On February 13, 2018, World Radio Day was celebrated. The day was dedicated to the role of radio and sports. Radio is a medium of educating, providing information, and promoting freedom of expression.
Very early in my life, I developed a keen interest in radio. I remember my parents purchasing a Panasonic Radio Cassette player in the late 1970s, way before the first television set ‒ a gift from a migrating friend ‒ entered our home in 1990.
My fondness for radio remains strong, with an acquired preference for certain stations and programme content.
In the 1980s I was an ardent DX-er. Only persons familiar with listening to international radio via short wave would be familiar with the term DX. I listened mostly to English and Spanish broadcasts, from the BBC, VOA, Radio Habana, Czech Radio and HCJB, just to name a few. HCJB, which transmitted out of Quito in Ecuador was one of my favorites. That radio station transmitted programmes in English and Spanish. I once entered a writing competition hosted by HCJB, and won two hard-covers, one being Towers of Eternity by Dr Paul E Freed.
FM or Frequency Modulation was not very popular in Guyana back then, although most radios came with AM, FM and SW1-3 bands. On the AM or Amplitude Modulation bands, local stations were transmitted on 560Mhz and 760Mhz. Those stations changed names, but were mainly referred to as GBC Channels 1 and 2, respectively. Given our inclination to tune in on AM, I explored that band. Through most of the 1980s and 1990s, Trans World Radio (TWR) of Bonaire in the Netherland Antilles also captured my interest. That station boasted a strong transmission on 800 Mhz. I was privileged to place 2nd in the 16-19 years old category for regional essays in one of the writing competitions hosted by the said TWR.
I continue to pay keen attention to both local and international media. It is on such volition that this missive was inspired.
In his World Radio Day message, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres posited: “On World Radio Day, let us celebrate both radio and sports as helping people achieve their full potential.”
What I hear on many of our local radio stations nowadays is particularly worrying. I often wonder if our radio practitioners ever read, other than when they are tasked to do so from work scripts. Sometimes, their efforts reveal a lack of familiarity with or preparation of what they present. My curious thoughts also ponder if they ever hear or listen to other internationally renowned media outfits for the quality of language, grammatical usage and correctness of pronunciation.
Radio is not just informative or entertaining, it is also a learning tool and beacon of who we are and what we represent.
In closing, I encourage our radio practitioners to be cognizant of the importance of their roles and strive to perform professionally and eloquently. For radio impacts lives!