On 20th of April my friends and I were interviewed by a reporter of Bhutan Broadcasting Service Radio for lhotsamkha programme. This reminded me of my childhood days, how I grew up listening to radio programme.
|Monk and Sanyasi from BBS Radio in the making of program|
During my childhood days, radio used to be my friend. I can truly say that I grew up listening to the one and only national radio station in our country BBS radio. Currently, we have few other entertaining private radio stations, which pleases me. They are Kuzoo FM, Radio Valley 99.9 FM & Yiga Radio 94.7 FM (although the latter two do not have overall coverage like BBS). When I was younger, radio was a very valuable part of our everyday lives. Because we did not have social networking unlike today. Let me share my fond memories with BBS Radio beginning during my early teenage years.
We never noticed when our mother would be awake in the morning but we definitely knew once she tuned in the radio. And that's how wonderfully our day would begin, hearing Buddhist prayers and teachings given by eminent rinpoche's, masters, scholars & other important figures. She kept her radio ON throughout the day until she went to bed at night. Otherwise she might switch off only if she is concerned about radio getting overheat. One may have heard repetitive news broadcast and ads if you have happened to visit us those days. I developed some kind of attachment to radio broadcasts just like my mother! I loved listening to radio in all the languages they broadcasted during the scheduled times. Perhaps that could be the reason why I am good, at least I consider that I'm good, in Dzongkha, English and Lhotsamkha. Having said that, I would also love to boast that I know some other dialects too: local and international dialects. I've always loved listening to songs and I would sing along when they were played on the radio. Best of all, I really enjoyed live call-in shows because the chances of listening to super hit songs was very high. Being a regular listener, I'd be the one hoping and even expecting people to select the songs that I enjoyed. When I was disappointed with their song selection I couldn’t help but badmouth the situation.
Those days new & hit songs would be played on radio while people who could afford tape would listen on the cassettes. Cassette tapes were used very often to listen to stories and comedies. A poor yet passionate listener like myself had to borrow tapes from friends. You would not believe how much some of us shed our tears listening to Rangdol and Yangden, local romantic stories. I will always remember the numerous times that I spent rewinding cassettes to listen over and over and over to my favourite songs.
Later, Kuzoo FM even came up with a great idea of creating groups among interested callers. Regular callers would be the stars of the shows and known by all the regular listeners. I still remember those radio stars, some living far behind the snow flaked mountains, some in the deep valley and some in the deepest forest and enthusiastically they all connected themselves through Kuzoo family. Kuzoo family is a group of interested callers with unique group’s name and member’s having a nickname, they dedicate songs and pass message to each other through radio. People throughout Bhutan became like family through these radio groups.
It was a platform to share their personal problems. People were able to get help from others and benefit by sharing information within a large group of radio listeners. Social connections with radio was effective and efficient. Although it wasn’t perfect it was very good for connecting people with solutions to people in difficult situations.
Unlike today, music producers and businesses had a tough time marketing their products when I was growing up since there were limited means of reaching the consumers. Radio was the most popular way to reach customers in every corner of the country.
My many past memories of listening to the radio come to my mind as I enjoy listening to radio today.