Alhaj

Remembering radio

A.M.Khan

This year’s world radio day with the theme of “Radio and trust” is about the trust people posed in this medium of mass communication. radio continues, as reported, to be the most trusted and used media in the world. It is still believed that radio attracts a wider and diverse audience, shapes ‘society’s experience of diversity’, serves diverse communities and offers ‘wide variety of programs, viewpoints and content’ in syn with changing world dynamics.

If not everyone, many of us in Chitral, knowing and unknowingly, had started consuming from the wide and diverse content of radio. Today, the elder in every home would recall something about radio programs. Entertainment and daily news headlines were stories of everyday life with radio in homes after dusk especially in winter season.

Radio was the key source of information, entertainment and learning in Chitral after educational settings. It largely enriched people in current affairs, socio-economic and political development in country, and across the world. The literary programs, poetry symposia, drama, music, cultural shows, discussions, and book reviews were features of radio programs.

It continued to be a curiosity for a child, until he saw it in T.V later, hearing sitar play on radio in which an artist would ‘stretch the voice’ that is not possible in chitrali sitar.  

Before the arrival of T.V and internet service— is a recent development, radio provided many things, if not everything, people wanted to hear in past. One still remembers many programs, discussions, and book reviews on radio, also on ‘Orientalism’ was so appealing to purchase it for reading.

It was widely common in most of the homes in Chitral with every dusk people would start tuning radios in medium wave (AM) band. Moving from one channel to another was interesting as AM would allow strong signals and massive interference of many channels would wane with darkness. At that time radio Pakistan, radio Peshawar, Shina, all India radio (Doordarshan), and many more dilated radio waves for audience. BBC Urdu news bulletin, on evening, was the most favorite amongst educated. Sairbeen and other analyses continued to receive informed audience in Chitral. VOA news was late to attract audience in Chitral to become famous for news updates and wide programs.

Known as Khowari, the Khowar program from Peshawar’s radio station was widely received channel in Chitral during winters which offered different items at that time, however, there had always been the massive interference of other channels in it. It was a wonder for children in Chitral at that time hearing program in their own language on radio. Among others, the program GurzenMayon and bespeaking of a song (Bashonu) was also appealing for audience. Interestingly, those people who were interested in percussion would move to shina music whenever khowari overshowed in massive interference of other channels.

Radio has been very popular in Chitral not only it’s low-cost, reached remotest areas and marginalized people but also it was the only source of news and information in the past. There were many people who happened to be ardent listeners of different programs on the radio contributed to updating their own circles in society. one remembers some people listening to the BBC’s news bulletin regularly for an hour every day, and other radio programs too. One does recollect, an uncle of her mother, who had the daily nap after launch would turn-on all India radio would broadcast fine songs.  

Radio commentary of cricket and football matches turn out to be an addictive habit of young people not only having interest in football or cricket either, but also some elders too were also keen of radio commentary.  

Radio was something very special gadget before 2000 in Chitral for information and news, and people have long memories of it. It has played an important role to have informed public, educating people, creating awareness, keeping people updated, medium of entertainment, sport, art, and science programs.

Radio has given us much in early years of our lives, and continues to offer different programs now through F.M service for past few years. Its relevance and existence however depends on how it competes in the digital space and the content it offers to its audience.

One Reply to “Remembering radio”

  1. a very comprehensive note on the experience of radio
    of course, radio was the main source of news, information, and entertainment in the past. its relevance cannot be ignored even in today’s world.
    Darood Shareef in the background during breakfast is one of the finest memories of my childhood.

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