More 94 FM

Tough questions for a minister - from his cousin.

At the Catholic Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Harbour Island, Bahamas, Miss Pamela has just run through the notices ("No milk today. No gas") and the deacon Samuel Mitchell is at the altar, railing against "the incredible, deviant behaviour glorified on the radio. We can't stop the lyrics! I ask you: do you believe in the Son of Man? Let us sing about the man with the withered hand. We are rocking the Bahamas. Amen!" He sighs and joins Miss Pamela in a stall where she is smoothing her skirt over her knees in a childlike gesture. She looks concerned. Deacon Mitchell is not usually given to using words like "incredible". He knows that there is very little on earth that defies credibility, although clearly Rihanna's latest has tipped him ("Stick and stones may break my bones/ But chains and whips excite me").

Later, through the afternoon, grandparents spend hours on the porch gazing into space, listening to More 94 FM - but, this being Sunday, there's nothing much more deviant to be heard on air than talk about light bulbs. The government is appealing to everyone to bring theirs to be replaced with energy-saving brands - $4m-worth across the islands, a huge initiative. Government forces are carrying out the handover "to minimise pilferage", explains the minister on air. "Minister, minis-ter!" scoffs the DJ. "I'm not trying to tell you how to run the ministry of . . . what's it called? Of the environment . . . and you being my first cousin and all, so respec' to you! But why don't you want to use the police?" A pause. "Because they're out there, looking at our natural resources," tries the minister. (Impossible not to picture three gendar­mes steering a barnacled ketch through the long fished-out waters of Spanish Wells while, on the stern, a model for Sports Illustrated prepares for her love affair with the camera.)

Back in the studio, someone called Harold has been waiting patiently on the phone to ask a question since the top of the hour. "Harold?" says the minister, his voice hard. "Let's get to the point - no rambling!" Silence. And then the DJ - truly an excellent broadcaster: generous, sensitive, suspicious - leans in, saying, not with the usual Bahamian teasing frustration, nor in anger, but as a simply stated fact: "Gone? God bless you. Let's move on."

Antonia Quirke is an author and journalist. She is a presenter on The Film Programme and Pick of the Week (Radio 4) and Film 2015 and The One Show (BBC 1). She writes a column on radio for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 18 April 2011 issue of the New Statesman, GOD Special