Radio Days!

Posted: November 7, 2005 in Uncategorized

Who would have imagined that radio will be back – and with a bang too?

Those were the days of Vividh Bharati, Binaca Geetmala, radio commentary of cricket matches including early morning wake up calls to catch the Australian games..

Now, if such reminiscing makes me sound old, rest assured that I am not _that_ old! Its been an amazing run – from a lot of radio to no radio, and now again, back to radio!

With the advent of television, and its rapid growth, with Chhaya Geet, Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan and live cricket from all corners of the world, radio died. Those big sets at home became antique pieces and suddenly came in the way, being pretty useless functionally.

And then we had a large number of television channels, and we got bored with them, and we wanted to listen to simple music all over again – especially when we were in a car, for example. And with the government opening up radio to private operators, albeit with large license fees and some other restrictions too, radio made a comeback.

Like all of these new thingies, many people jumped in. But as with every other fad businesses of this nature, not all can survive.

So we are left with now, in Mumbai, Radio City 91 FM (Star TV), Go 92.5 FM (Mid-day), 93.5 FM (India Today) and Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM (Times Group). In addition, there are the All India Radio’s 107.1 and 100.7 FM channels.

I miss a great radio station that came up, and went down, viz. Win 94.6 FM. It went into coma once (shut down for a few weeks), then came back to life (restarted), but has now died for good. Its popular radio jockeys can be heard on other radio stations.

So how’s the radio scene in Mumbai really?

– We have some utter nonsense going on.. with RJs who talk pure bullshit, and get away with it; random love advise, poor language, and modern young RJs who pronounce old movie and singer’s names with an accent. That part stinks!

– There is a Radio Jockey with as corny a name as “Aapka Deewana number one to infinity”.. yes, ALL of that! And he only speaks in superlatives in describing all the songs and the music directors and the singers that he refers to, on his program. But that can only be expected from one who has a name like that.. !

– The most popular RJ used to be Malishka, on 94.6, when it was alive. In recent times, she is back on 93.5, but she’s obviously trying too hard to recreate that old magic, and is failing!

– In programs that have dual RJs, the best combo is certainly Jaggu and Tarana, on 92.5. They have an amazing chemistry that comes through over the radio. They are very quick and have good fun, and come up with smart lines. Its good to start the day with them..

– The most popular music director continues to be Panchamda – R. D. Burman (Why am I not surprised? If you have a doubt, see the URL of this blog!). The most farmaish happen to come for him, inspite of the generation change!

– In fact, the most remixes seem to be happening on RD’s songs… after all, for a remix, they need to start with a popular song to begin with!

– Radio guys are not allowed to do live news or live stock market updates yet, so we are missing that niche from the private companies, but I suppose it will come now,

– Radio has done some amazing local promotions. Like if a store is stuck with a lot of stock of some SKU, they have promoted on radio that for the next two hours, anyone walking in and purchasing that, gets a gift, for example. And these have worked very well. And similar other promos are doing good.

– With that radio advertising has become more expensive. It used to be a steal few months back, but now radio campaigns are pricey affairs.

– One other program that I have loved is what they call, “Hello, mike testing..”. Here the RJ has a guest with him, and in between talking to this guest, they play the guest’s favourite songs. It’s a good opportunity to know that guest from a first person point of view. I have enjoyed listening to the likes of Amar Singh, Kapil Dev, Mahesh Bhat, and many others, on this program.

I can see radio growing even more with niche programming and reality interactive programs. Indeed, Radio Days are here again.. !

  1. RPM says:

    I can’t connect with the ups and downs of the DJ’s there, but I can say for sure that radio is a part of my morning life. Every morning I listen to some station or the other. There are times when I like to hear some talk and there are times when I avoid talk and just want to listen to the music. But one way or the other, I like the radio.

    Also, usually in the car, I would turn on the radio. With storage becoming relatively inexpensive now, you could argue that putting in an ipod with unlimited storage will give you what no radio can give you today. But I still like the radio because every now and then you want to listen to the commercials, even if they are random and not applicable.

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