| 22 Jul 2024
The great Indian Radio League! (A ball by ball comparison with the IPL!)

For starters both are a medium of entertainment. And both have a very limited time to keep you hooked in or tuned in. There are a few who watch a whole match which is approximately 3 to 4 hours long. That's approximately the duration of a radio show on any one time-slot. So if you were to look at any show (morning, mid-morning, afternoon or evening or even late night) on any radio station like an IPL match you will find all the ingredients of fun that need to garnish it.

The Cheer girls. Ahaa…there are lots of them in a radio station, you just don't see them! They work behind the scenes to cheer their favourite radio jockeys  Right from the music manager to the show producer – who doubles as the chai/coffee wala/wali for the RJ; as long as they like you, they are your cheer girls. Of course, the CEO sits in a chair in the dug out or in the conference room like Mrs. Nita Ambani wearing white, waving a flag for you. Or occasionally chooses to be like Shilpa Shetty blowing kisses at you and jumping and dancing for you everytime you read out the sensex update!

Remember, like the great man M.S. Dhoni once said to me you're only as good as your last match, in India  If you fail to perform, or they don't like you – you can hear them whispering behind your back Yuvraj S@#&$! Yuvraj S@#&$!...

Now, the batsmen are the Radio Jockeys (remember the IPL is a batsmen's game). The morning breakfast show host is like the opening batsman. No doubt, every radio station looks for an Icon player to play this role. Which means that it's unlikely that a complete fresher would be given the chance to open the batting! The day you are Ganguly enough to take off your shirt and twirl it in front of millions of radio listeners (and they can see the shirt on air) you're good enough to be the morning breakfast show host. Or else you could be smooth as Sachin Tendulkar – shifting his weight, gauging the line and length and then flicking or placing the ball wherever he chooses. A good morning breakfast show host does exactly that  Checks the weather report. Tells you how you're going to sweat in your pants but not to fret he's come along to cool your mornings with the joke of the day. And everytime he hits a four or a six with his listeners about the amazing things that are happening in the city the cheer girls (the music manager and the producer) will play out a rocking number for you or give you a toot toot sound effect. Just the way the DJ does it in the stadium at the IPL!

The mid-morning show host is the one down batsman. She or he has to face the music. Their bowlers or rather listeners are usually a bunch of housewives delivering straight balls. And if at all they happen to be spinners the ball rarely does much of a turn – since the wicket has been made so flat that the bowlers hardly get much turn even on a Monday! So, what does the mid-morning jock do. Nothing too spectacular, just hold on to his/her wicket and play some good songs – to keep the runs flowing.

And then comes the afternoon jock  A bollywood specialist perhaps. Now, this batsman's greatest challenge is to see that his listeners don't go to sleep. So a few fours and sixes are required just to keep them awake. Hence you invariably hear the jock trying really hard to keep the contests going at this hour. And the gifts are invariably…mixers, cookers and such appliances that would appeal to the housewife!

The evening jock usually walks in around that time in the game where you are in the 15th over. The slog overs of any IPL match. It's a do or die situation. The jock has to be spontaneous. Take the maximum risks and be at his wittiest best by this hour. The maximum number of crazy contests with traffic updates and hello please come to this shopping mall for some great offers... happens at this hour! So, he or she has to be a pinch hitter and occasionally pick up the mongoose bat to hit huge sixes to get any kind of attention. The Cheer girls are usually working overtime by this time and the CEO has closed her eyes and is praying to the god of radio RAM... (no not Ram of Ramayan fame but R-A-M of Radio rating points fame) asking for a miracle to happen in the next RAM ratings!

Then by around 9pm you start getting the tail enders coming in for the nail biting finish. With their deep voices and soulfull music they are the bookends of the radio station. You go to sleep listening to these guys. The most loyal listenership following happens at this hour. As the fickle minded radio listener is zapping between the reality dance show, the unreal wedding carnival and the unrealistic soap opera that's grabbing eye-balls on TV. And since there's no such thing as ear balls and only ear buds radio has no doctored reality shows. What transpires is either real and live or pre-recorded and insipid! The listeners know what's real and what's not.

And finally, if aal ij well the radio station may also have a night jock on air. This is usually an experiment in it's own class. There are no cheer girls, no CEO and a rare programming head who's an insomniac who listens to these shows. But, believe me this is the hour when you should ideally listen to radio to know if the radio station is genuinely good or bad or just plain ugly on sound. Cause when the world sleeps the one that can keep you awake for whatever reason – just pure vanilla ice-cream music, or a bit of sauce added by the night time jock…that's what differentiates the radio station!

Ravi I Yaar is currently revelling in his exalted position as PA announcer for the IPL matches in Mumbai, hence the above observations! No channel or medium is responsible for his views and opinions – you can follow his advice at your own risk on