Radio has become popular again

Special Correspondent

FM channels are being widely accepted by listeners

In the past five decades, Akashvani has passed through five phasesSome of its programmes have been emulated elsewhere

BANGALORE: With the popularity of FM channels, radio listening has come a full circle; to being a popular medium again reaching even people on the move.

The beginnings were made on November 2, 1955, when the airwaves were filled with the voice of Neelamma Kadambi and listened through radio receivers... rather large and heavy with the transistor era still some years away.

That was the primary channel of All India Radio Bangalore. Since then have come the FM channels, Rainbow and Amrutavarshini.

The second is the only such devoted classical music from a public broadcaster and the name of a Carnatic raga, claimed to bring down rain if sung or played with clarity.

In addition, the Bangalore radio station has been broadcasting Sirigandha, especially for Kannadiga listeners living overseas.

The transmission time of the channels together is 70 hours per day. Last year all national Kannada news bulletins were shifted from New Delhi to AIR Bangalore and Dharwad.

In the past five decades, Akashvani Bangalore has passed through five distinctive phases, veterans of broadcasting say.

At first it enjoyed a monopoly and patronised classical music, as almost a guardian. Prominent personalities of the State such as Masti Venkatesa Iyengar, G.P. Rajarathan, V. Sitaramiah Sriranga and Veena Doreswamy Iyengar captivated the listeners with their literary, drama and musical programmes.

Some of its strengths persist; only AIR could bring out the rare album of violin maestro T. Chowdiah.

In the second phase, radio's focus turned towards human resource development, paralleling the Government's then policies.

There were programmes devoted to rural development, the Green Revolution, population control, education, social justice and women's empowerment.

The third phase was the challenge radio had to face from a competitive television.

It quickly adapted itself to changing circumstances with a range of interactive and innovative broadcasts. The experiments in the third phase were carried forward to the fourth phase with new vigour in media planning.

The fifth phase was the entry of more radio channels to capture more audience with a variety of almost non-stop infotainment.

The FM channels completed the new dimension to radio broadcasting.

Some of Bangalore's radio programmes have been emulated by other cities. One is Keli Kali, a radio teacher, which still has 90 lakh listeners.

The other educational broadcasts, Bandani and Chukki Chinna, have been taken up in other regions. Yet another is Yuvavani with its focus on vocational guidance, self-employment, personality development and news about employment opportunities.

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