Radio has touched sentiments of vast section of Indian society. Many who are in their middle age can remember the days in the early 80’s when in many homes the day started with familiar voice of Ameen Sayani in his program Binaka Geetmala on Radio Ceylon. It was much before the advent of television, that the Radio had become an integral part of an average Indian Middle Class family. The dependence on radio had gone to such an extent that families used to rely on timings of radio programs to do their activities. Many would relate starting of a particular radio program as timing to leave to their offices, sending kids to schools etc.
It was the All India Radio’s main entertainment channel, Vividh Bharati, which was started in 1960’s that first catered to the taste of Indian audiences. It ran programs like situational comedies, film music based programs, dramas, news, discussions and commentaries on various issues like health, cooking etc. With very less other mediums of entertainment besides films and radio offering easy and affordable mode of entertainment, it soon gained popularity among masses. Its flexibility, adaptability, extensive reach of Radio made it popular among every household in India and even attracted advertisers. It was the Vividh Bharati, which was going to set the precursor to the future of radio stations in India.
However, with the advent of Television in the mid 1980’s, the radio began to loose its sheen as a potent entertainment media. Due to natural advantages of Television and its Audio-Visual nature, a large section of society shifted to television. The restrictive broadcasting and license policies of government also hampered the growth of radio in country. Even after having a good reach, the radio could not expand its penetration.
The Radio received a new lease of life when in July 1999 the government allowed private operators to enter the FM radio broadcasting sector. The first private FM radio station Radio City began its operation in Bangalore, Karnataka in October 2001. Soon licenses were issued to other private operators and now a range of private radio stations can be seen offering a quality programming content.
The new face radio in the form of FM radio stations does give the same sense of personal touch to listeners as it gave during the years of its inception. Radio stations now offers programs on variety of themes. The Radio Jockeys or RJs have become household names and much popular among teenagers for their effective interaction and humour. The introduction of mobile phones with FM receiver was a significant leap that popularized the radio. Now everyone could listen to radio while going to work, in traffic, in homes etc. The FM stations besides giving a new face to radio also played a role in popularizing the local culture and highlighting the spirit of the people. Like many radio stations in Hyderabad makes one feel connected with the culture of city. The emergence of satellite radio has further expanded the horizons of radio broadcasting. As digital radio signal is transmitted through communications satellite one can listen to the same radio programs over a very large region. Due to its digital nature, the sound quality is sharp and the quality of programming is high. This resurgence of radio can be contributed to the entry of the private players in radio broadcasting sector, which completely transformed the way we listen to the radio.
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