I was born in Cameroon in the early 1990s and typing this very first sentence makes me smile. I am using a very sophisticated laptop, my smartphone is charging on my right-hand side, and I’m using my tablet as a complementary screen. Perhaps I should mention that there’s a big television opposite me with a myriad of channels available for viewing. It is so unlike what I was familiar with when I was attending nursery and primary school in Cameroon. Back in those days, I’d get up in the morning, get washed, be fed and taken to school where I’d stay until 2pm. Once home, I’d get fed again and take a nap (this was compulsory!) from about 3pm to 5pm. Then, for about an hour, I’ll be fascinated standing before that multicoloured balloon displayed by our television screen. Hearing the Cameroonian national anthem (at about 6pm) would let me know that things were about to start (television-wise) – and to finish 5 hours after they had started. Television didn’t have much to offer back then.
Luckily, things were different with audio sounds. In fact, I would say that radio sounds and podcasting are the media outlets I am, and have been, the most exposed to. When I was growing up in Cameroon in the nineties and the noughties, the radio in my room was always on. That afternoon nap I was usually forced to take was filled with music from FM94 – a commercial radio based in Yaoundé (Cameroon’s capital city). There was this song which was always on when I was about to dose off. I believe it was “Je t’aime bien papa” by Di Quinto Rocco. That song was so sad… Anyway, the radio in my room kept me well informed and cultured during my entire childhood. Not to mention that my mother was a Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) producer and that I would spend a few days a month watching her work or wondering in the CRTV’s building taking a look and having a go at everything. I remember that when I was a teenager, I would sometimes participate on radio shows presented by two of my mother’s younger siblings who are both journalists and radio presenters. The least I can say is that I was a media child, a radio child.
Nowadays, while living in the UK, I would say that radio sounds and podcasts fit perfectly and adequately into my daily activities. I listen to Ken Bruce’s RADIO 2 Pop Master every weekday morning. I’m currently listening to KISS STORY while writing this blog. Later today, during my workout routine, I’ll be listening to KERRANG FM. I’m always listening to episodes of my favourite podcasts when I’m showering or cooking. I must admit that most of them are in French or in a mixture of both French and English, and include: “Si Maman m’avait dit”; “Les Couilles sur la Table”, “Kiffe ta race”; “Les Papotages de C.”; etc. At bedtime, I either listen to Radio France International (RFI) or the BBC World Service. Thanks to the Radio.Garden App, I can often listen to a wide range of stations from around the world in one place. I sometimes listen to some Cameroonian radio stations as well as some UK-based community radio stations such as BCB radio, Diverse FM, Afrobeats Radio or Yoruba FM. If people ever wondered why my music culture is so rich, well, blame it on audio sounds. It’s always been about me, myself, and audio sounds!