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Hooray, it’s World Radio Day, but cockroaches are boring us to death

Today, we revisit the story of the boy and the radio, told over and over again in villages where the radio made its entry long before TV and radio streaming.

Today we tell how the boy’s first love was his father’s radio – an old Sanyo that, those days, did not ‘catch’ FM, but only ‘catched’ MW.

So, the boy would wake up to his father’s radio, spend the day beside his father’s radio, and go to bed listening to his father’s radio.

One thing puzzled the boy about the radio – how could all those people whose voices he heard fit inside the small transistor radio? How come they never seemed to keep quiet? Were they his father’s friends?

And so it came to pass that the boy’s curiosity grew with age, and boys being boys, he set out on a journey to meet all those people speaking inside his father’s radio. Armed with a screw driver, the boy waited until his father had gone to the farm, then painstakingly unscrewed the old transistor radio open.

Even before it was completely open, a rush of startled cockroaches poured out. The boy gasped in astonishment – for he finally knew who had been talking inside his father’s radio all along. Her had finally met the radio presenters – the cockroaches!

Fast-forward to today, and the roaches still broadcast on our radios. The intrusion of roaches grows thicker every day, with nearly 200 commercial FM radio stations and tens of community radios. Even with the entry of newspapers, TV and the internet, the radio is still King. The roaches inside the radio have grown in size and voice!

But unlike the roaches of yore, our modern roaches make little sense on air. The roaches in the boy’s transistor radio taught him all manner of lessons that a boy needed to learn – from rabbit keeping, how to feed his father’s cows, all through to the basics of good manners.

And as he grew older, the roaches opened up the world for him. He would know what was happening in worlds far, far away.

They do not do this anymore. Today’s roaches seem intent on making as much racket as possible while teaching very little. Today’s roaches teach very little about things that matter in life, like food security, health, development, family planning, patriotism… name it.

Today’s radio roaches do not even come close to the roaches of the 60s, 70s and 80s when well trained and professional roaches ran the show. Instead, today’s roach broadcasters come in all weird manner and form: from comedians cracking old, stale, sexist jokes to fake American accents on afternoon ‘radio shows.’

It is easy to be a radio cockroach today; you do not need any training at all, no you don’t. All you need is a loudmouth and a mic.

Today’s roaches need no radio programme like the roaches of yore, because the programmes run the same: music, talk-shop, more music, more talk-shop, a sprinkle of sex here and there, and more music.

Which is why the World Radio Day on February 11 went largely uncelebrated in Kenya’s rapidly mushrooming radio scene. Our modern radio cockroaches -now grown fatter and noisier – did not seem to notice – they went on playing music like life is one endless party.

1 thought on “Hooray, it’s World Radio Day, but cockroaches are boring us to death”

  1. How did the boy’s natural curiosity evolve as he grew older, eventually leading him to embark on a mission to uncover the mystery behind the voices he heard inside his father’s radio? Could you elaborate on the steps he took, including using a screwdriver to open the transistor radio in his father’s absence, and what motivated him to take such actions?

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