Friday, August 29, 2008

Radio Gaga

Dark rainy day. Took the day off because the kids were supposed to have a blood donation drive at work. I've donated blood thrice before and I'd have done it again but braving slush and mud and hours of being trapped in traffic to give a pint of blood just didn't figure on the agenda today.

When I was growing up, the radio was my best friend. No TVs, computors, cellphones, digicams, ipods and other fancy schmancy gizmos then. The radio was the one source I had of keeping up with the world outside my little world. Dad had just died and Mum was working hard to support her four daughters. The local school we now attended was hugely different from MH and since we'd all jumped two classes, schoolwork was a major headache. Specially the maths. Add to that, growing up pains and adolescent angst.

Shortwave radio was a magical escape from everyday hassles. Every evening after dinner, my sister and I would sit down to homework with the radio tuned to the Ivan and Eric Show on the SLBC. Their light banter sandwiched between music requests and top forty hits had us all agog. Later we discovered Radio Australia, VOA and the good old BBC. I grew particularly attached to the Beeb, never missing the pop music shows especially A Jolly Good Show with the irrepressible Noel Edmonds. Then I discovered Matthew on Music fronted by Brian Matthew who I thought had the most divinely deep voice. Matthew played mostly hard heavy rock (most of it what's known as classic rock today) and left a deep and lasting influence on me. Then there was Glenys Dickson who cheerily hosted Countdown on Radio Australia. There was also this obscure radio station called Super Rock KYOI my sister and I loved but couldn't understand because the dialogue was all in Japanese but they played the most terrific collection of rock classics we ever heard. Years later, after my sister married, she said she was once recollecting those old days with her husband and it turned out he and a friend of his were regular listeners to Super Rock KYOI too and had always thought they were the only ones around to know about it.

Just recently, we've been having FM radio via the local friendly neighbourhood AIR Aizawl, and I've been realising anew what fun radio is. It doesn't demand your complete attention like TV does and you can play it in the background while you do other things. Also I've been discovering that many bands who I cannot stand to watch are actually very listenable. Among them, the late Kurt Cobain and Nickleback. At least, without the distraction of their videos I can now appreciate why they've had had such success. What disappoints me though are the young radio jockeys. I don't know why they feel like they have to put on that very fake, exuberant sounding talk style, and some of the accents are so obviously put on, they make you cringe. Also their knowledge of the music they work with is so abysmally low it's very off putting. Quite clearly, these kids are products of a generation that grew up completely unaware of the joys of radio.


  1. The early bird catches the worm, an tih ang deuhin comment hmasak ber manah sawi teuh teh ang. Ka sawi bang in rawn sawi ve leh dawn nia :)

    AIR (Aizawl Station)-ah tlai dar 5:30 ah Vande Mataram an han sa tan ngei a, Vanhlupuii zai te, Thantluangi zai te, Siampuii Sailo zaite, Laikunga zai te, R. Sangzuala tingtang tum te, Dengrikhuma hawaiin tum te kan ngaihthla thap thin. 6:45 ah sap hla thar vak lo an rawn tichhuak a, dar 7:00 ah a tawp mai thin. Sunday zanah Music Box from The Voice of Germany kha an tichhuak ve tlat bawk thin a, Local RJ te nen an inthlau thei mai mai asin!!! Hla thlan hunte kha kan nghakhlel thei thin a nia aw (Billy R.C. Valtea, Pehlawn tih vel kha chu sawi kai lo law2 mai ang). Zan dar 7:45-ah Gauhati Station Mizo programme an relay thin a, khawk rum rumin Pahlira Sena Chawngthu chanchin thar chhiar kan ngaithla bawk thin.

    BBS (Burma Broadcasting Service), Rangoon chhun dar 12:30-ah kan ngaithla thin a, hla thlan huna an hming puan vel mak kan ti thei mai2. Radio Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) kan ngaithla bawk thin a, Paloma Blanca - George Baker Selection leh My Friend The Wind - Demis Rousseau te hi ka hmelhriat tanna a ni nghe nghe.

    VOA (Breakfast Show), BBC, Super Rock KYOI, Radio Australia (Countdown)... i rawn thlawh lunglenthlak hle mai. Glenys Dickson kha kan lo ralkhat star ve thei thin. Hla kan thlang tlut tlut thin a, kan hming a lam thiam lo thei rap... a pic nalh deuh leh post card chi hrang2 mi rawn thawn ve ngat. Mahse, ka uang lo.

  2. I love FM radio. Out here we have around six to seven channels, and even though most of them play Hindi and Telugu songs, there are some very good English programs too. Depending on the RJ who's hosting the show, you get to listen to different genres. It's fun, and if you're really good with the local languages, some of the programs are quite entertaining, the RJ's are young and witty and smart, a big hit with the college crowd.

    How's Aizawl FM? What kind of programs do they have? How are the RJ's? etc etc etc..

  3. samuapa, Super Rock KYOI in ngaithla ve thin maw?! A lar lo ropui emaw kan lo ti thin a mahse an thlawh nalh thei tiro? Kpoh Glenys Dickson pic nalh deuh ka nei ve zin zan. Mizo hla zu thlang vang2 thin kha an tamin ka hria. Vayadoot crash a thi ta Chhanhima Khatla ami poh kha a hrat thin. Ka lo * ru thin raps bawk :D Rangoon atanga ka hriat ho bikzual chu BeeGees' Don't forget to remember tih vel kha. An uar ve thei ngot mai. Chuan Radio Netherlands te poh kha in ngaihthla ve thin em?

    E chuan taka Radio Australia a thawk thin John Anderson tih emawni kha i hre thin em? Pa fel deuh, hlim thei tak, over viau si lo, dam dup kha a nia. A hnu khan a thi an tia cancer a lo vei reng a, a thawh chhung khan wheelchairah a lo thu reng thin te an tia. A ngaihsanawm ka ti bawn tawp kha pa kha...

  4. I don't know ambs, maybe it's because it's in the initial stage but like I said earlier, the RJs are a rather disappointing lot. I seriously doubt whether some of them have any listening experience of radio, not to speak of FM. They give out Mizo, English and thrice a week Hindi songs, and it's only from 5 to 10 pm at the mo. They don't have particular genres for particular RJs yet. Michael M Sailo, the rap artiste, is good as well as another guy who calls himself Charles. The others are kinda ewwwwy. That's in the English cat. The Mizo cat. kids are bland and boring. I think they need to develop their own styles, work on their individuality, feel less self-conscious, and quit sounding like regular mainstream AIR announcers.

  5. The much hyped FM that was launched recently is that bad? whoah.

    Me, I came out a little bit later than you guys. I was in the "Walkman rewinding cassettes with reynolds pen" era, so I didn't have much experience with the radio.

    But still it was great reading about the experiences you guys went through.

  6. Erm maybe it's just me being finicky about the FM kids. It's been just a couple of weeks yet so maybe they'll pull up their socks soon and get better. You knew cassette tapes? Funny but sometimes I think of you folks as such young people you're all from the CD generation. Big mistake, sorry. Oh yes, I remember those rewinding cassettes with pen sessions haha. We'd mostly do that on the bus home from Shillong while we were at University ... economising on the batteries et al.

  7. Very nostalgic. Made me recall all those wonderful moments listening to radio, just before the 'rewinding cassettes with pen' era. 'BBC Top Twenty' used to be a favourite - I still remember it was where I first heard Boney M's 'Rivers of Babylon'. I also recall BBS, Rangoon's 1230 show, VOA (Breakfast Show, etc.) Radio Australia Countdown, Radio Ceylon and, of course, the AIR Gauhati Mizo Programme.
    I, in fact, made a booklet of all my favorite radio stations, listing radio stations and their programmes with their timings from morning till late night - all days of the week - a quick ready reckoner of good radio programmes of a sort. I used to religiously mark the timings and note the radio station frequencies on that booklet. I remember a particular friend of mine who kept on borrowing that booklet and, I think, he was the one who ultimately misplaced it. If only that booklet was still around, it would bring back such sweet memories.
    Anyway, the 'rewinding cassettes with pen' era followed and quickly eclipsed radio.
    Thanks for another great, nostalgic piece.

  8. Sawi belh leh lawk -

    Super Rock KYOI kha Indonesia vel station emaw ka lo ti reng thin a!!! John Anderson kha ka hre deuh (chiang vak lo), ani kha chu International Top Hits host ni zawkin ka hria. Countdown mipa ka hriat lar leh deuh chu Mike Taft kha a nia. Glenys-i awm loh hnuah Jill Williams khan a rawn thlak ta bawk a. BBC-ah chuan John Peel leh Tommy Vance te kha ka duh thin. VOA-ah Alan Silverman leh Rust Woodgate te aw ngaihthlak a nuam ka ti thin bawk.

    Sunday zingah FEBC (Manila) kan han ngaithla ngei a, Pathian fakna hla an nei tha thei thin. Ngeiawm ve thin deuh chu - Raaadiooo PEKING kha, frequency an hmang chak thei ropui si a, a bula station dang tihbuai an hrat thei lutuk.

  9. Plats, pity, I'm sure if your little booklet were still around there'd be many items I'd be very familiar with. Did you ever follow Sports Roundup on the Beeb even after TV, namely Doordarshan, was around? I did...found it very informative too.

    Ni tiro samuapa, i ron sawi takah chuan Radio Peking kha midang jam buai kha an hna ve ber pakhat a niang! Mike Taft te poh nia ka hria. John Peel kha a dangdai ve ngot in ka hre ta. A style kha titi melh melh ang deuh khan a kal a, music kha a hre ropui bawk sia RJ bawn tak kha chu a ni chiang alom.

  10. Azl a ka awm ve lai khan unau a in luah kan ni a, TV ilo vel nei ve ta lo chu Radio ka ngaithla nasa thei asin aw. AIR Azl Statn In FM Radio prog a nei tih ka lo hria..a a lawmawm hle mai, taxi driver te tan a tangkai riau ania heng lai ah pawh han len chhuah nikhua hian english hla nalh deuh deuh an herh chhuak thin a, a tah ve riau.

    AIR station Prog ah chuan 6:30 pm ah Mizotawng Chanchinthar leh zing dar 7:30 a THLIRVELNA te kha aw, a ngaihthlak aman hla thin. Inrinni zan 9:30 ah "Ka hla duhzawng" tih te kha la awm tak maw? '98 kum khan ka Pa hovin Non-Formal Education Prog a broadcast tur Dialogue pakhat chu kan record ve a, kha bak kha chu AIR Station Azl ah hian ka kal leh tak pawh ka hre lo.

    Tukkhat chu 2001 kum ah khan December thla Cmas hnaih tawh deuh ah GNRC, Guwahati ah kan awm laiin fiah lo deuhin Azl station kan herh chhuak hlauh mai a, Krismas hla Vanlalzapi sak ni ta in ka hria. A lunglen thlak duh ang reng asin aw. C

    H/S ka kal laiin kan thenawm hnaih ah hian patling tar lam deuh tawh hi a awm a, chhunah In a nghak thin a, Radio a ngaithla peih zet mai a ni a, Lunch Break laiin In ka haw thin a, Chawhnu class ka kal leh tur hian AIR azl prog. a 'hlathlan' a lo ngaithlak thin avangin tunlai a hla lar deuh "An lung a leng ve ngei ang" tih R.Vanrammawi a hla te hi ka hriat phah a, a lunglen thlak duh khawp mai. Tunah chuan nie Radio hian Mizo te zingah pawh pawimawh na a nei tlem ta khawp mai.

  11. azassk, kei aiin i changkang zok anih chu. Kchu hei leh chen AIR Aizawl news etc ka lo ngaithla ve thin a mahse an station-ah hian ka la kal miah lo asin. Engtinge a awm poh ka la hre lo ka hnathawhna kawng chu a ni reng na in. Nangchu chu thil i lo record bik dim diam toh a hmmm tluk loh rim i nam :)

  12. I've been trying to tune in to the new radio FM thingy, but to no avail.Care to tell me what I'm doing wrong?

    I love radio too. We had this black radio transistor that faithfully served us for ages. I remember when I was a kid, my two elder sisters would tune in to BBC, VOA .. can't remember the names of the other channels. Good thing that with Radio FM, radio has come back into our lives. Let's hope we find some improvement in the RJs soon.

  13. Have you tried it from 5 to 10 pm? That's the only time slot for FM Zoawi yet. If you try it at any other time, 100.7 mghrtz will be deader than a doornail.

  14. hehe no I haven't. Didn't know there was a time slot. Thanks

  15. I bought a short-wave radio with my first salary in '81 and discovered Radio Australia; and Glenys Dickson! Things changed and time passed, but suddenly remembering that DJ, I went looking for her (here) on the net .. and found you!
    In fact, I found two other guys too who had listened to her and had mentioned her in a post around 2015! However sadly, there is no trace of Glenys Dickson herself (or what happened to her) on the net.

    1. Wow Balaji, imagine that. And this is such an old post, almost 10 years old, in fact! I have no idea whatsoever about Glenys either. Hopefully she's still happily alive and kicking somewhere in Australia.