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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:  7 be the first call letter as Z was assigned to all Caribbean stations. Deciding on the other call letters was not settled until, as the story goes, at a cocktail party the N and S were added to mean Z for Zephyr, N for Nassau and S for Sunshine. On month after the station went on the air it was renamed ZNS. 12 In 1937, the station was so small it was said that it could fit into a Volkswagen. According to another version of the story, the station had two records, one broken and the other scratched. In 1937, The Bahamas was still a British colony, few Bahamians had electricity, many read by kerosene lamp, and television was still in its infancy in developed countries. Blacks were not allowed in the movie houses and hotels as guests, and men worked for less than a dollar a day. ZNS was put on the air for £750 pounds ($3,705 at 1937 £-$ exchange). The broadcast was made on the same frequency as that used for the wireless station VP7NF, 618. It had a broadcasting power of 500 watts. 13 Its first location was the Snappy Hat Shop on the corner of Union Street and Shirley Street. This two-room building was not the best location for a radio station. The building was not designed for radio broadcasting; the acoustics were poor and the rooms were too small. Further, because the building was near the street, the constant flow of traffic created interference. 14 This location was a temporary one until the station’s new home was built the following year in the Telegraph Department. The station was first operated by part time workers; employees of the Telegraph Department and local volunteers. The first permanent staff consisted of a young Englishman, Kenneth Patrick Brown, an English woman, Rosemund Meeres, and a white Bahamian, Harcourt R. “Rusty” Bethel. Brown was hired in 1938 as Secretary of Broadcasting. Bethel joined the Telegraph Department in 1938 and later joined ZNS in 1943 as secretary of out island broadcasting. It was his job to set up community radios throughout the islands so that ZNS could

Authors: Storr, Juliette.
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7
be the first call letter as Z was assigned to all Caribbean stations. Deciding on the other call
letters was not settled until, as the story goes, at a cocktail party the N and S were added to mean
Z for Zephyr, N for Nassau and S for Sunshine. On month after the station went on the air it was
renamed ZNS.
12
In 1937, the station was so small it was said that it could fit into a Volkswagen.
According to another version of the story, the station had two records, one broken and the other
scratched.
In 1937, The Bahamas was still a British colony, few Bahamians had electricity, many
read by kerosene lamp, and television was still in its infancy in developed countries. Blacks were
not allowed in the movie houses and hotels as guests, and men worked for less than a dollar a
day. ZNS was put on the air for £750 pounds ($3,705 at 1937 £-$ exchange). The broadcast was
made on the same frequency as that used for the wireless station VP7NF, 618. It had a
broadcasting power of 500 watts.
13
Its first location was the Snappy Hat Shop on the corner of Union Street and Shirley
Street. This two-room building was not the best location for a radio station. The building was not
designed for radio broadcasting; the acoustics were poor and the rooms were too small. Further,
because the building was near the street, the constant flow of traffic created interference.
14
This
location was a temporary one until the station’s new home was built the following year in the
Telegraph Department.
The station was first operated by part time workers; employees of the Telegraph
Department and local volunteers. The first permanent staff consisted of a young Englishman,
Kenneth Patrick Brown, an English woman, Rosemund Meeres, and a white Bahamian, Harcourt
R. “Rusty” Bethel. Brown was hired in 1938 as Secretary of Broadcasting. Bethel joined the
Telegraph Department in 1938 and later joined ZNS in 1943 as secretary of out island
broadcasting. It was his job to set up community radios throughout the islands so that ZNS could


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