Radio has always been the music provider to its listeners. Over the years, right from the first soap on radio to the days of K C Kasem, Shadow Stevens, Howard Stern and, in the recent past, Annie Mac, radio is an entertaining gadget that does much more than unite listeners with their favourite music.
In India, Ameen Sayani has been a legend and there can be no one to surpass the listener ratings he got in an era when there was no internet, social media, colour televisions and mobile phones. Today, however, listeners have numerous options that makes the scenario on radio much more competitive. There is a side B to radio, which hasn’t been explored simply because there isn’t a mandate.
The moment the medium gets a nod to air news and current affairs-related content, radio in India will become an adult. It will open a door that has been shut for years and new listeners will come through it in scores because finally the medium has a bigger audio screen for its consumers.
It’s still not clear how news and current affairs content on the medium will be regulated and by whom, but it’s good to hear that it will happen. News-related shows would be instant hits as there wouldn’t be anything that could distract the listener. The intake by the consumer will only be audio, so the pain of looking at the numerous boxes on television and reading the scrolled messages at the bottom, which run like mini bullet trains, will never happen.
Radio presenters who are clueless about what’s happening around them with regards to political and social issues would find it difficult to hold on to their assigned hours. There would be no roles for fake journalism and the content delivered would be designed to hit the mark neutrally.
It would be interesting to see how listeners respond to this new option. I’m pretty sure it will rock the house. See you next week!
—Niladri (firstname.lastname@example.org) The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.