900-strong for VOB bus ride

In celebrating the bond they share with listeners, the announcers of Starcom Network’s Voice of Barbados (VOB) joined avid fans on a scenic bus ride yesterday.

More than 900 enthusiastic listeners booked their spot for the Across VOB Country scenic bus ride which offered an opportunity to meet and chat with their favourite radio personalities from the 92.9 FM station, such as Carol Toppin, Larry Mayers and Ken Husbands among others.

At 11 a.m. sharp, 28 buses operated by the Barbados Transport Board drove the masses through several scenic routes across the island, with their first stop at Speightstown Esplanade in St Peter.

They later made scheduled stops at the Ermie Bourne Highway in St Andrew, St John’s Parish Church, and Three Houses Park in St Philip, before reaching their final location at the National Botanical Gardens in Waterford, St Michael, for an evening of picnic fun that included karaoke, dancing and other activities.

Passenger Adrene Chase, who described Ronnie Clarke as her favourite radio personality, said she found the scenic tour to be a pleasant dose of nostalgia.

“It’s taking me back to my early childhood and it’s delightful. I love the people and I love the idea that I can go and eat as much as I want to and there’s no housework,” she said.

Another supporter, “Mags”, said she mostly listened to the radio all day and stayed tuned for each announcer’s shift. She relished the chance to get to know them.

“I did talk to all of them. I came up on VOB. My mother raised me on VOB. When I wake up in the morning [it] is VOB, when I go to bed it’s VOB,” she said.

At the Granville Williams Bus Terminal in The City, which served as the original boarding site, announcer Toppin helped in directing the large crowd at the terminal to their correct buses, pausing at intervals to meet some of the regular callers to her morning programme.

“It’s been really amazing meeting all of these people,” she said, adding that this opportunity for connection was what made the scenic bus ride special.

“The logistics of pulling it all together is not necessarily easy but the connections . . . I met and heard so many people that I just hear their voices on morning but that is absolutely amazing.

“That entire community spirit is what we’ve been about . . . going into the community, connecting with the community, talking to our listeners and that’s what makes radio different where you can actually communicate with them,” said Toppin.

Starcom Network General Manager Anthony Greene looked forward to trying out the food people brought along for the picnic. He formally expressed his gratitude to the members of the Transport Board for the part they played in the event.

Amazed at the turnout, Greene credited VOB listeners for always showing their support in their numbers. He said that it was the listeners who elevated them to the status of the top radio station.

“VOB is the people’s station. I think we give them (listeners) the opportunity to have their say, what is impacting them, how are they feeling. They get a chance to share those things, they get a chance to say how things can be better in their community . . . and how to help each other, ” Greene said. (JRN)