The Global and the Local in Trinidad and Tobago's Indian Music Format Radio


  • Shaheed Nick Mohammed Penn State Altoona
  • Avinash Thombre


An exploratory investigation of Trinidad and Tobago's Indian music format radio stations in 2003 found that despite the stations' use of foreign music and the ability to broadcast globally, their focus remained local. New media, while available to the stations, did not seem to fundamentally affect the scope of the broadcasts at that time. The intervening decade has seen maturation of these stations and the further spread of globalized media technologies including social media. The present study examines and compares the content of these stations ten years later with particular reference to whether they have expanded their scope in keeping with the global reach of the Internet-based technologies. In the present paper the authors employ content analysis of radio programming to evaluate the interplay of local and global forces and how those are reflected in Indian music format radio in Trinidad and Tobago.

Author Biography

  • Shaheed Nick Mohammed, Penn State Altoona
    Academic/professional qualifications - Ph.D. Communication - U. of New Mexico, USA; M.A. Communication Studies, U. Windsor, Canada; B.A. Communication, UWI.


Anderson, B. R. (1991). Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.

Anderson, J. W. (1997). Cybernauts of the Arab diaspora: Electronic mediation in transnational cultural identities. Prepared for Couch-Stone symposium -Postmodern culture, global capitalism and democratic action, April.

Arnold, E., & Plymire, D. C. (2000). The Cherokee Indians and the Internet. In D. Gauntlett (Ed.) Web.studies: Rewiring media studies for the digital age (pp. 186-193). London: Arnold.

Bahadur Singh, I. J. (1987). Indians in the Caribbean. London: Oriental University Press.

Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Conway, D. (2007). Caribbean transnational migration behaviour: Reconceptualising its ‘strategic flexibility.’ Population Space and Place, 13(6) 415–431.

Eriksen, T. H. (1991). The cultural context of ethnic differences. Man, 26, 127-144.

Glick Schiller, N., Basch, L., & Szanton Blanc, C. (1995). From immigrant to transmigrant: Theorizing transnational migration. Anthropological Quarterly, 68(1), 48-63.

Hick, S. & Reich, E. (2002). Can you have community on the Net? In Steven F. Hick & John G. McNutt (Eds.) Advocacy, Activism, and the Internet (pp. 33-42). Chicago: Lyceum.

Ignacio, E. N. (2000). Ain't I a Filipino (woman)?: An analysis of authorship/authority through the construction of "Filipina" on the Net. Sociological Quarterly, 41(4), 551-572

James, C. W. (2012). Caribbean media convergence: towards a new Caribbean journalist. Caribbean Quarterly, 58 (2-3), 28-42.

Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation (2001). Taino-L The Taino Indigenous People's Internet Forum. Online at Retrieved on March 27, 2002.

Jeffres, L. (2000). Ethnicity and ethnic media use: A panel study. Communication Research, 27(4), 496-535.

Kohsravi, S. (2000). An ethnographic approach to an online diaspora. Online at Retrieved on March 23, 2002.

Lewis, W. A. (1954). Economic development with unlimited supplies of labor. Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, 22, 139–191.

Lindlof, T. R. & Shatzer, M. J. (1998). Media ethnography in virtual space: Strategies, limits and possibilities. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media (42)2, 170-189. DOI:10.1080/08838159809364442.

Look, L. W. (1993). Indentured labor, Caribbean sugar. Baltimore: The John’s Hopkins University Press.

Malik, Y. K. (1971). East Indians in Trinidad: A study in minority politics. London: Oxford University Press.

Mallapraghada, M. (2000). The Indian diaspora in the USA and on the Web. In D. Gauntlett (Ed.) web.studies: Rewiring media studies for the digital age (pp. 179-185). London: Arnold.

Manuel, P. (2000). The construction of a diasporic tradition: Indo-Caribbean "local classical music." Ethnomusicology, 44(1), 97-119.

Manuel, P. (2009). Transnational chowtal: Bhojpuri folk song from North India to the Caribbean, Fiji, and beyond. Asian Music, 40(2), 1-32.

Miller, D. (1991). Absolute freedom in Trinidad. Man, 26, 323-341.

Miller, D., & Slater. D. (2000). The Internet: An ethnographic approach. Oxford University Press.

Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., J., & Taylor, J. E. (1993), Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431-466.

Matthews, L. (2014). Transnationalism: Trends and practices among English Caribbean immigrants. In L. Matthews (Ed.), English-speaking Caribbean immigrants: transnational identities (pp. 1-16). Lanham, MD: Universities Press of America.

Mohammed, P. (1988). The “creolization†of Indian women in Trinidad. In S. Ryan (Ed.), Trinidad and Tobago: The Independence Experience, 1962-1987 (pp. 381-397). St. Augustine, Trinidad: Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Mohammed, S. N. (2007) Cable modems. In H. Bidgoli (Ed.), Handbook of Computer Networks: LANs, MANs, WANs, the Internet, and Global, Cellular, and Wireless Networks, Volume 2 (pp. 221-229). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. DOI: 10.1002/9781118256114.ch16

Mohammed, S.N. (2011). Communication and the globalization of culture: Beyond tradition and borders. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Mohammed, S. N. (2012). The (dis)information age: The persistence of ignorance. Peter Lang Publishers: New York.

Mohammed, S. & Svenkerud, P. (1998). East-Indian radio in Trinidad and Tobago: Ethnic media in a co-ethnic environment. Paper presented to the Third World Studies Conference, Omaha, Nebraska.

Mohammed, S. & Thombre, A. (2011). Imagined communities, virtual diasporas or local hangouts? A study of Trinidad and Tobago groups on Facebook. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 21(3 & 4). Online at


Rhinegold, H. (1993). The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Reading, MA : Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Roopnarine, L. (2006). Indo-Caribbean social identity. Caribbean Quarterly, 52(1), 1-11.

Samaroo, B (1987). The Indian connection: The influence of Indian thought and ideas on East Indians in the Caribbean. In J. I. Singh (Ed.), Indians in the Caribbean (pp.25-50). London: Oriental University Press.

Sampath, N. M. (1993). An evaluation of the “creolization†of Trinidad East Indian adolescent masculinity. In K. A. Yelvington (Ed.), Trinidad Ethnicity (pp. 235-253). Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

Simmons, A. B. & Guengant, J. P. (1992). Caribbean exodus and the world system. In M. M. Kritz, L. L. Lim & H. Zlotnik (Eds.), International Migration Systems: A Global Approach, pp. 94-114. (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Singh, K. (1974). East Indians and the larger society. In J. La Guerre (Ed.), Calcutta to Caroni, the East Indians of Trinidad (pp. 39-68). Trinidad: Longman Caribbean.

Smith, M. A., & Kollock, P. (Eds.). 1999. Communities in Cyberspace. New York: Routledge.

Subervi-Velez, F. (1986). The mass media and ethnic assimilation and pluralism: A review and research proposal with special focus on Hispanics. Communication Research, 13(1), 71-96.

Tanikella, L. (2009). Voices from home and abroad: New York City’s Indo-Caribbean media. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 12(2): 167–185. DOI: 10.1177/1367877908099498.

Tinker, H., & Birbalsingh, F. (1989). Indenture and Exile. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Indo-Caribbean Cutralture.