May 18, 2007

Radio Ga-Ga

Now that I have a car I did what one does best to kill time in the car- tune radio channels! Between December last and now, the period when I didn’t have a set of four-wheels much has changed in the world of airwaves. Six months ago there were, I think, just 5 or 6 radio stations- Radio City 91.FM, Red FM 93.5, Radio Mirchi 98.3FM and the ever popular 102.6 Mz, the station of the nation. The 5th one being the 104-point something on which I usually got the news and caught the cricket commentary on and the last one being the non-stop non-sense RJ less 95FM. Most car stereos have 6 pre-sets and this worked just fine for me. Thanks to our country’s ass kicking growth all around we are blessed with almost 12 radio stations and like everything else many more in the pipeline.

Radio is seeing the same boom that television saw a few years ago and radio stars now have hoardings too, something that their TV cousins never managed!

I thought that there would finally be some quality stuff to choose from but I don’t have to tell you that the more things change, the more they remain same. On my recent drive from New Friends Colony to Gurgaon; a journey that lasted almost 100 minutes covereing almost three states, well over 30 kms and all this while none of the channels played one single song that I liked! I went ballistic flipping through the stations; you see I don’t want to miss that one song which I want to hum. But all I found was either cheap ads mimicked in Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone about the boom in real estate or Himesh crooning away to glory across the board. Adding to my plight was a HAL like computer sounding voice on my cell phone that had Himesh playing in the background; the toll free call informed me that it was Himesh’s birthday and they were giving way Himesh songs as caller ID’s instead of the boring tring-tring at concession prices. Thanks, but no thanks.

what’s the point in having so many stations when you are to be plagued by the same non-sense? Maybe there’s a bigger truth to it but I guess I’m being shortsighted. A few days ago I met someone who was high up in the Radio Mirchi hierarchical tree. She is of the opinion that most radio stations are run by mad monkeys who think that songs like ‘Mard Tangewala’ and other such numbers from the 1980’s are classics. Though I’m not a bumbling chimpanzee, not at least till my last medical check-up, I kinda agree. Think about it…1980’s like almost 30 years ago and that’s time enough for something to become a classic! I found an easy solution to radio problem in Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s live version of Tum Ek Gorakh Dhanda Ho, the darn Qwaali is 30 minutes long and the lyrics are throughly engrossing!

All we hear is radio ga ga
Radio blah blah
Radio what's new ?
Radio, someone still loves you