Kaieteur News – A new era of broadcasting has emerged but will a new breed of broadcasters arise. There is now a multiplicity of radio stations, following the liberalisation of radio first by the PPP/C and then by the APNU+AFC.
Unfortunately, sufficient attention was not made to developing a pool of broadcasters from which these new stations could have drawn. Too many deejays are masquerading as broadcasters.
Fortunately for Kaieteur Radio, some of the journalists with Kaieteur News have made a wonderful transition to radio. I have been extremely impressed with Kemol King’s perceptiveness in interviews; Kiana Wilburg is thorough and informed about the subjects she covers; and both Shikema Dey and Mikaila Prince have voices made for radio.
I encourage them to continue to hone their broadcasting skills. And there can be no better role model to imitate than Larry King who passed away last weekend.
CNN’s Larry King is one of the best television interviewers around. He conducts his shows with absolute control. You will never find Larry getting into an exchange of views or a debate with his guests.
King allows his guests to do most of the talking and to give the opinions. He limits himself to asking questions. He probes. He teases responses from his guests.
If he needs to confront them on an issue, you will never find Larry taking an aggressive stand and contradicting his guests. He would simply say, ‘But how do you respond to those who say…” This is his style.
In Guyana, we have some radio and television hosts who feel that the programme they host is for them to give their own views. They try to engage in tit-for-tat with their guests.
This is a style mimicked from the BBC Hard Talk programme where the host tries to put the guests in the hot seat. We do not need to do that in Guyana.
But often, we have hosts who try to steal the limelight, trying to impose their opinions, thus reducing the quality of the interview.
A few years ago, one of Guyana’s leading luminaries appeared on a local television show. At the end of it, the host spoke more than the legal luminary. This was a real turn-off, because here was an opportunity to really hear one of Guyana’s foremost legal minds, and, instead, the interviewer gave his opinions more than the interviewee did. The next time that host appeared; I simply turned off, since it was hard to endure that again.
A whole generation of broadcasters has gone off the scene. Most have retired, migrated or gone to the Great Beyond. Some do not know when to call it a day. They continue with the same old style and play the same old music, which they did in the 1970’s and 1980’s, not realizing that the essence of radio’s stamina has changed.
We have a new generation that needs the necessary training in modern broadcasting. The media has changed from the old days, and while there are some things, which can still be learnt from the old-timers, there is a completely new set of skills required.
Today, there are all manner of persons who feel that once they have the necessary sponsorship and can play a few music videos, they qualify as television hosts.
In the case of radio, there is an urgent need for good producers. Local nighttime radio has become something of a drag, because enough effort and resources are not being channelled into producing good programmes for listeners.
Things are changing too. There used to be a time when it took great skill for all the death announcements to be slotted into the available time. A few evenings ago, there was only one death announcement on radio and one message.
Radio still has a greater reach than television. Yet, television death announcements outstrip those aired on the radio.
There needs to be greater investment in producing good local radio programmes for prime time listening. Playing a musical interlude or simply having programmes which amount to nothing more than musical shows cannot substitute for having an interesting interview, a call-in show in which the audience participate or simply some educational or discussion programme.
Long gone are the days when you could look forward to a sports programme. Most of them these days feature someone being interviewed, a most boring format for an exciting field such as sport broadcasting.
Radio is not going to disappear. What will go, unless good programming is produced, is the audience. Who knows, most of the listeners may have already permanently switched to television.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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