‘Radio is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome ‘– T.S. Elliot.
I grew up in an African community where radio was a very popular medium of mass communication. Every night, when my father retired to his bedroom, I’d fidget with the shortwave radio in the living room, in search of exciting international stations. I discovered many – the BBC, RFI, Deutsche Welle Radio.
At the university, I enrolled for a BA degree in Communication Arts. Broadcasting was one of my modules. I learnt about features, documentaries, interviews, acoustics. The year I graduated, I got a job with a national radio station, and I also won a Commonwealth Short Story Award – an annual scheme to promote new creative writing, funded and administered by the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. (Each year around 25 winning and highly commended stories from the different regions of the Commonwealth are recorded on to CDs and broadcast on radio stations across the Commonwealth).
I left the radio industry many years ago, for a career in public relations. A lot has changed now. New technologies have changed the way broadcasting operates. I now listen to the radio on my mobile phone. I listen to the BBC World Service on the internet. I play back the ones I have missed on iPlayer.
Yesterday, I was thinking about my love for radio, and John Denver’s song came to my mind: ‘I hear her voice, in the mornin' hour she calls, The radio reminds me of my home far away, And driving down the road I get a feelin' That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday’.