Home Columns Anantha Narayan Fixing the format

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    Hitting the sweet spot when it comes to content and music is imperative, as that’s what decides who the front runner is. You hear content on some radio stations that makes you wonder if these units are from the city you live in. Applying the texture of the city to the soundscape is as important as understanding what the listener wants when it comes to music.

    A lot of stations say that they play your favourite music, but when you listen to them carefully you soon find out that they are playing their favourite music. When it comes to regional music stations—be it Hindi, Bengali, Bhojpuri and the like—the music dispensing pattern always skews towards what is the latest. Which is excellent as the listener gets to listen to what is current, but not all current music and content are worth that air time.

    Many radio houses boast of giving the listener the best—because of their stringent music policy coupled with content that has been meticulously arranged for the consumer to enjoy. However, what’s on paper is not what you get when you tune in. The content will be farfetched and the music repetitive.

    The ones that my heart goes out to are the presenters who have to deal with not only carrying this oversized palki on their shoulders, but also have a job to reach the top spot quicker than the others. As a presenter, you always have that awkward moment when you know that what you’re being made to do is never going to work.

    The point that is being missed by a lot of radio stations is that when you format your show to a particular feel, then it operates creatively only within that territory, hence limiting other value-adds that a station could bring. Formats have been done to death and stations can only feel the city if they get rid of this ancient method of programming. Until then we shall have to live in the past. See you next week!

    Niladri (talkingradio@gmail.com)
    The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.

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