Home Columns Anantha Narayan Caught in a bubble

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    The reasons Indian radio is behind by a few light years could be many. One of them, I’d like to believe, is that a lot has been assumed on behalf of the listener. The picture that a lot of regional stations like to paint is that of an old black and white snapshot of the city, which is inaccurate. The experience that one has with a radio station has to be true and unlimited.

    When you do hear a few radio units today there is one thing that they’ve mastered—the art of faking. This brings me to the topic of station punch lines that a lot of stations like to hang around their necks like dog tags. It’s tag lines that limit the station’s personality and the ability for it to evolve with changing times. That said, when you do hear a station or a presenter trying to portray a particular avatar like being cool or being the epitome of entertainment, it actually falls flat right there.

    If it’s something you aren’t, then it will be a challenge to pull that so-called alter ego in front of listeners as radio is not about acting. Another spanner in the works for radio is the mandate that it has on what could be said on-air. You have to always sound innocent like you have no clue about the terrorist attack in your city or a political rally that went wrong. All you do as a station is behave that the world outside that door doesn’t exist. The lines are clearly drawn on what radio is allowed to do, which again is another reason for the medium in India to be just a dispenser of music, funny jokes, big contests and, if possible, a presenter who is on-air worthy. Apart from all these limitations you still have wonderful radio professionals with ‘The Eagle has Landed’ syndrome to make the wicket even stickier. So the next time you wonder why Indian radio sounds the way it does, you have a few answers. See you next week with more radio talk!

    – Niladri

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