Tuning in to good times

World Radio Day

Tuning in to good times

A nice cup of coffee with a loud, peppy and energetic ‘Good morning... Bengaluru’ and some vibrant numbers are enough to give you that spark for the entire day. With a number of radio stations in the City, Bengalureans are definitely spoilt for choice. Though many would believe that since the smartphone revolution, tuning into radio stations has taken a backseat, on the occasion of ‘World Radio Day’, people share their memories about the radio and talk about its presence today.

The elderly say that listening to the radio was not just a personal affair but also a community one earlier. Citizens like Vimal Kumar Tongia, a resident of Chikka Lalbagh, say that during his childhood, people used to gather in a large group to listen to songs and updates. “The radio was our only source of entertainment back then. We used to gather on Wednesday and tune in to Radio Ceylon where ‘Binaca Geetmala’ would be broadcasted. The presenter Ameen Sayani’s voice was so charming that it still remains fresh in my memory,” he explains.

Vimal says that the radio was the only medium of information for them, back in the 1960s. “I still remember how we would tune in 1962, when the Indo-China War happened.” He proudly remembers when he bought his first transistor radio. “Songs on the Vividh Bharati and detailed news from BBC London had a big presence in our daily lives.”

Others like Srinivas Shetty, a businessman in the City, say that this was the only medium for them to listen to film songs. “I loved to sing when I was young and I used to learn all the songs after listening to them on the radio.” Despite a jam-packed schedule, Srinivas makes it a point to tune in to a radio station at 7 am and during the nights, till date. “Every night, at 10 pm, old songs would be broadcasted on Vividh Bharati and I still make it a point to listen to them. This is my ‘me time’. Also, I listen to the radio at 7 am, while practising yoga,” he mentions.

Many youngsters use the radio as a distraction from their busy schedules. Sreeja, a professional, says that she listens to the radio in the mornings, while driving to work. “The morning shows combine everything — peppy music, traffic updates, news and insights about the City. Even if I’m not driving, I listen to them at home.”

Jatin Shah, a portfolio analyst with a bank, tunes in to the radio almost every morning and evening. “This helps me settle in to a day’s work. I listen to Fever 104 FM Bengaluru in the morning as it has humourous shows and plays nice music. In the evenings too, I listen to the radio as it is a great stress-buster after a long day at work!” He adds that he has been listening to the radio religiously since 2003 and though he has swapped channels since then, he loves the radio as a whole. “I have noticed that Bengalureans have many options to listen. Unique concepts including horror shows and radio magazines have also been introduced now,” he says.

Other youngsters also tune in to the radio while they are gymming or in between other activities. Aparna Sen Rituposh, an art professional, says that she doesn’t have to bother with creating playlists. “If I’m listening to music through a music player, I have to keep changing songs, which doesn’t let me concentrate on my main task. Also, I like how while I’m working out, programmes with news or topics of discussions can trigger one’s thought process.”

The evolution of the radio has been much talked about. Sriram Sullia, radio jockey with Fever 104 FM Bengaluru, says that there was a time when people used to say that radio is in its nascent stage in India. “It’s been almost 10 years since FM broadcast started in Bengaluru and things have changed fast. Many radio stations are trying to make their presence felt on the internet too, apart from the regular broadcasts. There has been a big drive-time listenership and this continues. There are still people who wake up and switch on the radio first things in the morning,” he says. Sriram adds that the audience which mostly tunes in is IT-centric. “Since we play Hindi music, we have people from all across tuning in through the day.”

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