Radio has always been a medium that you could connect with on a personal level. You can be a part of a station, if you so choose—and by that I mean you can call a radio unit and give them a heads up about an accident, a traffic jam or a lost person, and be rest assured that even if the station doesn’t have the expertise to tackle a particular issue, eventually the right person will end up handling it.
Radio stations have become increasingly interactive and that’s a great sign that the medium is moving in tandem with its listeners. Initially, when the FM juggernaut rolled in, a lot of programming ideas were created based on assumptions. You can’t really blame those who were part of content creation, but let me tell you that there was so much garbage created in the process that you could fill 10 green bins—actually, come to think of it, maybe even a football park.
There were show ideas that were solely based around the presenter’s personality. If the presenter lacked a vibrant personality, a team would go in and, with the help of tools, drawings and archival examples, not to forget added inputs from that host, start the process of rebuilding. The freakish thing was that by the time you could spell the station’s name, a new personality would be born. It was pretty close to a paranormal experience.
All the presenter was required to do was talk to the public, rather than to the listener, as some stations worried about exposing the chink in their armour (like the listener had no clue). In retrospect, such shows would have sounded better if the listener was let in rather than converting a presenter into a kamikaze pilot. You could actually see those hosts glide into self destruct mode.
If presenters are not confident of taking callers, then they shouldn’t be on-air at all, as it automatically cuts the listener out of the equation. Increased levels of interactivity by any station will only spike the level of personal connect a station has with its listeners. See you next week.
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.