Every year at this time we pause to reflect on where OBSERVER Radio has come from and in particular where we would like to go.
They say that history has a way of repeating itself. We say that our history repeats itself with new challenges every day.
The story of the fight to get OBSERVER Radio on the air has often been repeated.
The picture reminder is that of police officers carting off equipment used for the first broadcasts and an upset Winston Derrick fighting to hold his composure, fully aware that the political forces of the day lived in fear of what OBSERVER Radio would represent.
It was a fight that he and his older brother Fergie would not run away from and they were prepared to go round after round until ultimate capture of the heavyweight prize.
The landmark decision of the Privy Council in London was not just a victory for the Derricks but also for many around the British Commonwealth of nations.
Many were relieved of the false premises that they could not own or operate a radio station.
That decision paved the way for the emergence of radio stations of all stripes in Antigua & Barbuda.
Even the opposition political parties jumped into the fray as those in power seized the opportunity to get their own voices for future electoral campaigns.
We now have on the air nearly 20 radio stations giving the public myriad choices of information, entertainment and education.
OBSERVER Radio has had to meet challenges from both sides of the political divide while striving to remain the voice of the people.
It has not been easy, but OBSERVER Radio has survived and even thrived in many ways, though not financially.
The radio arm was born out of The Daily OBSERVER and the paper’s continued success has provided the critical financial support so vital to maintaining the role as the leading electronic media house in the country.
It should be recorded that the original print media team has responded to the new demands of electronic media products created over the past 11 years.
At The Daily OBSERVER, we have in recent times moved to make our product even more valuable for readers and advertisers.
Today we look forward to an expansion of the OBSERVER Media Group.
We are about to get a new home at Coolidge, not far from our present print operations.
A planned relocation means that we will house all operations under one roof. OBSERVER Radio and HITZ FM will occupy new modern studios at the new headquarters building.
This move will also give us a new member of the family, Observer Printery, offering services to the local and regional markets.
The new site of operations means a new and exciting opportunity for our staff to redouble our efforts at making our media even more relevant to the public of Antigua & Barbuda.
It also gives us a chance to reach further out into the Caribbean and to seek new markets and earn new revenues.
Yesterday marked 11 years of operation for OBSERVER Radio which has also spawned HITZ FM, a station that has reached another key segment of the listening audience.
Our online presence, www.antiguaobserver.com, represents another frontier with enormous potential for the future of services to a world audience.
OBSERVER Radio continues to be the leading platform for national debate and also a critical contributor to the development of society.
We have committed to the young people of this country and the Caribbean through a series of innovative programmes that involve the next generation of leadership.
Our commitment to community development is intended to ensure that we have a society of which we can all be proud.
It is our hope that the contribution we continue to make generates the kind of national support necessary for improving our country as a whole.
We will continue to challenge the powers that be to deliver on the expectations of the people of this country who strive for a better Antigua & Barbuda.
We will not shy away from the challenges as evidenced by our initial determination to be granted a license to operate.
To our radio listeners we owe a debt of gratitude. You have kept us on our toes and challenged us when you found us wanting.
We have worked steadily to maintain audience leadership so that advertisers’ dollars will have real value.
But it is our staff at all levels that really deserves our greatest thanks.
They have dedicated themselves to the task of delivering a highly professional and quality product on the airwaves.
Today the radio team is a truly Caribbean one, representing the best of the regional integration movement. It demonstrates where Observer Radio is going next, Observer Caribbean.