As a radio jockey, my journey has been enriching as I get to study people. I get to interact with callers who love talking on radio and actually expressing their strong opinions on whether they love red or yellow. Jokes apart, from simple topics like this to if ‘kissing should be allowed in public’ to the current setbacks and civic issues, Hyderabadis have an opinion on everything. With time, radio has become much more relevant to real people, real sentiments and issues. We have known this medium as fun and frivolous – talking some gibberish and engaging people while on the go. But with time, it is steering its way towards becoming the Indian idol from Indian idle.
Talent hunts, current affairs, tips, complaints, tip-offs, radio does it. Filmmaker Ramgopal Varma who revels in the fanfare and grandeur of the film industry and has never really related to a small medium like this seems to have changed his stance about it, at last after he experienced listening to his own voice with no visual. “It leaves a strong impact on the listener as the person is not even seen. Once you form your own mental picture of the speaker, the connection gets stronger, ” he adds.
What is even more endearing about our citizens is that they actually listen, spend time, spend some money and call up the hosts. Unlike TV, where people get the instant gratification of being world famous in Hyderabad, this is a different scene. They are not visible, they need to reach out to be heard. All they ask for is a song sometimes. Most of my callers have been people driving to work.
The typical pulse of the city is reflected by cab drivers who are the regulars. Our phone lines buzz when we announce an issue like the water crisis in many areas, or influence of cinema on real life crime. I know some enthusiastic and educated callers who can speak on any topic and they almost become extended radio jockeys with time. One such caller is Murthy. I have never met him, but when I imagine, I feel that he looks like Amol Palekar or Parikshith Sahani. Cool, balanced and refined.
Sudha is another radio regular. She calls every single morning even just to say hello and she has a strange seductive tune in which she speaks. Now just imagine a pothole issue being discussed in that kind of a voice.
Radio is a personal medium and in fact allows one to express themselves uninhibited. My co-host Shekhar Basha who is known for his brain-teasers has now joined my crusade of solving people’s issues. We have in fact experienced some really intense callers who really want to be heard- on topics that are considered taboo. It is mutual that we too feel responsible to do the needful. What does it do me? I get to be much more authentic – in my speech and action, unlike TV which has a layer of formality. Lastly, whether it is a complaint box or confession box for our listeners, it makes me a good listener.
— The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)