| 24 Apr 2024
If only Radio had a Reset button!

Adult Contemporary (AC), Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR), Adult Adult Contemporary (AAC), Sometimes Contemporary Sometimes Dated (SCSD) and what more have we? Definitions aside, sometimes I wish I could hit the reset... button on a radio station and take it back to the day they started their programming. The very first day they went on air when they tried harder, sounded more honest in spite of the faux pas on air. Remember how they took their first tentative steps like toddlers - smiling, laughing and crying - falling and getting up all excited about walking on thin air. Almost all radio stations start out with a vision and then the vision starts blurring. It's almost like watching a soap on MTV or Channel V. Same difference!

Some years back, I remember a radio station insisted on airing India's longest running Saas Bahu soap on air and also insisted that the show was doing very well! I used to get scared to even pick up calls during that time as listeners would call up and give the choicest of gaalis for subjecting them to something that just didn't make sense on radio. Nor did the �Reality Singing Show' make sense on air, even though it was music related – since you couldn't see the performers performing. And on radio you could catch the nuances of every besura singer desperately trying to hit the right notes. So, why do radio stations do the wrong stuff on air by borrowing Television content and what can you possibly do to de-odorise the air waves?

For starters, I remember a gentleman once telling me On radio it ain't wrong for long!... Correction is possible right now. Provided you have the balls (no I am not referring to eyeballs) to accept your programming errors and accepting that rectifying the errors sooner than later would actually help in improving listenership. And hitting the reset button sometimes would actually help. Anyone familiar with the launch of a radio station would know how every little production element that goes on air is planned and placed on a clock and tested before the station goes on air. The unfortunate part with a running station is it's like a runaway train. You can't stop the train. You just have to run along and add things or remove things from it. The faster the speed of the train the more difficult it is to make those changes  You can't suddenly jettison an RJ who's been doing a show for a few years“ even if he's been doing it the wrong way. I remember a 'National Progamming Head' once asked me why we couldn't  replace an RJ with a guy who could just mimic his voice on air and continue with his show if Ekta Kapoor could do it by changing Mihir more than twice and bring him back from the dead, why can't we! Believe me – I said, the listeners would know that it's not him  And that's the power of radio. That's the reason why the Television is called the Idiot Box!

Unfortunately, a lot of idiots who run things on the idiot box have taken over programming for radio and it shows - on air! They forget that it's not about TRPs on radio. (No offense meant to those intelligent TV Programming guys who stick to their skills of converting gullible housewives into eyeballs for TRPs with the most unreal reality shows.) And people can actually see The Emperor's new improved invisible clothes... don't exist on radio far more easily than on Television!

Now, all we need is a little pappu to point a finger at all those radio stations and tell them that their clothes are missing!

Ravi I Yaar is a freelance radio consultant. No channel or medium is responsible for his views and opinions“ you can follow his advice at your own risk on