Monday, June 21, 2010

Wagon in the Sun

A very colourful display took my eye whilst having a leisurely lunch in Dundrum and I bolted on the wide angle lens and wandered across. RTE has changed over the years but I continue to have a soft spot for its radio broadcasts. Back in my schooldays, the BBC could only play cover versions of popular tunes, because of its rather antiquated copyright arrangements. But RTE did not have this limitation and since I was in the West of Scotland, I could (with a little bit of fine tuning) receive its signal well enough. Interestingly, the Ireland "top ten" was quite a mixed bag and the increasingly popular Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem often rubbed shoulders with the likes of the Beach Boys! But pirate radio was on the horizon and I eventually defected to Radio Caroline and the other seaborne followers. Radio is quite a different medium to television. Much more intimate, it offers the listener a different kind of engagement and we can imagine it's one to one. Radio stations, certainly in these old days, were more than happy to answer mail, partly due to the opportunity to track their station's signal strength and modulation. The arrangement was that a report could be submitted by the listener and an acknowledging "QSL" card would return in due course. I am uncertain whether this procedure still takes place. I would be delighted to find that it was.