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     Volume 6 Issue 41 | October 26, 2007 |

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Not much foorti on radio today


Allow me, if you will, to begin with some perks of being over 50, that's years, just so that you get into receiving mode of ordinarily broadcast material, which is the extraordinary matter in today's agenda. These are circulating on the [jokes dot net] site. Mine have been supplied by a friend approaching the sexagenarian stage. That has nothing to do with what you think it has to do with.

Here they are:
*Kidnappers are not very interested in you
*In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first
*People call at 9 pm and ask, 'Did I wake you?'
*People no longer view you as a hypochondriac
*You are likely to outlast things that you buy now
*You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room
*Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off
*Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service
*Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either
*You can't remember who sent you this list

And yet another grave matter noticeable these days is that if you are over 50, 40, 30 there will not be any programme for you on our local FM radio, although there is more than one.

Take the case of their traffic updates. While not wanting to be judgmental about their authenticity, for a start it is a non-starter. If anything, it is read faster than the traffic being dealt with.

Moving it is from Farmgate to Malibagh at a slow rate with some jam at Mohakhali while that moving from Gulistan to Shyamoli is stuck at Bangla Motor with speed picking up at Magh Bazaar

Try it any day or night. It is incomprehensible to a sane young man of twenty sitting at home, let alone a pentagenarian driver debating whether to buy a dozen of lemons for Taka ten before the lights turn to green again.

Eighty-eight or eighty nine, almost every single arjey has the similar sing-song theme, different names though, and to a great extent the same happy-don't-care attitude, and a highly Banglicised accent, more or less. Esemes after esemes keep flowing in conveying feelings that are supposedly matters of immense interest, one can only presume, to a section of listeners who are interested in thumping music only, 24x7x60.

The radio stations may have targeted younger people for whatever reason, but to be honest the seniors should have more quality time to spend on what runs in the ether of their times. As far as the music and compeering for the juvenile are concerned, the radios do a reasonably good job.

But is this the right use of our radio? Such a powerful tool, as it is. Is there nothing that we want to hear on radio deeper than romantic lyrics of some popular songs? Or, for that matter, who has what vibes for whom. Do they the listeners and those who phone-in not deserve to discuss the more serious pursuits of life? The future? Career? Family life? Social behaviour? Our War of Liberation? Our heroes of the day? Their heroics? Our upcoming talents? Energy issues? Health? Mother and child? The economy? How the young of today, their very target group, shall tomorrow lead this nation?

Now it is all very easy to say that there are other fora to reflect on and talk about such matters. The point is a radio station (when there are only two) cannot be twenty-four hours dedicated to a particular brand of people, nor can it be exclusively wasted on fun and frolics. There is more to life than entertainment, for even amusement requires the backing of a sound health and solid economy.

To further the slow damage of our youth, a radio station has a bizarre fascination for alien songs, Hindi, Urdu, English, you name it. Arrey Bhai! This is a radio station broadcasting from Dhaka. While applying for a government permit they must have committed to herald the culture of this timeless nation. They should have been granted the right to broadcast in this country based on their resolve to represent Bangladesh in mind, body and soul, in politics and culture, in news and views. One wonders the basis of their audacity and wisdom in ushering in quite unnecessarily tu agar kabhi bhi jaye...

If our local TV channels, so many of them, can successfully run for years without the aid of their bideshi counterparts, then why should these radios have to rely so much on hum-tum, and idhar-udhar? Can you imagine one single radio station in any of the even SAARC countries, despite the brotherhood, to be even intermittently playing Bangla songs of Bangladeshi artistes? Unthinkable, tai na! And here, a radio station does it as if they were broadcasting from the roof top of some town in Maharashtra or a cave in NWFP. This is not on.

Foorti or not foorti, today or tomorrow, radio or TV, there is no reason whatsoever to play alien songs as a routine on our local radio stations. That is not why this nation has sacrificed so much for so long. That is not why the government of Bangladesh granted the broadcasting license. This is the time to rectify. Please.

For those of you, who are above 50, forward this message to every one you can remember. That should not be difficult. For the rest, it is mandatory.

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