Bring back the golden age of ra­dio

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO OPINION -

THERE’S not a day goes by that is not ded­i­cated to some­thing or other.

Some are ob­vi­ously friv­o­lous and not meant to be taken se­ri­ously, such as Ice Cream for Break­fast Day (the first Satur­day in Feb­ru­ary); also, at least in South Africa, In­ter­na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Day (9 De­cem­ber).

Iron­i­cally, that one will be ‘cel­e­brated’ while a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing Com­mis­sions of En­quiry are also sit­ting… the con­tent of which could eas­ily be con­fused with World Toi­let Day.

For the most part, these spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tive days (and months) serve a use­ful pur­pose in that they re­mind us of im­por­tant is­sues that might es­cape our at­ten­tion.

The mat­ter of toi­lets is a prime ex­am­ple, as any per­son with­out ac­cess to proper san­i­ta­tion will tes­tify.

World Can­cer Day, World Di­a­betes Day, World Oceans Day and oth­ers sen­si­tise us to mas­sive global prob­lems that hu­mans have the ca­pac­ity to over­come, given the re­sources and com­mit­ment.

Some of the spe­cial days are used as fund-rais­ers for a host of wor­thy causes, while oth­ers are just there for the ‘feel good’ ef­fect, like the In­ter­na­tional Day of Liv­ing To­gether in Peace (16 May – a throw­back from the hip­pie era?) or Na­tional Hug­ging Day, which could how­ever also be called the day of spread­ing com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases.

I’m a bit con­fused as to why 21 Novem­ber should be des­ig­nated World Tele­vi­sion Day. Af­ter all, there are al­ready 365 days which serve that pur­pose. I’m still wait­ing to hear when World On­line Day will be an­nounced: an­other su­per­flu­ous cal­en­dar date.

All of which via a long route brings me to my favourite: World Ra­dio Day (13 Feb­ru­ary).

Ah, the good old days of ra­dio! Re­mem­ber when fam­i­lies sat hud­dled around the wire­less set lis­ten­ing to the Bok-bi­ased rugby com­men­tary of Ger­hard Viviers, or Charles For­tune dis­cussing ev­ery­thing ex­cept the cricket Test he was cov­er­ing?

Of­ten, the for­mer was in the cold, early hours of the morn­ing when the cof­fee tasted even sweeter with vic­tory for the green and gold.

And what about wait­ing in great an­tic­i­pa­tion for the next episode of Squad Cars, as the cops prowled the empty streets at night; or lis­ten­ing, gripped with fear, to The Creak­ing Door; or work­ing out who­dunit in Con­sider Your Ver­dict?

Don’t for­get the fun­nies: Pip Friedman, Taxi and The Men From The Min­istry kept us rolling with good, clean hu­mour.

The three wise men from Test The Team im­pressed us with their knowl­edge, while Bob Court­ney’s Pick-A-Box show kept us en­ter­tained.

If you were lucky, your lit­tle short­wave ra­dio could pick up Lourenco Mar­ques so you could lis­ten to the deca­dent rock ‘n roll songs that were banned on Spring­bok Ra­dio’s top ten.

Yes, I know us bal­lies do go on about the good old days, but who would ar­gue that to­day’s ad­ver­tis­ing-dom­i­nated ra­dio sta­tions are for the most part lit­tle more than a com­bi­na­tion of tune­less mu­sic you would never buy and phone-in talk shows that re­veal the su­per­fi­cial men­tal­ity of so­ci­ety?

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