… Radio talk show fan hits Jackpot
I really did not want to call that day. I had no intention of calling in when the live discussion started on Radio I95.5 with Minister of Works and Infrastructure and ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner as the studio’s special guest. But I just couldn’t help it.
I must confess that I enjoy radio talk shows.
Over the years, I have found them to be good outlets for allowing citizens to actively engage in utilising our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. And I think our willingness to use this privilege auger well for our young democracy and shows that we are growing as a people.
Okay, so the content that some callers bring to the table occasionally forces us to question our education system; but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
I started calling into talk shows a few years ago though not on a regular basis. It was more of an indulgence than a staple.
Hey, I’m a busy woman and it can be so difficult to get on. I’m an accountant with deadlines, people to manage and friends and family to focus on; so I just don’t have time to hit the redial button repeatedly in the hope that I will hit the jackpot and get on air.
I’ve always been a little envious as to how some callers would get on programmes so regularly; twice in one session sometimes. I definitely belong to the more infrequent group of guests that, as we say in local parlance, catch “we royal nenen”.
I try to restrict myself to topics that I’m really passionate and knowledgeable and situations where I feel something must be clarified or corrected.
Even now, years after my debut, it is still a nerve wracking experience.
As I hear the phone ringing, I would take a few deep breaths and gather my thoughts. I try to focus on one or two key points that I want to get across in the minute I have to do so.
This is another reason I hardly call in. One minute. That’s it.
I find it is not worth the trouble of repeated redialing for three to five minutes or longer just to say my piece in one minute or less.
I really tried not to call that day. But the topic was the High Court battle between the 13 World Cup 2006 players and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and it was too important to me.
The issues of this court matter bother me to the core. It involves football (I'm a fanatic), possible fraud, ethics and legal jousting.
The case strikes me as David versus Goliath and you can guess who I'm rooting for.
I've followed every twist and turn in the case; so I consider myself more knowledgeable on the issue than the average man in the street and feel compelled to throw in my two cents whenever the topic is raised.
Once, I called in when radio talk show host Andre "The Fearless One" Baptiste was interviewing the Honourable Minister of Sports Anil Roberts on the matter.
It can be intimidating to engaging a Minister especially one as talkative, loud and at times abrasive as Roberts. But there was no way I was going to let some of his statements pass unchallenged.
My blood boiled again, two weeks ago, during a discussion on the same station.
But it wasn't just any Minister on air. This was the 'big fish'.
It was the Honourable Minister of Works, ex-FIFA Vice President and former TTFF special advisor Jack Warner; the man who is at the very heart of the court battle.
This fish, in my opinion, is as clever and shifty as they come. I dialed and got the usual busy tone. But I kept trying and my perseverance paid off.
All the while, I heard him twisting the events of the past five years to suit his own version of the truth. I was shaking with anger by the time my call was answered.
I proceeded to tell the Honourable Minister that he was being less than truthful and pointed out a couple areas where this was so based on judgments from the High Court. I spoke about the outstanding accounts and the broken promises.
I had my say and then I hung up and listened.
Interestingly, he never denied what I said although there was some deflection. I was not made to feel that I was engaging in crazy talk. I know I'm telling the truth and after every encounter I feel a bit more emboldened.
A few people recognised my voice and called or messaged to say that I did a good job. Hopefully, I enlightened many more listeners.
I have no way of knowing what impact my calls have but it feels amazing to be a part of the process.
And I will continue trying to slay dragons or catch a few big fish with my two only weapons; my telephone and radio.