excitement, had us listening to the Muhammad Ali v Sonny Liston fight. Of course, those were the days of no television and much has changed since then. It’s obvious that most people have become ‘televisionized’; the majority of young people don’t hear radio, but radio hasn’t lost them, since they haven’t been a part of the radio audience anyway, and many of them have never been nurtured to understand and appreciate the true value, wide spectrum and invaluable service of which it is capable.

The voice is indeed a very powerful instrument when used effectively by the invisible announcer. It can create and set the mood and tone for what is intended; it spins a web, if you like, as a spider does to ensnare its prey. So too must the radio announcer entice and entrap his/her audience. For the voice is also magical; it can woo, charm, stimulate, captivate and enliven an audience, which reminds me of the movie Play Misty For Me, starring Clint Eastwood.  Conversely, a radio announcer who is flat and monotonous can be a turnoff.

As for me, I have for years been a member of radio land and also an ardent listener to the BBC. I go to bed with a radio to my head that plays through the night. The BBC for me is unmatched; the bastion of broadcasting, like Radio Demerara and the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation. I have known the BBC all my life, and have gleaned much through the years. One of the most memorable short stories which i recall hearing over the BBC, and which left an indelible impression on me was The Leopard’s Tale. Just a few nights ago the BBC gave an interview with a musical group plying an instrument made from vegetables, yes vegetables!

A long time back I heard another interview with the celebrated cardiologist, who it was reported did the first heart transplant ‒ Dr Christian Bernard ‒ and his brother, a neurologist. What an informative programme it was. I was surprised when the doctor stated that heart transplant was a simple operation and not as complicated as many had thought; for him the kidney posed far more difficulty. He said he did many kidney transplant operations which went unnoticed. He further explained that when the brain is dead the body is virtually dead, but that the heart can live for about a day, during which time it is removed, since a dead heart cannot be used. Furthermore,  it is the neurologist who must first say before the cardiologist can proceed. And so those two brothers worked as a team. He joked a bit about someone saying they love you with all their kidney as being odd, and even being ignored, when in fact the kidney stands like a fort in the body.

Radio announcers should consider themselves fortunate in that they are forever in command of an audience ready made for them; the long arm of radio is almost inescapable.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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