The unthinkable has just happened in the city. We now have a Hindi radio station and it’s belting out Bollywood hits. Congratulations Chennai, you now have Radio One 94.3 FM. In the past, having a Hindi radio station here was like expecting the French to speak in English. Now the myth that the city does not enjoy Hindi music has been busted with the overwhelming response from listeners. This fresh sound is something I never thought I’d experience in my city.
With this move, the soundscape skyline is changing and we listeners are definitely loving it. After nearly 12 years of privatisation, someone has considered the existence of Hindi music lovers. And yes, Radio One is 100 per cent Bollywood and 100 per cent Chennai. It’s early days yet and it’s evident that the station is moving forward cautiously. 94.3 has a great offering for listeners—five hours of back-to-back music along with (forgettable) old-school-styled endorsement campaigns.
However, the music still needs a wee bit of tweaking. The likes of Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata and Asha, RD Burman, Jagjit Singh and Khayyam Saab’s compositions don’t find a very prominent space on the play list. The soul of Hindi music is missing in that context and many a time there is disconnect between the presenter and the play list. It might be a conscious decision on the station’s part, but the sound is sometimes blaring.
There’s more on the late night menu from Radio One. You also have English music on the go from TJ Siddhu and my personal favourite, from the 90’s Brian Tellis. Brian is a legend when it comes to his music. He shows you how to connect the dots in the simplest way and that’s something presenters at 94.3 should feed off.
It’s a fantastic beginning for Chennai Radio and a standing ovation to Tariq (T-man, my ex-boss from the 90s) for giving us a reason to listen to the radio. See you next week!
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.