The photo below is of a Sony radio purchased new in the fall of 1987. Friend Larry Clark and I had been selected to do a 6 month CIDA funded assignment in Nigeria. It was called ARMTI, an acronym for Agricultural and Rural Management Institute and the term was Jan 1st to June 30th, 1988. Larry worked with farm management advisors; I was assigned to the audio visual support group. Joy was with me.
Larry and I decided to each get the same kind of radio so we went to Advance Electronics on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg to get them. They were not cheap – over $300, each, I think. But now, 32 years later, they seem like a good buy as ours continues to give yeoman service in our kitchen. In Nigeria we had to use the short wave setting and after sampling BBC, Radio Canada International and Voice of America ( I think thatâ€™s what it was called), we settled on BBC.
Radio was very important to me as I grew up on the farm in the 30â€™s and later. Initially we had no electricity service on the farm. Rural electrification came to Manitoba in 1948. But we had a battery radio with power supplied by a large battery â€œpackâ€. Our favourite programs included Lux Radio theatre (an hour long drama),Fibber McGee and Molly and the early afternoon 15 minute soap operas( â€œMa Perkinsâ€ was a favourite).One image is etched in my brain. It is mid-February, a clear cold day and Dad has gone into town (Oak Lake) with the sleigh box of wheat to sell at the elevator. Bob andPrince ( or was it Mabel and Molly?) were the Percheron horses pulling the sleigh. Lots of snow and no cars on the roads in winter in those days.But the most important thing was that Dad was bringing home Â a NEW BATTERY PACK for the radio!. I can see it like it was yesterday – the sun starting to set over Gordon Kennedyâ€™s barn and my dad walking beside the sleigh, trying to keep warm as the team plodded along. Then we hooked up the new battery. We had rationed ourselves for a couple of weeks, only listening to CBC news until the sound faded. But NOW! We could listen to as many programs as we wanted to. My dadâ€™s idea of pure luxury was to go upstairs on a Saturday night in the winter and with an extension speaker, lie on top of his bed and listen to Hockey Night in Canada – Leafs vs the Canadiens,often.