In continuing my letter of February 14 relevant to Word Radio Day, which was celebrated on February 13, 2018, I would like to share a bit more on the impact of radio.
Radio has evolved in our world today, from analog to digital technology. This evolution provides for better frequency tuning and precision. From my own experience, many radio stations hosted DX-ing clubs for short wave radio listeners. These clubs encouraged listeners to provide feedback on broadcast quality and the frequency on which the transmission or rediffusion was received. Some radio stations offered various tokens for feedback accuracy, such as bumper stickers, clothing and other promotional material. In my younger years that exercise was a particularly exciting one. Receiving mail from renowned radio networks generated greater enthusiasm than my routine pen-pal exchanges. That analogous approach has evolved over the years as a consequence of advancement in digital technology.
Local radio has also seen significant improvements over the years. We no longer have unending breaks in transmission. There was a time in Guyana when power outages created unceremonious disruptions to regular programming on the 3- Channel, 2-Station radio network. Today this country boasts close to 20 radio stations, many of which have live streams. Oh, no! The streams I refer to are not water filled creeks. Live streaming is digital broadcasting via the internet. Live streams reach all across the world. When I’m on visits overseas, I can still listen to radio in Guyana instantaneously. Other people can also listen to us, whether they are in the UK, China, South Africa, USA or Australia. So, this is where we need to look at our content.
It is often disturbing to hear non-Guyanese talk, with the accents, or slang coming from the lips of Guyanese announcers. There are exceptions. Those exceptions are non-nationals or naturalized Guyanese who may be making audio presentations. Those persons will obviously still have their native twang or be making linguistic transformation to (Guyanese) English.
I can tune to the VOB in Barbados and know I’m on to a Barbadian radio station, or ISAAC in T&T and know that I’m on to a Trinidadian radio station, but many times when I tune into local stations I wonder if they have relocated to Portmore in Jamaica or Syracuse, New York.
Local radio practitioners should be proud of their native land, native tongue, and strive to give a representation of local content. Maybe this is something the broadcast authority should look at, not as an imposition but as encouragement, to promote Guyana as Guyana for Guyana.
As this country realizes the influx of various nationalities and cultural influences, we can use radio as an effective tool to help preserve our culture, customs, patrimony, and as an organ for protection of our sovereignty.