With Australia winning the World Cup, it has put an end to all the talk about who the number one is. After all, only the winning team can lay claim to the title. That’s fair play and rightly so. But when it comes to being the number one radio station in India, the fair play scenario is not just relegated to the back seat it, it occupies the boot. There is no foolproof audience measuring device or even a TRP rating, like television has—a reason why everyone claims to have won the race.
Imagine a 100 metre dash where the runners insist they have all crossed the finish line at once, in spite of a visual reference that proves there is only one winner. That’s what many stations are into, thereby making the ‘number one’ tag a joke. It all stems from the fact that there is no believable listener tracking method and that the radio unit itself has undertaken the task of figuring out the number of people listening to it. So the path followed is this: when no one is looking, quickly award that gold medal to yourself and, after a while, you will really feel like you have won it.
There is a questionnaire that stations create after many hours of brainstorming, which has content that will boggle your mind—like what is your name, what time do you wake up and, finally, who, what and why do you listen to radio. There are other questions as well, which are very important, like what is your zodiac sign and if there ever was a second part to the movie I, should it be called ‘J’? About 50 unfortunate individuals are asked to make their presence felt and this questionnaire is handed to them. They tick the boxes in a flash and once that’s done, it’s time for refreshments—which is bun and tea.
So the next time you hear a station trumpet the words ‘number one’, maybe they just need to visit the rest room. See you next week with more radio talk.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.