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Reflections on the Past, Questions of the Future--Public Service Broadcasting: A Case Study of The Bahamas Broadcasting System,
Unformatted Document Text:  5 The Early Years 1920-1937 In the early 1900s, the use of wireless service in the colony and radio broadcasting from the United States only served to whet Bahamian appetites for a broadcast radio station of their own. By the 1920s, the increased interest in radio was probably important for broadcasting in the colony. Radio was making an impression not only on the ordinary citizen, but community leaders were also pressing the government for radio broadcasting for the colony. Like its paternal colonizer, The Bahamas followed the lead of Great Britain and assessed a five shillings license fee each year for radio receivers. This tax would prove to be a continuing source of irritation for radio owners because the fee was collected years before the colony had its own broadcasting service. This meant that citizens were being taxed for radio receivers that were picking up Florida spill over signals. As a result, very few persons paid the license fee which eventually was abandoned in 1956. 5 The first radio station began in the islands in December 1930 as an experiment. A British citizen and a Bahamian citizen, C. Ravenhill-Smith and Harold Chipman, respectively, operated the experimental station V1-BAX in Nassau (the capital city) for approximately three months. They had hoped to obtain a license from the government to operate a station in Nassau but were not granted one because The Bahamas government wanted to introduce radio. The experimental station created considerable local interest. The programs ranged from concerts that featured local talent such as Cambridge’s orchestra, Art Meallet’s Serenaders, and J.O. Riddel to the broadcast of a rugby game. 6 When the station ceased experimental broadcasting continued on the Telegraph Department’s wireless stations—VPN, VP7NF and ZFS. The first serious discussion of broadcast radio for the colony occurred in 1927. 7 But, it was not until a decade later that The Bahamas acquired a permanent radio station. For about ten

Authors: Storr, Juliette.
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5
The Early Years 1920-1937
In the early 1900s, the use of wireless service in the colony and radio broadcasting from
the United States only served to whet Bahamian appetites for a broadcast radio station of their
own. By the 1920s, the increased interest in radio was probably important for broadcasting in the
colony. Radio was making an impression not only on the ordinary citizen, but community leaders
were also pressing the government for radio broadcasting for the colony. Like its paternal
colonizer, The Bahamas followed the lead of Great Britain and assessed a five shillings license
fee each year for radio receivers. This tax would prove to be a continuing source of irritation for
radio owners because the fee was collected years before the colony had its own broadcasting
service. This meant that citizens were being taxed for radio receivers that were picking up
Florida spill over signals. As a result, very few persons paid the license fee which eventually was
abandoned in 1956.
5
The first radio station began in the islands in December 1930 as an experiment. A British
citizen and a Bahamian citizen, C. Ravenhill-Smith and Harold Chipman, respectively, operated
the experimental station V1-BAX in Nassau (the capital city) for approximately three months.
They had hoped to obtain a license from the government to operate a station in Nassau but were
not granted one because The Bahamas government wanted to introduce radio. The experimental
station created considerable local interest. The programs ranged from concerts that featured local
talent such as Cambridge’s orchestra, Art Meallet’s Serenaders, and J.O. Riddel to the broadcast
of a rugby game.
6
When the station ceased experimental broadcasting continued on the
Telegraph Department’s wireless stations—VPN, VP7NF and ZFS.
The first serious discussion of broadcast radio for the colony occurred in 1927.
7
But, it
was not until a decade later that The Bahamas acquired a permanent radio station. For about ten


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