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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:  6 years, there was divided opinion in the House of Assembly on the proposal for building a radio station in Nassau and nothing happened. Finally, on November 4, 1936, Governor Bede Clifford, in his opening address to the House of Assembly, requested funds for a government operated broadcasting station. The Bill was passed unanimously in mid-November 1936. 8 The station had several delays and postponed its on-air date twice before it finally came on the air May 11, 1937 as VP7NF. The delays were due to the difficulty of finding a location for the studio, late arrival of equipment and negotiations with Performing Rights Society, Reuters and BBC for copyrights. 9 The station began with very little fanfare. Its inauguration was overshadowed by an even greater world event—the coronation of King George V (May 12, 1937). The station began broadcasting on the eve of the coronation, at 8:30 p.m. with announcements and the weather report. On May 12, 1937, the day of the coronation, the station started broadcasting at 4:15 a.m. with a special re- broadcast of the coronation procession and ceremony at Westminister Abbey. 10 After the coronation activities the station began its regular schedule for the experimental period, one and a half hours a day. By the end of May the station increased its operations to two hours daily with the addition of a half-hour midday program for the Out Islands. The additional program consisted of BBC news, local news (from the Nassau Guardian and Nassau Tribune—free of charge) and musical recordings from the BBC. The early days of radio reception in The Bahamas were characterized by the continual problem of interference. Most of the interference was caused by the primitive equipment of the Nassau wireless station, which was operated by the Telegraph Department. In those beginning years ZNS came under considerable attack for poor quality programming and a lack of professionalism. One islander reported, “It was a scrawny excuse for a radio station, with a sound transmission sounding like a rake and scrape band.” 11 Another islander described the early radio station as “all static.” Others said that ZNS was didactic. Even the name was a problem - Z had to

Authors: Storr, Juliette.
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years, there was divided opinion in the House of Assembly on the proposal for building a radio
station in Nassau and nothing happened. Finally, on November 4, 1936, Governor Bede Clifford,
in his opening address to the House of Assembly, requested funds for a government operated
broadcasting station. The Bill was passed unanimously in mid-November 1936.
8
The station had
several delays and postponed its on-air date twice before it finally came on the air May 11, 1937
as VP7NF. The delays were due to the difficulty of finding a location for the studio, late arrival
of equipment and negotiations with Performing Rights Society, Reuters and BBC for copyrights.
9
The station began with very little fanfare. Its inauguration was overshadowed by an even greater
world event—the coronation of King George V (May 12, 1937). The station began broadcasting
on the eve of the coronation, at 8:30 p.m. with announcements and the weather report. On May
12, 1937, the day of the coronation, the station started broadcasting at 4:15 a.m. with a special re-
broadcast of the coronation procession and ceremony at Westminister Abbey.
10
After the
coronation activities the station began its regular schedule for the experimental period, one and a
half hours a day. By the end of May the station increased its operations to two hours daily with
the addition of a half-hour midday program for the Out Islands. The additional program consisted
of BBC news, local news (from the Nassau Guardian and Nassau Tribune—free of charge) and
musical recordings from the BBC.
The early days of radio reception in The Bahamas were characterized by the continual
problem of interference. Most of the interference was caused by the primitive equipment of the
Nassau wireless station, which was operated by the Telegraph Department. In those beginning
years ZNS came under considerable attack for poor quality programming and a lack of
professionalism. One islander reported, “It was a scrawny excuse for a radio station, with a sound
transmission sounding like a rake and scrape band.”
11
Another islander described the early radio
station as “all static.” Others said that ZNS was didactic. Even the name was a problem - Z had to


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