by Alagi Yorro Jallow.
Fatoumatta: World Radio Day is an international day celebrated on 13 February each year. The Day was decided by UNESCO on 3 November 2011 during its 36th conference. Radio is the most effective way of delivering information. It is a free, democratic, and trusted one. It has the broadest geographical reach and the most astounding audiences than the Internet, television, and newspapers.
World Radio Day 2021 celebrates radio as part of humanity’s history by following the various developments in our society and adapting its services. “New World, New Radio” is, therefore, an ode to the resilience of radio. It is a tribute to its capacity for perpetual adaptation at the rate of societal transformations and listeners’ new needs.
Radio is affordable, cheap, and accessible anywhere and anytime, and radio reaches a broad audience. It presents itself as an arena where all voices can be expressed, represented, and heard hence why radio is still the most consumed medium worldwide today.
Radio Gambia connects with hundreds of thousands of Gambians on-air, online, and in-person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be human. Radio Gambia makes local stories national, national stories local, and global stories personal.
Fatoumatta: Brilliant radio commentators/presenters are the voice of any radio station; they create the station’s tone and style and establish a relationship for listeners. An excellent radio commentator/ presenter knows how to captivate and engage their audience. One could not help but think about those glory days of Radio Gambia, particularly during Independence anniversary celebrations or when covering national events. When early mornings police and school children parades at the central Mccarthy Square and the afternoon sports events marking the anniversary, the volume of radio Gambia would be brought down, and the volume of the radio cranked up so that we could hear either any of the voices Saul Njie, Bora Mboge, Malick Jones, Alhagie Mansour Njie, Lalo Samateh, Assan Njie, Sering Faye, Modou Joof, Mbemba Tambedou, Ebrima Cole, Amie Joof -Cole, Christiana Thomas, Maimouna Bah, Jainaba Njie, Ida Jobe, Neneh MacDouall-Gaye, Marcel Thomasi, Alieu Darboe, Saikou Beyai, and Musa Camara and many others commenting and reporting. We heard them reporting during the historic Independence Day activities. Their commentary is comprised of stars like top-notch. The faces behind the voices: They are the Gambia’s best broadcast journalists and traditional commentators.
Moreover, their competencies are beyond contestation with deadpan humor, and talent is their other names. Now that they are the subject of near-endless social media chatter and household names in the Gambia, it is only proper that they are given Gambia’s highest honors. Moreover, the way Gambians are effusively singing praises for them—the missing voices.
Reporting, analysis, and commentary — those are the three predominant types of content those glorious days of Radio Gambia’s newsroom offers listeners. Reporting and analysis make up most of what Radio Gambia puts out, especially during Independence anniversary celebrations. However, it is the tiny category of commentary and political also cultural commentary, specifically, since that makes up the majority of Radio Gambia reporting at national events) that is driving an excessive number of listeners to nostalgia.
Fatoumatta: In my experience as a young adult, Radio Gambia offers to its listeners national and global news, current affairs, developmental journalism, entertainment journalism, sports journalism, diverse cultural journalism, and programs on religion, health and reproductive journalism, and other specialized magazine programs on women and gender-related journalism. Diversity and originality are vital; those voices offer something that will engage the people they cannot get elsewhere. An excellent professional sound on-air sure helps. Furthermore, personality and people like to be entertained as well as informed. It also helps to know the target audience nationwide. The humorous per se, from the Queen’s English language and vernacular commentary and reporting, has been an attribute of Radio Gambia’s trademarks and its pool of brilliant staff.
Radio Gambia sticks with the sparring partner format but switches up the voices, adding diversity and perspectives. That is more work for the producers, but listeners would hear various viewpoints they are not getting now.
Fatoumatta: Finally, Radio Gambia has done away with professionalism in commentary and reporting its trademark public broadcasting, at least on the radio. Change is hard, and Radio Gambia has considered English and traditional communication to be an essential part of its mix of offerings for decades. Nevertheless, one thing the journalism world is not lacking these days is opinions. What if Radio Gambia took that time and devoted it to more reporting current affairs and national events?