FM radio boom yet to reach Himachal


By: Shikha Patial

Shimla: Radio is no longer a medium of entertainment for rural population alone, but has grown in popularity across metros and even in a number of big and small towns. This medium has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years in the form of FM radio and has brought about a revolution in the entertainment industry. Giving stiff competition to the ever-spreading television industry, radio is persevering ahead in the world of information and entertainment. The medium has not only gained ample popularity among the youth, but has also created new career prospects for them.

Despite the phenomenal growth of radio, Himachal is still an exception to it. But why? This question occupied my mind when I visited AIR Shimla, being inquisitive about career options available with them.  I was told that they have enough radio announcers, that too part time and they aren’t even paid for their work, as they do it as hobby. I was also welcomed to work with them but only as long as it remains a hobby. I saw a complete disinterest for any kind of innovative ideas or enthusiasm. There is very little or no scope for profession like RJ-ing. A degree in journalism is still a must for them, no matter if you qualify in all the aspects of being an RJ without it. Perhaps that explains why the station falls short of good talent.

The popularity of our local radio channels is far less if compared with its counterparts in Chandigarh, Delhi being no comparison. No doubt it is highly informative for the rural population, but to survive in today’s scenario it will have to make a place for itself among urban listeners.

Let’s hope that entry of private players will help improve radio broadcasting in Himachal. Shimla is almost ready for a private FM radio station with a license already having been allotted.

Working as an RJ in an FM radio channel has become a very fascinating career in bigger cities as youngsters are getting paid very handsomely for the job. Even youngsters from Himachal are heading southwards either to try their luck in the industry or to train themselves in the job. And lately, a couple of private mass communication schools too have started function in Himachal to tap these youths. So if given a chance, there is a generation waiting to grab the opportunity, and it’s only a matter of time before they prove themselves. But let’s hope the wait does not last too long.

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  1. The three companies that have got licences to operate FM stations in Shimla are Adlabs Films Ltd. i.e ADAG – i.e Big FM elsewhere in the country; BAG Infotainment Pvt. Ltd.; and Radio Today Broadcasting Ltd, which has Radio Meow in Delhi targeted at women.

    Big FM had taken up a recruitment drive in Shimla about three/four months ago. But there's been no latest news from them as well. As for Radio Today, I'd tried to probe Radio Meow's Anil Srivatsa. He was non-committal on the timing and detailing.

    But let me tell you that while private players may be a success in the metros due to marketing initiatives and the prizes they throw every hour to the audience, as far as programming is concerned nothing can beat AIR. In fact Srivatsa of Radio Meow too accepted that there is nothing beating AIR as far as programme diversification is concerned.

    As far as private FM channels are concerned, the content is about – nonsense. And who can talk the maximum nonsense is the favourite RJ and this nonsense is passed on or dished out to the audience in guise of talent, wit and humour. Take ex-Mirchi Nitin in Delhi (now with Red FM), or Simran/ Annirudhha LLB of Big or for that matter this utterly irritable Suji (again of Big FM)… all know only to talk nonsense. And if this nonsense is passed on as entertainment, I'm sorry… In fact Radio Meow is a good effort as far as infotainment is concerned, however, my only grudge is why just target women. There was no special channel for men as such.

  2. Dear friend

    I totally differ with your views about the programming of All India Radio, Shimla. Radio has been known for its capability of far reach and that is what the AIR Shimla is doing best in Himachal. Though satellite television has not been a lesser revolution in HP but there are still many who may not be able to afford it. But more than that they would like someone to address them in their own dialect, which AIR Shimla does.

    Radio listenership in HimachalPradesh's ruralas well as uran areas is over 70 percent which can beat any XYZ private FM radio. And I would also like to corrcet you that all those casual announcers who work at AIR Shimla are well paid and no one works for peanuts. It seems someone misinformed you. The per day income that a casual can earn from AIR is anywhere from Rs.300 to Rs. 700 (depending upon the programmes), which is as much as anyone earns (per day in other palces). Yes it is a fact that there is a glut of announcers so many of them end up getting only four to five duties per month.

    When we talk about the programming of AIR Shimla, specifically the Primary Station it is a perfect blend of information as well as entertainment. How many private radio stations are talking to the people in various dialects of a state. Here, we have programmes in dialects of Chamba -Pangi and others like Mandyali, Kangri, Kullvi, Mahasui, Sirmouri and Kinnauri. Each district and section (farmers, horticulturists, old young, housewives) is being well catered to according to the basic standards of a national broadcasting system. No doubt innovation is needed here but then that is teh story for most of the Prasar Bharti run radio stations in various states as the programming is controlled centrally.

    Moreover the FM station here has some technical constraints that it cannot reach far off interior areas and its programming time is a bit short-from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

    Dear, just try to understand that not being able to get a break at AIR Shimla does not mean the end of it. Try to walk in at a time when the AIR Shimla is conducting the "Vani" certificate course, which is a must for entry into any station of All India Radio. Once you clear the entrance test, do this week long course and become a part of the AKASHVANI PARIVAR you would yourself understand what it means to be a part of the national broadcasting system and how the general public responds to you. And I am not the only one who says so. Go and have a look at the sack full of letters and post cards that arrive at AIR Shimla each week in appreciation of the programmes.

    Till then I would just reccomend that wake up one morning switch on the radio and tune into AIR Shimla at 387.6 meter which is 774 kiloherts and shortwave 60.42 meter that is 4965 kilohertz at 5:53 a.m. Nothing better than the signature tune of AIR would give your day a fresh and soulful start.

    Good Luck

    Hema D.

  3. Fully agree with Vividh and Hema. I beleive Shimla is not ready for the kind of FM "revolution" that has touched Delhi and if the companies go in for same programing this will not go well with the masses.

    AIR has been the backbone of radio infotainment in the state and till the time the private companies do not bring regional flavour, this thing is not going to work. We already get the Mirchi from Jallandhar, Red FM and loads of other channels in Shimla but the recall value for these channels is zero.

  4. Left ,right or center no second opinions AIR is the BEST.Can't agree more with the thought provokers above the programmes touch the chord of cultural masses of himachal.

    Varying to the degrees of language to the degrees of topic they get into the soil of the sons and daughters of this Land and wherein the FM has survived and blossomed all along on Bollwoodic Nonsense topped only by the nonsense of its RJ's.

    FM does have the numbers on its side but Might is not always right and just for my dear friend don't call it revolution they have their purposes ,only way it could be if you take it literally the crap just make you dizzy doing the 'revolutions around the thinking mass'.

  5. Frist of all i m thankful 2 u for giving me all the informaton that i need.By going through mail i come 2 know the status of radio stations n RJ's in himachal.i came 2 know how it is important for RJ 2 know the art of playing with words n magic of his voice that will work.

  6. well still waiting for the rAadio stations to be launched in shimla i am sure we have a tough competition among radio jockeys here and get started to rock shimla on AIR

  7. reading all above stuff. is it possible to get the contact details of these three stations who are going to open their fm stations at shimla.


  8. Hi my name is shaveta. Basically i am from Kangra. I am too interested for Radio Jockey. can you tell me kya krna hoga iskai liye… Please presently i am in dlhi working with a Firm.

    I am witing for your reply. Can you give me a one chance for prove myself



  9. Boom ! Boom !! Busssttt !!! FM took off in metros an answer to traffic congestions and blocades.Despite that i remember in Mumbai two good ones folded up…Radio Midday(a very popular tabloid here) and WIN – reason no deep pockets! I wonder what's the future in Himachal or it's merely a 'national' presence?!

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