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 get 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 favorite 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.
I happened to listen to an interview with a Rakeysh Mehra, the famous filmmaker 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 there 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 the 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. The 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 the demand of few heterogeneous people may be catered to, but the program loses 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’?