The One Caribbean Media (OCM) network is about to deal Barbadians, and Christians on the island of Barbados a blow, following an announcement last evening that the company intends to close the lone gospel radio station, Starcom Gospel 97.5.
The radio station which opened its doors on June 28th, 2000, under the banner of STARCOM GOSPEL 790 AM, and later switching to the Gospel 97.5 FM, on the 97.5 frequency, will be closing those doors on Christians who have used the station as the mouth piece of God, for alomost 11 years. Barbados which professes itself as a Christian nation will loose its only Christian radio station soon. Will Christians setup a petition against this move by the OCM nework?
In a radio release last evening, Mr. Victor Fernandes, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Starcom Network Inc, said the station will be closed in preference to a "Super Station" which will carry local and regional programming on a 24-hour basis.
Mr. Fernandes said the closure of the Gospel station had come about because they were unable to get another radio licence for the new radio station.
The new pan-Caribbean "super station" is expected to operate under the banner of the OCM network, and is expected to fill the void which will be created by the departure of the BBC's Caribbean Service.
In an artcle at bbc.co.uk entitled "BBC Caribbean final programmes in March", the BBC announced that it will end its broadcasts on March 25, 2011. In response, Sir Ronald Sanders lamented on the BBC website "If the closure of the BBC's Caribbean Service leaves a vacuum for a daily pan-Caribbean radio news service, it is the fault of the Caribbean news media not the British government or the BBC". The OCM network has therefore tried to plug this void, and has opened another, by closure of Gospel 97.5, Barbaods.
How will the void for a Christian Radio Station be Filled, Mr. Fernandes?
Gospel 97.5 has supplied the spiritual needs of Barbados for those Christians who belief in listen to wholesome radio, which is able to cater to the playing of Christian music, preaching, bible stories for our nation's children, and allow them to express themselves in song.
We understand that the Starcom Network is a business, and will therefore seek an oportunity for it to make a dollar, but doesn't providing humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world of much importance, anymore? Sure we need some balance else the wheels that carry our society will fall off.
The Barbadian society has been, and continues to be, the envy of the region, and the world because of our friendliness, and our foothold on moral standards, which have been held together by the Christian teachings some of us belief in, and live by.
The Christian community through the used of the Gospel 97.5 radio station, has been making an impression into the deviance which has started to raise its ugly head, as this writer through that station has seen persons healed, relationships mended, and former gang leaders in Barbados give their lives to God.
Shall we therefore focus on dollars and cents, and forget the spiritual needs of our people? Will the dollars and cents be of great importance when deviance has taken over our society, and the tourists are afraid to come, and offshore companies decide they can't operate here as crime statistics keep rising? Will dollars and cents be important when the family of the rich are being attacked because we have refused to used the mouth-piece of the radio station to teach, and to preach morality as more and more persons turn away from the church?
The private sector should not be responsible for the fact that morality is falling somewhat, and that persons are turning away from the church, or should it? Should the private sector help in maintaining a society which is morally grounded so as to maximize on its profits through less losses, or should it leave it completely to the church, and prison cells?
Mr. Fernandes has pointed out that the Gopsel station will be amalgamated with the Voice of Barbados radio station, which is also owned by STARCOM network.
This will therefore mean that there will be reduced programming with respect to the amount of gospel one is exposeed to. Those who relied on gospel radio throughout the day on weekdays, will have to do without. Those who relied on it on weekends will also have to do without.
This writer has heard a pastor said we should write a short note to Mr. Fernandes, asking him to maybe reconsider this move as this will be a great loss to Barbados.