With the government indicating that news might be allowed on FM stations, it will be interesting to hear a new sound on the medium. News today is only broadcast on All India Radio, but if permissions are given by the higher-ups, the consumer will have access to new news sources. There are a lot of questions being asked: like will the station be churning out news with the help of seasoned journalists or will the content be sourced from an agency and then packaged for the listener?
The content will surely be regulated, which limits the role of radio units to only beaming news and current affairs given to them from an external source. That’s a great move given that most radio stations don’t have the required infrastructure to bring news to the public. It would be great if Chennai had a 24/7 news station—at least that way we’d be spared all the comedy and noise that is aired on certain TV news channels.
A news-based FM station will bring great relief to listeners. Needless to say, it has to be tweaked accordingly—as it will not be a music station. Therefore the right content hosted by professionals will make it even more ear-worthy and interesting. Most importantly, it will be a differentiator and that will break the monotony of the frequency as everyone seems to be playing the same music and talking about the same films, at the same time.
News on private FM stations will usher in a new era for the medium. However, it needs to be seen how long it will take radio units to start having their own news bureau, if allowed by the government. That could take another decade or might not happen at all. Until then, you will be subjected to what we know as commercial radio, which is a joke here and a chuckle there and somewhere in between, you slip in a song as well.
A news radio station could become a rage and that’s the stuff that will help the medium evolve and move forward. See you next week!
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.