The most common line for any person associated with the Radio industry — The Radio has a lot of “potential” to grow as an effective medium of communication. But sadly, that is where it both begins and ends. Not many initiatives are being taken today to explore the potential of such a medium. This frustrates especially those media students whose inclination and commitment towards this very medium is what thrives the Radio industry to still be recognized as an effective medium even in today’s fast moving world. The Radio is a “booming” industry and so are the professional Radio Jockeys. All this sounds encouraging but only in words and unfortunately not in reality.
Most of us love listening to songs on the Radio, we enjoy listening to different genres of programmes aired on Radio while travelling, working or while doing any other activity. But still only a few of us are encouraged by our parents to get into this industry as they do not consider it to be a serious profession. All these wrong notions about this industry hamper its progress.
In fact to work in the Radio industry is a bigger challenge than most professions because one has to convey every emotion only through his voice. If one is not good at it, one fails eventually as an RJ. One of the best examples is a Radio Drama — Life Gulmohar Style, India’s first FM radio drama broadcasted by BBC World Service Trust. This tells us the story of five youngsters who are in search of their destiny. It has been put in such a lively way that one can almost see the Radio vying at par with the Television in spite of not being a visual medium. Every sentence can gets one to visualise the exact scene. It also deals with development issues like — gender equality, women empowerment and their rights. As Yvonne MacPherson, CountryDirector of the BBC World ServiceTrust, rightly says “Our research shows that if the entertainment media were to depict the positive aspects of modern women, then it could be a force for change in increasing their value. Through Life Gulmohar Style, we want to create a thought-provoking and entertaining drama that explores the reasons for the devaluation of females and demonstrates ways in which social pressure can be challenged.”
Though the Government of India has tried to work to empower the private radio stations but the majority of the broadcasting power it has retained itself. The Third Phase of Radio will give the private radio stations the right to air news which presently lies under the monopoly of the All India Radio. This can act as a catalyst for the developing radio industry, if at all it happens.
Radio also plays an important role in spreading awareness among the masses. It can reach the most remote of areas in our country. For example, Red FM launched an AIDS awareness campaign in 2007, providing truckers with information leaflets and condoms. It is good for advertisements also. “Radio is one of the best options available to advertisers in times of slowdown, given its cost effectiveness, high reach and the ability to get completely local when communicating with potential consumers,” says Tarun Katial, chief operating officer of BIG 92.7 FM.
The All India Radio (AIR) aka Akaashvani is one of the largest radio networks of the world. AIR started Yuv-vani in 1998. It is an encouraging step towards the youth participation in the radio industry.
Be it advertising or spreading awareness or to simply entertain, the radio has always played a vital role. It’s high time that we stopped neglecting its potential.