A talent to amuse: A tribute to Pete Myers

A tribute to Pete Myers

“A Talent to amuse” is a Radio Netherlands’ tribute to veteran international broadcaster, Pete Myers, who passed away in December 1998. He was just 59. Pete started his career as a young presenter in Ghana, spent 11 years as the star presenter of “Good Morning Africa” with the BBC’s World Service and completed 22 highly successful and creative years with Radio Netherlands. Pete inspired all of those who worked with him. He shook them up as well! He was the consummate storyteller who quickly mastered the art of crafted script-writing. He always had a story to tell. Fortunately, he left us a whole sound archive of unique moments in his life. The programme is a celebration of his life, work and wicked sense of humour.

Born in Bangalore in 1939, Pete grew up with his parents and maternal grandparents. His grandmother, in particular, had a major influence on him. She inspired his passion for music and the cinema. During those early years, he had his first brief encounter with greatness, travelling on the same train as Mahatma Ghandi. Later, in programmes such as “Late Night Extra” for the fledgling BBC Radio 1 & 2, “Good Morning Africa” and “PM” for BBC’s World Service, he had the chance to interview a host of celebrities, including Ingrid German, Stephen Sondheim and the temperamental Shirley Bassey. Then Pete took a short break from broadcasting for two years and ran a nightclub in Beirut until the civil war forced him to escape from that vibrant city.

In 1976, he could be found pumping up the African output of Radio Netherlands with the popular “Afroscene” programme. Later on, Asian listeners got to know him better through live programmes such as “Mainstream Asia” and “Asiascan”. In the 1990’s, listeners in other regions came to know and admire him for programmes such as Rembrandt Express, “50+” and his biggest challenge “Happy Station”. Pete certainly lived up to his own advice to other programme-makers: “Whatever you do – don’t bore your listeners!