Post by Tony de Sa
to the radio
(MADE IN INDIA )
Tony, Sir! Please tell me where you can get a decent made-in-India
radio! I have been trying unsucessfully for ages now, and am finally
reduced to listening to Internet radio, using the BMP Free Software
As a radio fan, I've struggled from my times as a sixth-standard
student trying to rig up my own Jetking "pocket" transistor in the
1960 and 1970s (Rs 65, if I recall right), to gifting myself a largish
four-band Phillips receiver that cost exactly a month's salary when I
quit a Goa-based newspaper in 1987 (a princely Rs 1060 then!)
Prior to this, while in school, my dad bought a three-in-one (LP
records, AM and MW!) which was the size of a big trunk from Mr Dalal
(at Mapusa, I think... or maybe Panjim) for Rs 1500. After using it
well for awhile, we fiddled hard and long with the valves behind,
hoping they would somehow light up and catch some distant radio
Those were the days when DX-ing (tuning into 'distant' and 'unknown'
radio stations, hence the term DX) was still a hobby. ]
Remember 73s, anyone?
After that, sometimes in the 1990s when it was more possible to access
foreign products, I tried my luck with Sony digital radios. Goa's high
humidity probably was behind the problem of them not lasting long. My
technologically-challenged inabilities to build outdoor antennas
Even in days when radio is seen as dead, I still remember the pleasure
this simple instrument once offered us. For instance, there was this
radio play on the Voice of America, which sounded so realistic and
dramatic... I could almost recall still what the plot was about.
Post by Tony de Sa
From a tiny Goa largely isolated from the outside world, we tried
'catching' some distant stations whenever possible. There were 'free'
Bible courses (not Catholic, of course!) to tempt you into tuning in
more frequently. I managed to get books to study Dutch, German and
Russian -- and worked on all equally unsucessfully -- through the
radio stations themselves.
After sending in ten (or was it 20?) international reply coupons, each
worth Rs 2.50 in those days, I got access to a neat, blue tee-shirt
which said in bright yellow alphabets (or, "letters of the alphabet",
as Cecil would note): 'Keep in touch -- Radio Sweden' on it. After
wearing it for five years, I passed it on to my brother, who got into
it for probably another two! In 1998, a chance to visit Stockholm
actually took me to visit the towers of Radio Sweden, and meet up with
the Brazilian lady who manned the international services then!
We got tourist brochures showing the wonderful wildlife of (then)
Apartheid-ruled South Africa, and "No neutron bomb!" badges from Erich
Honecker's German Democratic Republic (though I later reached West
Berlin just as Die Berliner Mauer was being chipped away in 1990 as
both sides of the divided city drew Third World journalists, trying to
impress how "superior" their political system was compared to the
It wasn't a small world then, but the radio waves made it somewhat so...
The memories that author Domnic "Domnic's Goa" Fernandes put across of
All India Radio some time ago brought back a whole lot of memories. Of
course, those were times dominated by "political correctness", and so
the programmes on AIR-Panaji were heavily dominated by a classical
fare, and a lot of pan-Indian (rather than regional, Goan) content.
The afternoon English-Konkani sessions did strike a chord, of course.
Imelda Tavora, who has just released a second book of her writing, a
sequeal to her earlier autobiography, was a household name, and the
successor of Emissora Goa played a key role in keeping local Konkani
music (in particular, the cantaram) alive and kicking... specially by
connecting the diaspora Bombay Goans community with home. Maybe Alfred
Rose, Chris Perry, Lorna and the other Bombay-based personalities
wouldn't have been such big figures minus radio.
We also tuned in to the occasional radio tiatr, and Saturday Date came
in from Bombay from 10 to 11 pm -- when the wind was favourable!
Getting the Wednesday half-hour of Western music from the same source
was also a struggle.
At one time, in the 1970s or 1980s, if you walked by a village street
in the morning, every second Christian house seemed to be tuned in to
Radio Ceylon/later, the SLBC. Wonder where are those Fernando and
other popular RJs (radio jockeys, to use today's term) who seemed to
be having a fun time on the airwaves! The more affluent families in
our parts of Bardez would tune in to Radio Australia, at 11-ish in the
morning... as this station needed superior radio equipment to to stay
tuned in to, specially since radio airwaves propagation isn't that
successful in the daytime as compared to night.
Anyway, your above comment Tony was just an opportunity to diagress.
Still searching for a good radio. The Chinese, 140-200 rupees ones are
fairly useful and portable, but probably not the kind you'd use if you
still believe that the airwaves could be a window to a wide world!
For now, I'll make do with my software radio. FN
PS: Oh, I almost forgot my long time love affair with WorldSpace
(including writing articles on it). Unfortunately, this very
interesting satellite radio experiment came to a close in India on Dec
31 last (2009), when its corporate offices abruptly announced its
subscribers that its services would no longer be available in this
country. Whatever happened to Noah Samara's
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