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Making waves
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Making waves

There has been a mushrooming of radio channels and amidst the din, we focus on the All India Radio, which has more than a faithful following and among the young too20 Oct 2018 | 12:02 AM

Decades ago, when the term RJ wasn’t yet a part of the listeners’ vocabulary, when motor-mouth jockeys were yet to replace the announcer, when programming was defined by disconnected half-hour slots meant to cater to farmers, housewives, children and, of course, the office-goer; there existed the one and only All India Radio…brought into our homes every morning as Akashvaani.

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Manpriya Singh

Decades ago, when the term RJ wasn’t yet a part of the listeners’ vocabulary, when motor-mouth jockeys were yet to replace the announcer, when programming was defined by disconnected half-hour slots meant to cater to farmers, housewives, children and, of course, the office-goer; there existed the one and only All India Radio…brought into our homes every morning as Akashvaani. 

That was before private FM channels slowly (actually more steadily) invaded every possible urbanscape of the country. In the din of radio jingles, commercials, on-air pranks and the works, we tune back into nostalgia and the voices behind the AIR, and the more popular FM Rainbow stations.  To know what are they airing and more importantly who’s listening to them. 

Wise words

It’s no more about radio stations, when listeners have everything available, it’s about which jockeys and programmes do they want to hear, feels OP Rathore, who hosts the very popular Gaane Ke Bahaane, aired on Sundays through almost 128 stations linked to AIR. “We have all sorts of listeners, but we can’t judge solely on the basis of who all are writing back to us,” he opines, while sharing how it’s during his visit to several college campuses, or through personal visit to a bank, or a dentist, he became aware of the popularity of his show.  

Far & wide

Chips in Gurmeet Dhiman, who hosts yet another popular morning show, apart from live programme, Shaam Suhani, on Bathinda station, “Just because a major chunk of our listeners are rural, doesn’t mean that we don’t have urban audience tuning in to us.” At approximately 14 lakh listeners, and with broadcast up to Himachal Pradesh, 40 per cent of those tuned in at any point of time are urban dwellers. 

He adds, “That being said, we target niche audience too and not just urban yippes. We make programmes for oldies, health-based shows for children, and in that sphere we have a dedicated rather than a wavering audience.” 

The station boasts of impressive numbers in terms of annual revenues to the tune of Rs 70 lakh. Akashvaani currently has 420 stations across the country, while Rainbow FM stations, first launched somewhere in early nineties, came about to target young listeners on the move. With their content, informal presentation style and some of the really popular programmes, like Time Out, Footloose and Wicked Hour, it did connect with the young. 

Facts first

AIR FM Rainbow Delhi airs in as many as 10 cities, which is quite a feat. “It’s the best of both private stations and public broadcasting,” chips in Neha Digaz, student MCM college, who feels the commercial and advertising breaks are much lesser and much less noisy on Rainbow FM. Says Khushbir Sidhu, announcer with AIR Bathinda station, “Government funding for public stations ensures we don’t have to depend on advertising for survival and can focus on broadcasting meaningful news, which has been cross-checked and is factual rather than gossip.” She adds, “We only source our news from public or official sources, unlike private stations who even speculate about stars’ instagram feeds.” 

manpriya@tribunemail.com 

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