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‘Radio culture’ has changed dramatically with the rise and spread of social media

Dear Editor,

I was piqued when I read the letter, “Address the paucity of Indian-oriented programmes on NCN radio stations.” I ended up asking myself if radio is a dying medium.  Then on thinking for a while, my answer is ‘not necessarily.’ My reason is that even though it’s true that listenership has decreased in recent years, there are still plenty of people listening to local, regional and national radio stations. Also, despite the advancement of new streaming platforms, strategic radio stations and programmings have followed suit and can be streamed online or through an app as well. What for me is important is that since listeners have so many ‘radio choices’ in terms of ‘what’ and ‘whom’ to listen to, then the onus is on presenters/ announcers to be skillful, savvy and smart. These traits translate to originality and preparedness.

Now, using Ravi Dev’s quite that, “Unlike what he had done for “Pan” and “Tamboo Bamboo” Eric Williams and the PNC studiously ignored subaltern Indian cultural creations,” and fusing this to the view/suggestion (expressed in a letter) to “Address the paucity of Indian-oriented programmes on NCN radio stations,” I have quite a mouthful to say. First, it is indeed that “Sunday Melodies,” at least when Neaz Subhan, NCN CEO, is the presenter, is indeed a quality programme. Neaz whets the appetite and resurrects memories when he gives insight into the Indian movies, their stars, songs and artistes, and indeed “This is how ‘song’ programmes should be done. They must reflect originality with thorough preparation and an educational content.” Otherwise, they become ‘presenter/ announcer’ oriented, where there is nothing but empty ego-massaging and titillation.

Mind you some people like that kind of stuff and they have made heroes out of these dejay-type personalities who cater for mass ignorance with their vacuities of ‘shout outs’ and ‘big ups.’ I dare say that this ‘bottom-house’ and street-corner’ type output lacks informative and educative values. They may be quite popular, but we need to ask ourselves among whom. Secondly, as regards some kind of proportionate and equitable distribution of ‘radio-ing’ in Guyana, where the government media is concerned, it starts with actual personnel. A few stations are definitely more balanced in terms of both aspects, but are still not reflective of population distribution. And as for creativity, originality, quality and depth, I can expect nothing of value, and more so, as ‘use of the English Language’ is at an all-time low.

This aspect is quite a ‘thorn-in-the flesh’ for almost all of the announcers and programmes I tune in to. In today’s professionally charged environments, where ‘speciality’ is the ‘set-apart’ element, I still cannot fathom why ‘th’ and ‘thr’ come over ‘t’ as in ‘tink’ and ‘trifty.’ Like every time I hear ‘birday’ for ‘birthday’ I get turned-off. I feel that ‘radio’ is being dragged down, all because ‘hard work’ is not being put into it. It is like a toy for the ill-bred and cronies of management. Now, on a closing note, I did follow the recent sad passing of Prince Maison, who died in Maryland, USA after a period of illness at the age of 77. As expected, and rightfully so, he was fittingly eulogised.

However, I remind present day broadcasters that the ‘radio culture’ has changed dramatically with the rise and spread of social media, due to the internet age. No longer is radio the almost exclusive means to information. No longer are listeners controlled by the radio programming (they have numberless alternatives). No longer is popularity assured. Thus, the aura of radio personnel is no longer assured or even possible. So, radio must be entered into as a profession only if potential candidates are willing to dedicate time, energy and money (at times) into self-preparation in the area of language, research, and careful editing and for little monetary reward.

I suggest that government must employ qualified and or gifted personnel, and reflective of ethnic balance as well. These must be invested in and they must be monitored and be held accountable. For starters, clean-up the “Information for Nation Building” rehash, and the apportion percentile programming to suit all the peoples of Guyana.

Sincerely,

Deodat Singh


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