The new policy measures put out by the I&B Ministry yesterday, augurs well for all enterprising individuals. By enterprising individuals I do not mean people who will rush in there to make a fast buck, but rather people who'd see radio as the most viable form of dispensing information and connecting with people. The ministry aims to have as many as 300 radio stations up and running in the country. That's three times the number of television channels we have. The rationalisation of the licence fees will definitely bring in new players, but it will also take the pressure off the existing broadcasters. What I am interested in knowing is whether this will result in the return of a vibrant radio culture?
Most of us weren't around during the big radio boom; atleast the world wide phenomenon. India too had its share of radio stars, cult characters like Inspector Eagle, show hosts like Ameen Sayani and the baap of all quiz shows BQC. Think about it, radio was so big that AIR rejected a particular someone who had auditioned for the positon of a show host, RJ in today's parlance. The guy went onto act in films and became India's biggest superstar. In hindsight Amitabh Bacchan would have made a good radio quiz master.
The return of a radio culture will also augument the impact of P2P journalism. We always react and relate more to a voice as compared to a whole host of images overlayed with a commentary. Similarly our decisions will always be influenced more by our peers than say a newspaper or trade journal. An independent, unopinionated information disbursal system will ensure the survival of unhindred debate, where the opinion of an individual will be heard as is, without the intervention of a channel or publisher with its own agenda.