Editorial: Hip, hip hooray!

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If a day in politics is a long time, as they say, then a week without popular and fast-paced media is an eternity. And that is exactly how the thousands of loyal listeners, advertisers and well-wishers felt about the barely six-day absence from the airwaves of OBSERVER radio and The Daily Observer. Under new ownership and management, and from a new location, the station roared back to life on Thursday December 6 ending the silence that its many fans had endured and found so excruciating since November 30. Fittingly, our return to the airwaves was marked by an impromptu broadcast of Voice of the People, then the return of our BIG STORIES news packages as of 5:30 on Saturday, December 8.
What you are reading right now is the editorial for our first Daily OBSERVER newspaper since the resumption.
OBSERVER is back! In this we rejoice. For this we welcome and thank you – our supporters and all people of goodwill – in rejoicing with us. The doubters and naysayers have been confounded! Those who were rooting for the demise of free and independent media have rooted and agitated in vain. Those who had already popped bottles of champagne and were gleefully proposing a toast to perfidy most foul are crying in their glasses and imbibing of the bitter grape. Their teeth are set on edge. And of course, those who were waiting to dance on the grave of Observer, have had to indefinitely postpone their shindig. Seems, as Mark Twain mischievously declared after much speculation and pontificating as to his surcease, “Sorry to disappoint you folks, but news of my death have been greatly exaggerated!”
Of course, we certainly wish to thank God Almighty, who in his infinite wisdom, saw it fit to bless this most worthy effort – the survival of free and independent media in Antigua and Barbuda. He imbued the visionary “Save-the-Observer” team with the courage and indomitable will to bring the dream to fruition, notwithstanding the odds. We dare say that their names will forever be called in hushed and reverential tones, much like the names of Winston, Kim and Fergie Derrick, Rex Harney, Rick James and so many more. At a later date, we will mention those stalwart citizens who opened up their wallets and worked around the clock, some with as little as two hours sleep, to keep the dream alive. We are grateful!
Meanwhile, it is instructive to note that media will fail if not for its lifeblood – advertisers. One of the problems with the last iteration of the Observer was that we lost some advertisers as a result of malicious pressure that was brought to bear on them from some quarters. So sad! Instead of being happy at the fact that advertising dollars are being spread around in the media market, some selfishly sought to blacklist the Observer, using the power of influence and high office to crush a competitor and a nuisance, political and otherwise. Conflict of interest, or mere thin skin to the pricks of inconvenient truth? So much for the notion of all businesses competing on a level playing field and getting a fair piece of the pie.  Seems, some businesses are more equal than others in this  . . . how can we put this delicately, er, . . . unhelpful, political mileau. And of course, in order to get ahead, support for the regime is the coin of the realm.
Having said that, we are also not unmindful of the self-inflicted wounds that just about did in our antecedent body.  The damage from within was consequential and substantial.
Thankfully, many advertisers stayed put with Observer during the hectic restructuring and transition period, never mind that it was not at all clear what the future held for us. To all our advertisers, we certainly appreciate your loyalty and forbearance, and we certainly look forward to your continued patronage.
Then there are the dedicated members of staff.  Notwithstanding the upheaval and distress surrounding the closing of the old Observer chapter in their lives, they willingly put their hands to the plow and are now a part of the new Observer team. For some, while it was a tough choice, their hearts and minds compelled them to be a part of this most noble effort to keep the torch aflame.
Last, but by no means least, we wish to proffer our heartfelt thanks to you – the listening and reading public. You are the oxygen of media – without your support, radio, television and online publications will die. Consider, advertisers will feel comfortable placing their ads with a particular media entity if they are satisfied that there are enough persons eye-balling a particular publication and enough ears listening to a particular programme. Businesses need the assurance that they are getting a good bang for their advertising buck. Without appearing to pat ourselves too vigorously on our backs, we suggest that over the years Observer has provided our advertisers with a huge following of faithful listeners and readers, and we are committed so to do in the weeks and months ahead. Of course, we will live up to that solemn pledge by way of first-rate information and programming.
Observer followers are the very best! You supported us and remained loyal even in our darkest hour. Please know that we felt your concern and prayers. Thanks ever so much!
May God bless NEWSCO doing business as the New Observer! The electronic presses are rolling, and the airwaves in Antigua and Barbuda are once again resounding with the sounds that had become an integral part of life in our fair state. Indeed, worldwide! To that, we say “To God be the glory!” Hallelujah!

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