AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH: Barbados is Heaven FM
My name is Kevin Hinds and I am a radio broadcaster.
I’m from Black Rock. I’m a Combermere boy. It’s the best learning institution I have ever come across in my life. No matter where else you went to school, Combermere would always be the best school you went to, head and shoulders above every other school – primary, secondary, tertiary.
I have one daughter. She went to Combermere, of course. I’d want my grandchildren to go to Combermere. In fact, I think everyone should go to Combermere. Come out of Harrison College and go to Combermere and all.
I was a library prefect and in the Dramatic Society. I did sports for my house, but running ’bout in the hot sun was never really my thing. Organising the cheerleading was my thing. You could imagine an athlete running down the track and nobody ain’t cheering?
I read a lot, everything, from Kahlil Gibran right down to Marcus Garvey. My favourite author is God [who I believe inspired the writing of] the Bible. Other than that, the best book I’ve read is Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom. Right now I’m reading Barack Obama’s The Audacity Of Hope.
I’ve read the Bible, not just dipped into it. I read a chapter a day, every day, from the age of 18 to 22. I go to a church but don’t belong to one. If I did join a church permanently, it would be the Spiritual Baptists. I like how they operate. I like the Afro-Caribbean culture blended with Christianity.
The drum was the original instrument. When you check to see where it came from, you have Africa. As a black man, you realise that is a reflection of you. Even as a white man, you can make that realisation, because you have all kinds of people in Africa: Indian, Chinese, everybody.
The drum is the heartbeat. Of everything. Eurocentric people find it very hard to move to a drum unless it is extremely regimented. That’s why the drum is a little skimpy in [European classical] music; but calypso and reggae are highly drum-infused. Any Afrocentric music. That says a lot about rhythms and culture as you move around the world.
The biggest change I’ve seen in Barbados is people are less friendly. There was a time when [as] you walked down the street, everybody would say, “Good morning”, “Good evening”, “Good night”; now, out of ten people, maybe four would say hello.
Change comes with development. Show me a place that’s developing and I’ll show you a place that’s introducing brand new corruption. And corruption breeds mistrust. And mistrust breeds uncouthness.
Barbados depends heavily on tourism. You must develop an attitude of friendliness. A tourist could go home and let people walk past him in silence, don’t smile and don’t speak.
I had just left school when I got into broadcasting. [Radio personality] Vic Fernandes used to run a show called Double Dynamite. Somebody dared me and my friend to go on and do a little skit. We did and it came off. I got encouragement to try more things.
My group owned a retail store and I used to do some comedy there when Vic Fernandes came into the studio and told me he wanted to see me when I was finished. I thought I’d gone too far. But it turned out he was interested in getting me on board as a broadcaster on the morning show.
I’m naturally quick, as a comedian. If, right now, I met an 18-year-old, I’d say, “Yeah, this guy is very fast!” You take something that’s normal and twist it into something by a route a normal mind would not have taken.
I wouldn’t say I had an abnormal mind; I prefer to say I have an above-normal mind.
I began radio broadcasting on February 22, 1993.
Every day I can say and do things to influence people to live a better life. People often call me and tell me I seemed to know what was going on in their life and that I helped them through a rough patch by what I said.
You have to have an abnormal mind to do radio because you have to split what you’re doing up; and now it’s got even more split. You’re dealing between the music you’re programming, the advertising, the questions you’re asking to attract listeners to the website, you’re dealing with structure, voice and format. There’s certain music you should and should not play. And all that must be done to the second. And you throw in a live interview from time to time, as well. You have to be quick, witty, knowledgeable and be damn well on time.
It took me a while to realise that everybody can’t do what I do on the air. Everybody’s the same, though. There’s a plumber right now who can do what I can’t do.
The best part of my job is interfacing with a whole heap of people at one time. You might step through your door, and in the day you might talk to ten to 12 people. Every day I speak to thousands of people.
The bad thing about my job would be the pay. It’s not the highest paid profession in the world. No, it’s not. No. A Bajan is somebody who is proud of this little rock we come from and would put their life up to save it.
Barbados means to me that if I don’t get into Heaven, I already live and come from paradise.