The golden era of broadcasting
When Bobby Amor passed away last week, I recalled the time when radio and TV broadcasting in English dominated the local scene in the 1960’s and continued to the 1970’s and 1980’s.
It was also the time when English was strictly imposed in schools and was the major and minor of almost every degree earned.
Even P.E. teachers were minors in English so that they also taught English, which I had a very good experience in second year high school.
In college, I remember some of my classmates going crazy over male radio broadcasters and interacted with them in the evening programs which included song dedication and poetry reading, and they had reasons to.
Mainly the well-modulated voice and almost perfect diction were the main attraction.
These broadcasters were not just students but also professionals. For TV, I vividly recall Henry Halasan of ABS-CBN before it was closed.
He commanded my attention even while walking home or going somewhere when he was giving the news or handling a public program, so effortless, relaxed, professional, dignified, with a very well-modulated and soothing voice.
Then there was Jess Vestil whom I liked to watch giving the news and hosting a program or a show.
Harry Gasser had his own flair of broadcasting which was very effective. Bobby Amor would come in the 1970’s until the 1980’s.
For the female broadcasters, who would forget Virgina “Ginny” Peralta-Vamenta endowed with an excellent voice and perfect English diction hosting the noon show of DYBU’s Darigold Jamboree and newscasting in DYRC.
Ma’am Ginny would be active in print and broadcast media until she retired a few years back.
For the younger broadcasters, I recall Dennis Cabalfin and Gem Alvez who were also disc jockeys and were popular among the colegialas.
Some of the younger broadcasters would go to Manila for better opportunities.
In the early 1960’ St. Theresa’s College presented plays with girls playing male roles but in the middle of the decade, male university students were gradually taken in to join in the annual plays.
There was no Mass Communication program in schools then but there was so much premium on public speaking skills that some of my male friends from other universities studied, learned fast and practiced public speaking.
They also followed closely the stints of the above mentioned broadcasters.
They later became successful businessmen and civic leaders.
Side by side broadcasting in English, there was the Cebuano complement which helped enrich the use and the development of the Cebuano language and culture.
Broadcasting became colorful in terms of content whether cultural, political, social or economic.
Local news became interesting especially during Martial Law where brave personalities expressed their sentiments on the national situation.
There was effort to preserve the cultural heritage like regularly featuring the balitaw, the harana, the balak, Cebuano songs some of which are now forgotten.
It was indeed a golden era of broadcasting which hinged on professionalism, communication skill, propriety, and perfect modulation of voice.
These are what I look for everytime I listen to the radio or watch television.
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