Radio Ceylon - The Legendary Announcers

The Legendary Announcers

Radio Ceylon has produced some of the finest announcers of South Asia among them: Livy Wijemanne, Vernon Corea, Pearl Ondaatje, Tim Horshington, Greg Roskowski, Jimmy Bharucha, Mil Sansoni, Eardley Peiris, Shirley Perera, Bob Harvie, B.H.Abdul Hameed, Claude Selveratnam, Christopher Greet, Prosper Fernando, Tony de Costa, Ameen Sayani (of Binaca Geetmala fame), S.P.Mylvaganam (the first Tamil Announcer on the Commercial Service), Thevis Guruge, H.M.Gunasekera, A.W.Dharmapala, Karunaratne Abeysekera, Chitrananda Abeysekera, Kailayar Sellanainar Sivakumaran, Mervyn Jayasuriya, Vijaya Corea, Elmo Fernando, Eric Fernando, Nihal Bhareti Leon Belleth and V Sundharalingam.

Other Sri Lankan personalities such as Owen de Abrew, the most senior Ballroom Dance professional on the island and top film director Lester James Peiris ( who reviewed books for ' Radio Bookshelf ' ) were involved in radio programmes on the airwaves.

This was in the heyday of Radio Ceylon, the announcers and presenters, particularly those who presented radio programmes on the All Asia beam, enjoyed iconic status. Radio Ceylon ruled the airwaves in South Asia as millions in the Indian sub-continent tuned into the radio station. People picked up Radio Ceylon broadcasts as far away as the United States of America. The Hindu newspaper placed Ameen Sayani and Vernon Corea of Radio Ceylon in the top five great broadcasters of the world.

Radio Ceylon turned young Ceylonese talent into household names - among them the Ceylonese musicians of the 1950s and 1960s - Nimal Mendis, Bill Forbes, Cliff Foenander, Des Kelly, Adrian Ferdinands, Tissa Seneviratne, Harold Seneviratne, Douglas Meerwald and the Manhattans, to name a few.

Some of Radio Ceylon's programs enjoyed by millions of listeners - the 'Maliban Show' presented by Vernon Corea, 'Ponds Hit Parade' presented by Tim Horshington,'Lama Pitiya' with Karunaratne Abeysekera and Binaca Geetmala presented by Ameen Sayani on the Overseas Service among them.

There was also a religious and cultural dimension to radio programming and Radio Ceylon broadcast Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian programmes. The station had ' three broadcasting arms ' - the Commercial Service, the National Service and the All Asia Service. Radio programmes were broadcast in English, Sinhala and Tamil - the All Asia beam had many programmes broadcast in Hindi. Pandit W. D. Amaradeva and other distinguished Sri Lankan musicians have all given concert recitals in the studios of the station.

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