The Kolkata connection with air waves and radio goes back to the 1920's when radio was initially introduced as a medium for news. Slowly but steadily various other radio programs started coming up. Radio was a medium of learning things but with time the concept of radio saw quite a few changes. In the present day and age, popular radio stations seldom broadcast educational programs and there is less room for news (as we understand it). Nowadays, radio stations seldom have a regular news broadcast time allotted. Traffic updates, weather updates or headlines from newspapers are the topic to talk of on air. Love for radio previously used to be different than it is now.
Back when radio shows started gaining popularity; it was because of the way the presenters brought forward their shows unlike today where radio shows have gained popularity because of the presenters’ popularity on social media platforms. The popularity of radio programmes is somewhat based on how frequent the radio jockeys come live, post updates and showcase their lives to their listeners and fans. The more popular a jockey is on social media equates to the popularity of the programme. Emphasising too much on social media than on the programme content has raised a pertinent question: Are listeners really listening to radio because of the show content or are they more inclined on listening to the show because the presenter looks beautiful or has a large fan following or is famous on the social front or a combination of all of these reasons?
That being said, radio has since its introduction to us in the early 1920s, has had a lot of emotional connect with Bengal and Bengalis. Till date, Bengalis cannot imagine listening to Mahalaya online or downloading it. They still prefer listening to the goose bump enticing Mahalaya recited by Birendra Krishna Bhadra followed by various special pujo shows. But, unfortunately, presently what goes on during the Durga pujas are the various awards which every station presents to the most popular pandals. Does the emotional quotient of the radio seem to be lost as radio concentrates more into gaining popularity rather than looking into the emotion of the listeners?
The current presenters have changed the meaning of radio perhaps to keep up pace with the changing times, though there are a few exceptions and maybe it is because of these exceptions that radio lovers still tune in to a particular stations to listen to their shows of choice. Radio is one of the few mediums where the presenter connects to the audience with his/her voice, without having the chance to come in front of them. The originality of radio should be looked into as radio is a great mix of entertainment and emotion for the listeners. With the advent of online media and mass access to internet, now radio is even available online. Times have changed and advancement is what takes us forward. While all technological advances are good, it is a matter of self reflection if it should be at the cost of hampering the essence of the original.
To all radio lovers, here’s wishing Happy World Radio Day; keep listening and loving.