LISTENING TO THE RADIO
This morning (Sunday 28.3.2021) I am listening to Radio Sheffield on my iPad. The iPad is connected to my home Wifi using the Unifi 100Mbs package. This Unifi connectivity enables me to watch movies from any where on planet earth. This is a big contrast in my life because I was born in 1952 in a village in Kelantan where we only got electricity in the 1980s! I only could watch black and white TV in 1965 back then when I joined a full boarding school, SDAR, Tanjung Malim, Perak. TV only arrived at Malaysia’s shore in 1964.
Listening to Radio Sheffield brought me back to the time when I was a student at Sheffield University in 1973–76. During that time I could only afford a transistor radio. My friends can afford their own stereo sets to listen to vinyl records. Those were the early days of The Beatles. When I was younger in Malaysia, I have no interest to listen to the radio other than the news. I prefer to watch movies on TV.
My interest in radio listening began in Sheffield because I was alone in my dig(room) with no family members. My friends were limited to Malaysian students only which I could count with my fingers. Radio is a cheap and entertaining electronic device to keep me company whenever I am alone. That was more than 45 years ago. By the way, there were no smartphones yet at that time!
Nowadays, youngsters are very lucky compared to my generation. We are now senior citizens and I am a grandfather to seven kids. I worked with a mainframe computer as big as a house. Now, every adult has a smart phone-small enough to fit their own pockets. It has everything- telephone, camera, calculator, radio, TV etc.
As an engineer, I love electronic gadgets. Before the smartphones become mainstream, I bought Palm Pilot in the late ’90s and got it connected via Infra-red to my Siemens mobile phone to send messages. Later, my techy interest moved to Radio Communication. It began in 2013 when I mixed with Ham Radio Operators. I found a reason to buy a pair of cheap walkie-walkie from China to use them during my cycling activities. This was to facilitate communication between the ride leader and the ride sweeper. It is an easy and cheap way to talk while we are cycling.
To upgrade my radio communication, I attended a course and sat for the examination conducted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Corporation so that I can become a licensed radio operator. Knowledge is important so that I could understand how radio works and a licence is necessary to comply with the legal regulations. Passion is not enough to be a radio communicator. Whatever we do, must have the right knowledge and skills in order to excel in our work either for business or pleasure. In case of emergency communication, it is a matter of life and death. For professionals, we have to be competent in our own subject matter of interest. Every radio operator worldwide will have their own callsign when we communicate with one another. Mine is 9W2PAD.(nine whisky two papa alpha delta). Radio is now more than 100 years old. It was a very great and useful communication tool during World War 11. That is another interesting story.
Many people think Radio Broadcasting will be dead with the arrival of TV in Malaysia in 1964. I was twelve years old back then. Surprisingly, the radio survived the onslaught of TV and now Radio is becoming more popular during pandemic COVIT-19. Now, we have 24 Radio stations in Malaysia and most of them are making money. Voice matters more than just written words. The podcast is getting popular by the day-just like Facebook. I love the podcast because it allows me to listen to radio talks or music on my own time. Personally, I also took the opportunity of using podcasts to talk and coach on project management. To listen, you can look for Simply Project on Spotify.
COVID-19 Pandemic is a great factor that boosted radio listeners and radio broadcasting since March 2020. More and more people go back to listen to the radio when they have to remain more indoors. With national lockdowns and movement control orders, people are forced to stay more at home and also to work from home. We cannot do work while watching TV but we can do work and also listen to the radio.
Talking about radio stations in the university campus, they need to be rejuvenated with new ideas and more funds to provide service for the campus community and the neighbouring areas.
Radio is an old technology but when cellular telephones failed to work during floods or storms, the good old radio communication is still reliable. It is not the technology but more on how we use the technology matters more.