| 18 May 2024
Radio needs grey hair

Lokesh Gulyani, Assistant Professor, Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur

I remember the year 2008 when Pepsi launched “Youngistan” campaign, which was quite a success. We Indians became young in one night. We were talking young, walking young, eating young and sleeping young. Live in relationships, breaking up with girl friend, finding another one on internet was considered cool. There was this young wave all around us which hit the media too. Most of the time ‘media’ is the tool which creates a woo about something but sometimes it’s vice-e-versa and it happened in the case of youngistan.

All of a sudden FM Radio started talking cool, young, hap, started using slangs. The fast paced morning shows were introduced. Afternoon got filled with gadgets, sports and TV news. Evening with young madness and night got ruined with teaching love tactics in a different way. Well, no harm as such but the station became all young and when one is young he is fast and inexperienced.

At that point of time the FM industry showed a short sight and started to change completely to satisfy this so called generation young. Everything got changed - from programming format to technology, from music to radio jockeys and from policies to philosophy. Radio, which used to take care of everyone, now focused only on below 35-year-old audience.

That funda got a short success but it shook the radio industry structure. Talented and experienced people were asked to take voluntary retirement, music which used to sooth the ears started jarring them. Audience got bound to hear 22-27-year-old RJs, who were not serious towards the issues which a common radio listener faced and the term ‘Masti’ became a part of day to day listening. This was irrelevant to the audience who were over 35, the actual buyers, as they were the ones with set careers and bread earners.

That was the time when the phenomena “RJs bak-bak karte hai” got introduced, as the older audience couldn’t accept them because of the choice of their content and the gap in age and mentality. Moreover, we can’t expect a 360 degree approach of a topic from a youngster who is just 24 or 25. He/she will be more focused towards other things in life. So the audience started shifting back to traditional radio like AIR and Gold and they started gaining higher numbers in RAM.

Now, due to convergence of media platforms and its impact on media, radio is facing a troublesome situation on audience front. Because of its young wave it has already lost the older audience and the young audience is also not interested in listening to radio in traditional way, as they have their gadgets for entertainment. Now radio is in a fix of what to do, to get back audience.

Well, the key to this problem is coming back to the thumb rule that in radio “we sell audience and not the air time”. With third phase approaching soon, some good talents should be hired - people who are mature, sensitive, sensible and cool. The time is just right to bring some grey hair back to radio. There are many good RJs and producers who have left the industry they should be brought back with a bang. They were the heroes of their time and still have got their fan following, they can prove it again if given a chance. The death of our beloved superstar Rajesh Khanna is a live example that artistes never die. They remain as memory forever in our subconscious mind. Bring back talent, bring back sense & sensitivity and bring back some grey hair to Radio.