Here in the Philippines radio stations are almost all commercial, including those run by various dioceses, depending on advertising or on selling ‘block time’, usually to local politicians. AM stations play mostly ‘soaps’ in the local language or councillors or would-be councillors shouting into the microphone and criticising their off-air opponents as if they were addressing a public meeting.
FM stations play mostly colourless contemporary music – where are the great songwriters of the 20s, 30s and 40s? – introduced by DJs speaking English and trying to sound like Americans, with a nasal ‘mid-Pacific’ accent and for ever telling you that the time is ‘one - or whatever - o’ clack’. Some even use American names instead of their own.
Some years ago I met a young man here in Bacolod who used to be a DJ and he told me he deliberately put on what he thought was an American accent.
Yesterday, Sunday, I was driving on my way to hear the confessions of some young people making a recollection. The schedule was the unearthly hour of 1:30pm when I’d normally be in bed. I had a station in that I never listen to, but that had passable music. The DJ was a young woman with a pseudo-American twang, speaking a mixture of Tagalog and English, not unusual here, where conversations are often a mixture of two or even three languages, changing in mid-sentence.
Then the young DJ, whom I had more or less dismissed in my mind, signed off and in doing so said very simply to the listeners, most of whom were probably teenagers and young adults, ‘Don’t forget our Sunday obligation to go to church and thank God for our blessings’.
Yesterday was a particularly good day for me, despite missing my siesta, and that young DJ’s simple expression of faith was one of God’s blessings.