In 2001, when FM was yet to get privatised in Chennai, it was Bangalore that had the good fortune of having a station on air. It was a novelty and the station had a blast notching up listeners at a break-neck speed. I remember making trips to the city just so I could hear an evolved form of radio. That was a time when television had no Arnab Goswamis, Arvind Kejriwals, Bigg Boss and the like—so radio got a lot of attention and everyone was looking forward to its rebirth in their respective cities.
My favourite presenters were from Bangalore and Delhi, but unfortunately I could only listen to them if I were present in those cities. There were some stations that dished out Hindi, while a few belted out English music, which thoroughly satisfied my radio appetite. The flavour that a few stations brought to the table, and still continue to, rings in my ears even now.
The smartphone era has reduced distances, increased connectivity and done a whole lot of good for the medium. Today you can sit in Chennai and listen to your choice of radio stations—be it Bhojpuri or Bengali—by simply downloading the required app. I would never have imagined that I could listen to Radio City or a Red FM without moving outside city limits. Thanks to a few good ‘Santamaritans’, this is now possible. It’s simple: go to your App store and download FM Radio India or a similar app, and you will get to sample a lot of stations from around the country.
The rise of apps has paved the way for you to listen to any station around the world, while giving local stations a national as well as a global outreach. On that note, you have a fantastic Xmas and a smashing New Year.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.