Music

Radio: Beyond requests and pep-talks

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Music request shows across radio stations are gradually becoming a thing of the past, the reason is more technical than psychological

Radio, ever since its evolution has been a tool that’s carefully balanced information with entertainment- the balance has swung many a time in the latter’s favour, yet one needn’t think twice about the impact it could generate. One of the significant elements that drive shows across private and government-driven stations is music, the way one’s consuming it though has undergone a change. Song request programmes that were once segments that won the attention of most listeners are gradually permeating out of the radio-scene. But for a radio station or two, these programmes have become a thing of the past.

The reasons behind the trend may vary, right from the way music has got personalised with other digital alternatives, how radio station-founders look at the medium’s purpose differently now and how listeners want to do more than ‘small pep talk’. Radio is transforming into something where listeners look forward to expressing larger issues — be it social, political or personal with a sense of anonymity.

Commenting on the same, writer and former mass communication student Gauthami Challagulla says, “We have a long standing association with gadgets and the time where we discuss issues together in a group, other avenues has now reduced. For us, radio has become an online friend now, the medium’s wider reach help you feel like a larger family. People who come from smaller towns, miss their family and suffer loneliness, this is an avenue that peps up their life.”

However, is the reason behind the absence of song request only technical more than a psychological change from the listeners? The operational change being one, the evolution of many FM channels have made the market more competitive on who captures the pulse of their listener-base better with their music.

Radio: Beyond requests and pep-talks

RJ Manasa Jairam of Fever FM says, “Music managers are the norm now. An RJ no longer has the time to pick, choose what song is to be played next. There are automated playlists for a particular time and a mood. Beyond that, song request shows come with label and copyright issues. What if we aren’t able to play what the listeners ask for?”

And on the other side, we live in an information era with updates on the go, but what connects with an aam-janta is a group-discussion like atmosphere with the radio - they enjoy the fact that their perspective is being valued. “That they can open up to me, find me familiar and yet realise that I’m a stranger helps listeners. They have nothing to fear,” she adds.

Stations with song-request segments
  • FM Rainbow
  • Red FM

Among the rare RJs hosting song request shows with a pinch of relationship/personal advice is RJ Chaitu in the show ‘Midnight Biryani’ on Red FM. The reason behind the success of the rare song request show can also be attributed to the absence of commerce-driven slots in the later part of the night — the focus on engaging the listener is more.

“One can’t help it that radio stations work around mood-driven segments. The happening news factors to begin the day, the afternoon shows for the homemmakers, the evenings for the film aficionados-are some of the reasons song request-shows have come down,” Chaitu feels.

And don’t blame this on music apps, he points out, for the easy accessibility of radio is unmatched.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:28:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/radio-beyond-requests-and-pep-talks/article23382692.ece

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