Monday, April 11, 2005

Radio bah bah

It’s probably because music has been a rare and precious thing in my life recently that I feel such resentment towards radio jockeys who don’t let you listen, uninterrupted, to good songs. It’s like a dying man in the desert repeatedly having his water-bottle tugged away from his parched mouth.

One of my curses is that I can’t read/write and listen to music simultaneously, which has meant an enforced falling out with what used to be a great love. The car is now the only place for listening to music. And for the last few months the cassette deck in my car stereo hasn’t been functioning properly, so I’m completely dependent on radio for my daily fix. These days, after shuffling between various channels during a 45-minute drive, if I succeed in hearing three decent songs, I consider it a road well driven. That’s how pathetic my situation is.

Which is why it stings something fierce when, after the familiar opening riffs of a beloved tune begin and the song prepares to move into second gear, the audio track suddenly blanks out so that a smart-ass RJ can come on and say something like "Yeah, folks, this is really one groovy number, isn’t it? I tell you, I really love this song people. I’ve been listening to it since when I was a little baby. But aha, I’m not gonna tell you when that was etc" And then the song, or what's left of it, continues. If you don’t listen to the radio, believe me, this happens all the time.

It’s bad enough that on most of the channels, at least the FM ones, there are more ads, traffic updates and RJ monologues than there is music. (I’d really like to know what the exact ratio is.) But once a song has actually begun, is it too much to ask that it not be mauled thusly? After all, there isn’t even any commercial logic at work in such cases. The channel isn’t going to lose money if the jockey is bound and gagged for four-and-a-half minutes.

I don’t want to start a rant against RJs here, because they are all very soft targets - anyone who listens to one of them for even 10 minutes will know exactly what I mean. So I won’t delve into the inanities, the accents, the redundancies ("the time, folks, is exactly 9.15 on the dot" - ok, ok, I’m delving now). In fact, redundancy is probably the key to the problem: all RJs compulsively talk more than they need to - there are too many words, too many sentences, too much dross and never enough song. I'm buying me a nightingale.


  1. Yes. Yes. Yes. I have suffered an idot who broke into my favourite song thrice. He just couldn't keep away... and he didn't just make it fade while he was talking he had some other ridiculous muzak playing everytime he opened his mouth. Felt like slamming on my brakes, calling the bugger and abusing him. But then I didn't have the number. And it was on AIR FM 2, where they don't even have commercials.

  2. Hey, you're not the first person to complain about our FM channels. Just a few days ago, forwarded a complaint to my friend at Mirchi. ;-)

    The biggest prob is that almost all channels are losing so much money, that they have no option but to cater to the masses and play those same Hindi songs all day long!

  3. Jai, I feel your pain.

    But do you know what's worse? When you hear the starting riffs of an old favourite and instead of the song, you hear, "Ray-dee-o raydeeoh city! Ray-dee-o raydeeoh city!" set to the tune.


  4. You poor, poor people. Delhi doesn't as yet have a version of Go 92.5 FM, Mid-day's channel, which smartly avoids all the annoyances you complain of. On the other hand, Mumbai doesn't have Fact & Fiction. So I guess that evens things out.

  5. The fascinating thing is that they think its kool interrupting the songs and blabbering on and on. Its a total pisser!

    It gets even worse when they start rapping to the song like the airwaves are their very own private public domain karaoke...

    Lastly, song selection is a topic for a blog and not a comment.

  6. Jabberwock,

    First timer here..came via eM's..

    I sympathise with ur situation..can't empathise coz the only thing they play on the FM waves here is Tamil music, which I can't really enjoy..

    When in Chennai though, I used to listen to FM and there it was like RJ talk interupted by music..


  7. y d hk do ppl comment like this?

  8. Yes you need a Go 92.5 FM version but, like all good things, that too is deteriorating..

  9. Ditto my feelings Jai. In fact, I'm so through with the FM crap that I haven't even got an antenna installed in my car this time around. Cassettes work well for me.

  10. YA YA. I know all bout the RJs cutting out the songs & putting in their own BLAH-BLAH or commercials in btween the song. bt beleive me whn i say tht on FM Rainbow the RJs r nt allowed 2 do tht. i hv bn an RJ on this channel(kolkata) 4 bout a year & so i know tht nothing cn irritate the listener more thn cutting out a song in if an RJ is doing somethng like tht, thn it is on her own accord.on Rainbow an RJ has 2 play a song fully& we at Rainbow try our bst 2 bring the bst form of entrtainmnt 2 the ,go ahead & enjoy ur music on Rainbow. and yes ,this is the only channel where u gt plenty of western music. there4, go on .....& HAPPY LISTENING!!!!!!!

  11. Aha, strange are the ways of the radio listeners, you try to cater to one the next one takes offence. Okay this is how it goes on at the back end at AIR Studios.You have a show where you play your song, you put a 'filler' to avoid the sudden refusal of a CD player or the comp or whatever media you are relying upon and you come and go. Listeners complaint or call you on your station number and bug you to play the one off song for them for its so critical to their love life and you cant for God's sake refuse them for they wont release the line. So on a show where you are playing ghazal you end up playing a techno half english half whatever song. Your loyal listeners who have heard you for ages take offence for a show exclusive to Ghazal one is playing this techno rubbish. Sometimes we deliberately do it to test if there are any hard core die hard listeners. Then take the case of an INTERACTIVE show, I do a game show and how I get bombarded with requests to make them winners, to dial them out, to pick thier numbers to play their songs and in the middle of the show to play their song coz their girl friend is on a low down. Honey dear its one human trying to manage it all, AIR officandoes are happy if you cut the listeners crap alltogether. They dont even spend money on new music, the new music is our spend, the SMS SIM and Instrument is our spend, the show concept is our spend, the song, the words, the sentences are all our pain the reseach, God damnit is all ours. The fame is theirs, you cant take your name for more than x times. Buddy the only good thing about AIR is IS that we dont have a policy of cutting off songs, its just RJs who cut them off, sometimes they get too carried away, sometimes they want an easy way out of a boring and misfit song sometimes because the damn song which one wanted to play skipped and some unknown track gets on air and sometimes because some listener has begged them to air their message on or along that particular song. Yes we try hard to make it work and yes its you who suffer but trust me for every single one who suffers out there there is an equal someone who enjoys that. Just try to get into some live studios and you would get to know.

    Trust me its hard to satisfy all listeners, on Mirchi they complain of it being too loud, on all private stations they complain of it being too full of commercials and half and repeatitive songs on AIR they complain of RJs cutting the song. If there is such a big audience here let me get their priority and I shall get them a show them want in Delhi on Sundays.

  12. wish all you guys grew up in the north-east... where in a place called Kohima, we had this music fiend of an RJ at the local All India Radio station, who every afternoon, would play non-stop -- and without a single interruption, god bless him forever -- the best of Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Band, Jethro Tull, Doobie Brothers -- you get what I mean. Years later, when I came to snooty Kolkata to study, everyone was surprised at my knowledge of music... those duffers obviously didn't have our Naga RJ in their radio station...