Re-discovering Vividh Bharti & Listening

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Vividh Bharti Radio Station

Radio Image sourced from Shutterstock

Once upon a time when I was in school, I used to wait for the Nirma Jingle on Vividh Bharti that used to come at dot 7:55 AM which used to be my signal to rush to school. While I used to getting ready for the school, I used to listen ‘Bhoole Bisre Geet’ and ‘Sangeet Sarita’. Later during the day used to go to bed listening to ‘Chayageet’. Some of the other favourite programs were ‘Fauji Bhaiyon ke liye Jaymala’, with a Vishesh Jaymala on Saturday (I think it was Saturday) and ‘Cibaca Geetmala’.

Lately I have been listening to a lot of Radio (most of it courtesy Bangalore traffic). Till sometime back used to listen to Radio City. And then got on to switching between ‘Radio City’ and ‘Radio Mirchi’. But in between them I pleasantly re-discovered Vividh Bharti. It was not only nostalgic to listen to all those programs again. But also highlighted the low quality of programming that the popular FM channels (and most TV channels) have.

An old Radio Set at Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad
Radio Set as vintage as Vividh Bharti – from Hyderabad Nizam’s collection

I happened to listen to an interview of a Rakeysh Mehra, the famous film maker on TV and on Vividh Bharti. What they got out of the guy was at two different ends of the continuum. It was all a function of the questions thrown at him along with the seriousness and sincerity with which they were asked. The TV anchors can’t go beyond ‘How do you feel to be so successful (as if you can feel bad about it)?’. ‘How does it feel like to be working with … (as if you can feel bad about the team that made you successful, despite whatever you share with them)?’. ‘Let us show you what the man on the street has to say about you (followed by all the tailored quotes)’.

But at Vividh Bharti, the questions focused on what was his sense of nationalism. How it was rooted in his childhood spent in Old Delhi and his visits to Independence Day and Republic Day functions. They asked him at length about his journey till this point, without glorifying the hardships that he went through. But it was treated as milestones in the journey and the focus was on the learning through the process. It almost felt like you know the person better after listening to that interview. Of course the fact that here were no visual distractions, could have also contributed.

There was another program I was listening to where they were answering the letters written by the listeners. Believe me the content written by people has hardly changed over the decades. But the way the letters were handled was absolutely delightful. Listeners are treated with all the respect. It shows in the way they are addressed, the quality if language used and way the queries are handled. Unlike someone shouting at the top of the voice and saying, ‘u the no. ending with 123’.

On Vividh Bharti, content is usually research based. The language used is decent. Flow of words is slow paced but fluent, there is no hurry to fill in the jungles in whatever time is saved. I love those theme based programs that have the power to stimulate and create a mood. Contrary to demand driven programs, where demand of few heterogeneous people may be catered to, but the program looses the flow and somewhere you feel the absence of a soul.

The more I am listening to Vividh Bharti, more I am falling in love with it, all over again… Or it is just that ‘you never get out of love with your first love’?

What was or is your favorite program on Vividh Bharti?

36 COMMENTS

  1. Great point!

    ME thinks there is more to it than just because it was your (our) first love. I think Americanization of our country and the evolution of the SMS generation (borrowed from RDB) are responsible for these. Everything – presentation, media content, art, dance, culture, literature is quick … is short-lived. And most importantly there is no genuine attempt to make it meaningful. All these days, I heard my dad saying the same. Initially I thought he thinks so because of ‘generation-gap’. I am only in my twenties and I am already in complete agreement with him 🙂

    The SMS generation … Everything short and superficial – even relations!!

  2. I remember Bournvita Quiz Contest, it used to be on radio on a sunday afternoon. Now of course it is on the telly.

  3. u too turning nostalgic

    ‘All this is pure nostalgia, of course, but why be ashamed of it?’
    Nostalgia is simply an attempt to try and preserve that which was good in the past’
    ‘The past has served us: why not serve the past in this way?’
    — Ruskin Bond

    Anyways, I do think that too much commercialization has corrupted our media. There was a time when TOI used to be my fav newspaper and i have grown-up reading it. But, in the last 7-8-10 yrs it has lost all it’s quality.. These people have forgotten all the history behind them.. how they have the responsibility of driving the public-opinion. has moved onto become the largest-selling semi-porn tabloid. i feel very sorry for this state of my childhood fav newspaper.

  4. I started presenting the western music programme on Yuvavani(All India Radio) way back in 1989, just out of anxiety and a passtime but soon radio (Vividh Bharti) became one such thing that I can not live without even today!
    I then passed the audition for the news reader on All India Radio and became a newsreader, just because of the passion and for the fact that the atmosphere, the feel, the enjoyment and the nostalgia I get being there (In the premises itself or in the studio, in front of the mic)never allows me to leave it despite of my business commitments and lack of time.We were on the regional channel but now on FM also i.e. on VIVIDH BHARTI for the FM headlines

  5. Dear Anuradha, good blog. I grew up in the Andamans in the scarcity of VB on FM or regional AM. But whenever I could, I would catch VB on shortwave.
    After 20 years, now I am in the States and I still listen to VB on shortwave 9870kHz, even though the signal fades a lot and there is a lot of interference. My favorites are bhoole bisre geet, chaaya geet and fauji bhaiyon ke liye. I am a Rafi fan and I know it for a fact that those at VB are also huge fans of Rafi.
    Long live VB, long live Rafi.
    SPS

  6. Hello Anuradha,
    I am in Germany right now, and badly miss it (VB) here. I think if it was accessible here, my lonliness would have half gone!!

  7. If someone wants to listen to VB I think it’s possible anywhere in the world as the broadcast happens on SW as well. All you need to do is get a SW radio ( you can find may cheap ones in $10 range on ebay ).. And enjoy….

  8. Hi, It was great reading about your rediscovery of vividh bharti. Sorry, if my question sounds too basic, but how and where can you listen to bela ke phool, bhoole bisre geet etc. in Bangalore?

  9. Great and praiseworthy Re-discovery
    of Vividh Bharti.
    Programme which i like most is “Pitaara” specially “Hello Farmaiss” in that ,and “Hawa Mahel” in night.Speciality of Vivdh Bharti is content of it’s progamme.I always feels emotional attachment with anchors.

  10. Anuradha’s blog is reminiscent of many others’ lives like ours whose morning used to begin with Vividh Bharti and night would close by Vividh Bharti:) The anchors like Kamal Sharma, Yunus Khan, Mamta Singh, Renu Bansal and others would actually act like a stress buster, I must say..Missing Vividh Bharti..I would like to know the frequency for the same at Bangalore please.. Warm regards, S.

  11. I am in California and want to hear VIVIDHBHARTI online on the internet much the same way as watching Indian TV channels. If anybody has any information on how to do this please say.
    Thanks

  12. Hi

    I live in Georgia,USA and want to know if there is anyway that i can listen to vividh bharti

    Can you please email me:aditiekbote@gmail.com

  13. Nice blog Anuradha. I thought I will add some info on how to listen to VB, for folks who are away from home.

    Alright, Here is the deal for NRIs wanting to listen to Vividh Bharati.

    First, the facts:
    1. AIR does not have online streaming and their website is archaic.
    2. To my knowledge, no other internet radio stations carry VB (as of Nov 09).
    3. The only option is listening on shortwave. Frequency is 9870 KHz, broadcasted from Bangalore using a 500 KW transmitter. Signal comes in strong in USA and Europe. Good reception on a clear and sunny day. Here is the frequency and listening times information in IST: http://www.allindiaradio.org/schedule/vb_sw.html
    (Occasionally the frequency is changed, so if you don’t get reception go back to this webpage for the latest frequency)

    Here’s what you gotta do (and this is an expensive option, follow only if you really really miss VB):

    1. Get a shortwave radio: Sony ICF-SW7600GR (about 140 USD). This set allows direct entry of the frequency using a keypad. All you do is press the numbers and push enter (EXE on the radio). You can get decent reception on a clear sunny day. Get it on amazon or Jr.com. To improve reception, follow tip 2 below.

    2. Get a sony AN-LP1 shortwave loop antenna on ebay. You can buy it new from Japan through a seller named buyfromjapan on ebay for 108 USD plus 20 USD shipping to USA (do a google with the terms buyfromjapan + ebay). This antenna is only available in Japan so don’t waste your time looking for it on amazon or likewise. This seller is very trusted with 100% positive feedback. I have bought two from this dude.
    Now, I think the station manager has started a website for VB where you can read about and see pics of VB DJs and the station. Here is the link ENJOY!!!

  14. Nice blog Anuradha. I thought I will add some info on how to listen to VB, for folks who are away from home.

    Alright, Here is the deal for NRIs wanting to listen to Vividh Bharati.

    First, the facts:
    1. AIR does not have online streaming and their website is archaic.
    2. To my knowledge, no other internet radio stations carry VB (as of Nov 09).
    3. The only option is listening on shortwave. Frequency is 9870 KHz, broadcasted from Bangalore using a 500 KW transmitter. Signal comes in strong in USA and Europe. Good reception on a clear and sunny day. Here is the frequency and listening times information in IST: http://www.allindiaradio.org/schedule/vb_sw.html
    (Occasionally the frequency is changed, so if you don’t get reception go back to this webpage for the latest frequency)

    Here’s what you gotta do (and this is an expensive option, follow only if you really really miss VB):

    1. Get a shortwave radio: Sony ICF-SW7600GR (about 140 USD). This set allows direct entry of the frequency using a keypad. All you do is press the numbers and push enter (EXE on the radio). You can get decent reception on a clear sunny day. Get it on amazon or Jr.com. To improve reception, follow tip 2 below.

    2. Get a sony AN-LP1 shortwave loop antenna on ebay. You can buy it new from Japan through a seller named buyfromjapan on ebay for 108 USD plus 20 USD shipping to USA (do a google with the terms buyfromjapan + ebay). This antenna is only available in Japan so don’t waste your time looking for it on amazon or likewise. This seller is very trusted with 100% positive feedback. I have bought two from this dude.
    Now, I think the station manager has started a website for VB where you can read about and see pics of VB DJs and the station. Here is the linkENJOY!!!

  15. I just returned to the California after spending a glorious week with my aging parents in Bangalore. I grew up in Delhi with VB and have very fond memories of listening via “trnsistor” radios.This trip I arranged my whole schedule around VB (afternoon and late night). This not only kept me at home with my parents but also took me back to my early days in Delhi (the glorious 1960’s). Thanks for your great blog Anuradha. I truly miss the Bhoole Bisle geet, Jaymala etc. Long live VB!
    Chuck

  16. Hi
    Listen to Vividh Bharathi Online, on my radio from Bangalore, India. Vividh Bharathi is broadcast on FM on 102.90 Mhz. in Bangalore, I generally relay the Hindi Music on Vividh Bharathi from 13.30 UTC ( 19.00 Hrs Local time )
    To listen to my radio station you have to register on the Global Tuners web site, IT’S FREE ! There web site is http://www.globaltuners.com/ or else google it IT’S FREE !
    Register on there web site, it’s one of the best in the world, most of there receivers are PC controlled , so that an user can tune these receivers from his own computer, irrespective of where he is in the world, a few receivers are audio only like my Radio Bangalore.
    Apart from the FM stations of Bangalore I also relay medium wave broadcast of All India Radio stations.
    I have a 3 Foot loop antenna some 30 feet of the ground which works pretty good.

    Happy Listening
    Rohit Dave

  17. Hi
    Refer: Listen to Vividh Bharathi Online, from Bangalore, India.
    Once you have registered with Global Tuners web site, and got your user password, you have to select Radio Bangalore from there list of receivers, click “Audio Start on the Radio Bangalore page” and listen to Live Vividh Bharathi radio from Bangalore, India.
    Happy Listening
    Rohit Dave,
    Site Operator,
    Radio Bangalore,
    On Global Tuners,
    Bangalore,
    India

  18. Hi Anuradha,

    I happened to visit your blog when I was searching for Vividh Bharati on Google.

    I must say you have put really good effort in posting interesting materials on the blog.

    Your post on Delhi and its pictures are nice too. It reminded me of a column I used to read which was called something like “The Wandering Eye”. It used to highlight what we usually miss in the humdrum of our daily life.

    Keep it up and keep posting…

    Regards

  19. This website has the link to akasavani from hyd, I am sure you request for the station your are requesting, Raj would be able to complete the request.

  20. As Venkat Said: Raj is the man. Iam not sure he is aware of how much happiness he is filling in music lovers life. Voicevibes.net is the rocking site. Raj is the man. I salute Mr Raj. My favorite Vivid Bharathi (where I can relate my self more ), he just brought online. Please listen and encourage Raj and leave a messgae to Raj@voicevibes.net.

    Kudos Raj.. My Hero…

  21. Hi
    Vividh Bharati radio live on the Internet from India –
    http://www.ashra.weebly.com
    This is my web site where I relay a 24 Hours DTH Satellite stream in Stereo of Vividh Bharati Radio.
    You can listen to it on Stereo on the Internet.Use Firefox or Chrome Browsers for best Audio.
    It’s Free to Listen !!!
    Happy Listening.

  22. Thank you for this Anuradha . Loved reading it . I grew up with Akashbani Kolkata K and Kho . Anyone who has stayed in Kolkata during that time will understand what I mean . The announcers and news readers became our extended family and we used to recognize them through their voices . Thanks for another gem.

  23. Totally agree with you..!! Listening to Mysore Akashvani is a blessing in disguise to me..Thanks for sharing.
    Vividh Bharthi is praise worthy

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