If you were to pit radio against the internet, with regards to consumption in India, it would be like a tricycle going up against a NASCAR. In spite of the massive reach and penetration that radio units enjoy, a country like ours has close to 250 million net users—and out of that very small bunch, 110 million people are active on social media.
The infinite garbage that the web contains comes along with some great content as well. It obviously depends on what you think is great and garbage. The latitude internet has when it comes to its information skyline is truly unbelievable, something radio hasn’t been able to master. Not that it can’t—it’s just stuck in a time warp of ideas and concepts that is 25 years behind the times; the same on-air drill done over and over again in different ways
The internet is a far bolder medium in India than radio. A radio station wouldn’t want listener feed back on-air, whether a particular film director is overrated or not. All in the fear of probably losing the audio release broadcast. Neither would it go to town with a petition that supports legalisation of medical marijuana. Rarely would a radio unit talk about corruption and the individuals who are associated with it. A radio unit would just do exactly what it’s programmed to do, almost like a robot, only less intelligent.
You will never find a station spending time on any topic for more than an hour. On the internet, the more a topic trends the more is its reach. In India, radio is consumed when on a drive or via mobile devices or even in homes. The average time spent is not more than 60 minutes. If someone is spending more time than that, they need to get a job pronto. On the internet, the average consumption is anywhere between three and five hours, with an equal half of that spent on social media.
Is it time to log on or tune out? See you next week.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.