Listen to the radio?

Many moons ago, Don Williams sang, “I try to find a way to explain to you, what’s on my mind and not sound so plain to you, but you’ll realize if you close your eyes, the feelings my words can’t show, they’re playing on the radio. Listen to the radio, Oh listen to the radio…”

Decades after, in the age of FM Radio Channels, I wonder what the veteran might have to say. Like me, he would have surely deleted this song from every playlist. To begin with, I don’t eat pan masalas. Buying property is the last thing on my mind.Marathondoesn’t excite me. Jewelry is for the Bhappi Laheris. So why on earth should I be subjected to a series of radio spots playing to a torturous schedule of almost 60 spots per 60 minutes? Isn’t radio supposed to play more songs?

Well they do, but songs between the ads, whereas it should be vice versa. And what is it about yelling in front of a microphone? Aren’t the RJs taught that the microphones they are yelling at are super sensitive? Just like our ears. The only seeming way to teach them a lesson or two is to make them hear to their own program on a headphone.

Ads no longer inform us on radio channels. They are crammed between the songs and force-fed to us, day in day out. The motor-mouth RJs keep blabbering stuff they could well share with their friends over cutting chaais or suuttaas, why would any listener be interested why they got late for a particular film or how they felt during a trip to grandparents’ home or how they spent their holidays or festivals?

How about sharing anecdotes of actors, composers, lyricists, producers and directors, which has a connection with the songs being played? There’s a treasure of film literature (beyond lazy Google searches) yet unexplored, which could be shared everyday over a cuppa. There are surely many radio channels actually practicing this, but are marred by the incessant number of radio jingles and spots overshadowing the show’s content.

“So shall we stop broadcasting advertisements? If we do that, how the hell would we run the channel, you moron? If you don’t like them, you always have an I-pod, isn’t it?” – Might be the obvious retort. The key is learning to say ‘no’ to clients when they ask for a schedule where their spot or jingle is played every few seconds. The radio channel can always explain them that they run the risk of losing their listeners. Without listeners, why would a realty developer or jeweler offer hefty amount to block those 30 seconds to announce their new property, jewelry range, food, cosmetic, garment, pan masala, and almost everything under the sun? (I am tempted to name the usual suspects, but naming them would again, promote their brands).

On the other hand, if you tune into the Vividh Bharti, they are always soft-spoken and the number of radio spots are negligible or at least don’t grate on your nerves. Nevertheless,  you do have to endure those long lists of names like Munna, Nita, Rita, Mohan, Sohan, Seema, Nandu etc, which is thankfully aborted by that golden line – aur unke bahut saare saathi. The content intrigues you. The anchors win over you. But by the time you are hooked, they are quick to announce, ‘Is ke saath hi hamara yeh karyakram samaapt hota hain, namaskar”.


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