Just last week, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the elusive phase three of FM radio was ‘on track’ and also ‘on time’. And while we truly believe the on track part, since the phase has already spent many years in the pipeline, we’re wary of the on time bit! But since he, and his team, has approved of 839 new stations in 294 cities to be set up before the year ends, it is certainly a pot of gold at the end of an endless rainbow. Hopefully, we will have a lot of variety and energy to add to our air waves soon.
Indigo 91.9 has just completed a unique eight in a city saturated with stations that sound like each other. Michelle Patrao, one of their RJs says, “We have been the only international radio station in Bangalore and more importantly, we were the first in India.” Indigo went live for straight 24 hours to celebrate the anniversary. Says Patrao, “The best part of my job? I get a chance to spend a whole four hours with Nathan Woerter (fellow RJ) every weekday and we talk about gadgets, fitness, health, gender wars, culture clashes and play happy music. If you don’t have the right content, you will never have listener participation. And what’s a radio show without people calling?”
Patrao grew interested in radio, listening to Rohit Barker and she rewinds, “My first radio job was in Dubai at a station called Radio Spice, back in 2007.” Since then, she has made many memories like once broadcasting all the way from Dublin, pranking her mother by claiming she was having a baby, meeting the Backstreet Boys, Snoop Dogg and being mobbed at college fests.
Lessons learnt on air? She signs off, “Better to be a trendsetter than a copycat. And radio has taught me to be grateful for the life I have, for the fun I have at work, for the voice I have and the difference I can make in people’s lives.”
How has FM radio evolved in India? Says Patrao, “In comparison to the rest of the world, we are still babies. We have come a long way but have a long way to go.” Minister Javadekar, are you listening?
— Reema Moudgil | Inputs: Aakanksha Devi