It’s more than 13 years since the privatisation of FM frequencies took place and players are still waiting for a nod from the law makers to beam out news and current affairs. There were and still are questions on how radio units would implement news and the like. A few sources say that news would be provided to radio units by the concerned authorities and all that a station needs to do is hit play.
Now that is a way forward for starters. Quite honestly, news should be allowed on radio. Maybe not a 24/7 station (who knows, there could be takers for that as well) but surely when there is something important which the public need to know. News today is consumed on the triple ‘w’(subject to a stable internet connection, of course) much more than television. That said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a bit of chit chat about what’s going on around us.
Radio units in the future will go beyond hiring radio jockeys to also roping in those who can communicate well and have a journalistic background. Once this intelligence quotient is applied, the medium as such will finally have some maturity come in to play. The question is, when? It’s been thirteen years and counting and there’s no sign of that green signal. I guess we can expect news on radio around the time we get our first functional bullet train.
Radio stations do however run the risk of overcooking the message that needs to go out, with not-so-pleasant outcomes. Will stations have another race like they’re having right now in spite of not carrying news capsules? Will radio units be timely news vehicles? These are questions that can only be answered once the mandate for stations changes. Once that takes place, it will be a path-breaking moment for radio in India.
Here’s hoping the medium gives out a ear worthy easy listening experience for its listeners this year. See you next week with more radio talk!
The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.