RADIO and television programming has changed in Saint Lucia over the years. Many of us can still remember the days when radio and television programs ended at midnight. For some of us growing up back then, 24 – hours, seven days a week, non-stop programming was unheard of. Back then, talk shows were just a figment of our imagination.
Today, the media landscape has changed, drastically so, to the point where almost anything is said, where accuracy and truth of content are no longer regarded as benchmarks in the industry. The emergence of talk shows has lowered the bar for professionalism in the media, to the point where anyone can call a programme and say the most outrageous things and, more often than not, not be challenged on what was said.
Let’s get this straight, talk shows are an important part of radio and television programming. They are popular, relatively cheap to produce, and strive on a seemingly inexhaustible supply of new material. For instance, a talk show host could hold shows for a year or more based on things said by politicians. It is that simple. After all, talk shows are places to talk about things said by politicians or things happening in the country. In fact, talk shows are places where things can be created for people to talk about. Not forgetting, too, that talk shows also create news.
We can safely say that all of the above has taken place with talk shows in Saint Lucia. This country is drenched with talk shows. Local airwaves are bombarded with morning, noon and night shows, many of which, by their content and format, do their listeners, and by extension the entire country, an injustice in their attempts at informing.
Some of those talk show hosts are so bereft of analytical skills, meaning they do not have the ability to examine, contextualise and give clear, concise, and unbiased explanations on issues impacting the citizenry, that their shows should be terminated forthwith.
Saint Lucia is awash with talk shows spewing misinformation, untruths and half-truths with little regard for the negative impact this will have on certain sections of the population who may end up accepting a distorted version of what is actually happening in the country.
Often have we seen and heard talk show hosts hell-bent on crucifying politicians on one side of the political fence while at the same time pussyfooting around politicians on the other side, even when the reality shows that it is the side favoured by the talk show hosts that needs to be crucified.
Too often, as well, we see talk show hosts Instead of advising certain politicians to demit the political scene due to their unsatisfactory past performance/s, attempt to uplift those men and women, to the point of making them seem almost faultless.
But not all talk shows are like that. There are some that are a joy to watch or listen to, not only for the substance the hosts bring to the airwaves, but for their clarity and analytical presentations of issues that serve to further generate, in the public domain, uplifting discussions on various aspects of the issues presented.
Talk shows are popular here and as a result can play a significant role in reaching the citizenry with accurate and factual information that would enable them to make informed decisions. Through talk shows, solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the country can be filtered down to the people and up to the politicians.
These are the type of talk shows this country needs right now, with hosts who are analytic in their thinking, who are honest in their views and can bring out well thought out opinions that can ignite intelligent discussions throughout the length and breath of this country.
Even though we are not close to general elections that does not mean the country cannot and should not be soaking in some intelligent discourse at this time. Talk shows have proven to be just the vehicle by which this could happen.