Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Back To The Roots
Remember the days when there was no television, or when television was already around, but live matches, be it local or international, was a rare entity?
We used to depend on our radios for live coverage of our local matches and would turn on our small transistor radios to hear the commentaries from just about anywhere.
If you still have not got the picture, then you have to think of the millions of Indians in the cricket fanatic India who glue their ears to their radios for live commentaries of Test matches.
BFM89.9 an independent 24-hour radio station launched last September, focusing on business news and current affairs, besides timeless music which is fast gaining popularity, launched the Barclays Premier League (BPL) Season 09/10 LIVE radio show yesterday evening.
BFM's Managing Director, Malek Ali, in making the announcement yesterday said: "BFM89.9 will bring the Barclays Premier League to Malaysian radio, and more importantly, deliver live sports radio to Malaysians, which is part of BFM's culture of constantly pushing the boundaries.
"The opportunity to do something truly unique and irreverent is what we strive for, and taking the Barclays Premier League into a new medium, with an original style of broadcasting, delivers on this promise."
BFM's tag line was plain and simple: So can't get to a TV? Now there is NO excuse for missing all the action. Football anywhere!
BFM also introduced the host for the radio show and it was none other than Ross Yusof, former Power 98 in Singapore and Hitz FM and Mix FM deejay.
He will have for company in the house, soccer pundit who is running himself thin, Serbegeth Singh and MyTeam's former Croatian coach, Bojan Hodak.
Through Sportcast Sdn Bhd, a sports media company, BFM, has the right for audio for the radio and internet, from the Barclays Premier League.
The feed from UK will include official match coverage with established high profile coomentary team of Nigel Winterburn (England ex-international who started his career with Birmingham City and finished with West Ham), Efan Ekoku (Nigerian ex-international despite being born in Manchester and donned many English club colours) and John Gregory (former manager of numerous English clubs including Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers. Former England international who played for clubs like Aston Villa, QPR and Derby.)
The talk show on Barclays Premier League will be on Friday evenings, while the LIVE coverage will be on Saturday and Sunday evenings and a Monday show on looking back at the weekend matches.
All well and great. Going back to the radios and the BPL is going to get even more popular, now that you don't need a television to follow the matches.
But for me and Christopher Raj's (JAIHO), who were at the launch, our question was: "What about local soccer. Are they not going to promote soccer at home?"
Clare Kenny Tipton, who is with Sportscast said that there will be equally good local coverage.
But we just hope that a big fanfare like yesterday will be lined up for local soccer coverage and that equal airtime will be given.
The local soccer scene certainly could do with a shot in the arm to set the adrenalin flowing again for whatever it is worth.
In any case, we have to start somewhere and let us look at home, before we get carried away with something foreign, no matter how strong the following is for BPL.
Kudos to BFM89.9 for going back to the roots and bringing back nostalgic memories, but let us save the loudest thunder when they go big on local soccer! Will Serbegeth be interested in local soccer, or will he just scoff at the opportunity.
Serbegeth began his soccer days in the remote town of Kluang and saw the bright city lights, thanks to a local coach from Kajang. That man was S. Subramaniam, then the Federal Territory coach.
Subramaniam asked this scribe to drive him to Kluang one morning in 1984 to meet Serbegeth's parents, to seek their permission to lure Serbegeth to the Klang Valley to pursue his soccer career.
The rest is history, but it is time for Serbegeth to repay back the local game and honour Tan Sri Elyas Omar, then the president of FTFA and Mayor of the city, who has made him, what he is today.