Anil Thakraney: Radio One is finally singing the right tune

13 Jan,2012

By Anil Thakraney


According to market news, Radio One is all set to return to English programming in Mumbai and Delhi. And I believe that’s the right decision. It was quite late in coming, but as they say, better late than never.


The station did start off as anEnglish channel, it played super music, and the RJs, at the time, packed in spunk. Some names that come immediately to mind include T Man, Tarana and Jaggu. The issues they discussed connected with the up-market urban audiences. However, along the way, for some inexplicable reasons, the channel joined the herd; it dumbed down, went all-Hindi, and totally lost its edge.


Radio One became just another Hindi channel, essentially catering to the lowest common denominator. And it became a me-too radio station. What’s worse is they did this long after all the bigger radio stations had already earned brownie points with the mass listeners, and it became difficult to create a loyal base.


In fact, speaking personally, Radio One’s dumbing down was the last nail in the coffin I had bought for my car radio. And I completely gave up on the medium and loaded my glove box with many CDs. I am quite sure this is the case with many other people. And, as a media professional, I found the station’s strategy to be quite bewildering, to say the least. Common sense suggests two things: One, there’s no point joining the rat race, as this kills the brand differential. And two, a whole lot of advertisers would want to target the up market audiences, as that’s the segment with the highest purchasing power. Even if all cab drivers tune into a channel, of what use is that to premium advertisers?


Anyway, it appears the Radio One managers chose to learn the hard way. The station now seems to be coming full circle. And yes, I am quite thrilled. Looking forward to taking a break from my CDs, and enjoying some great music and some interesting chatter all over again.

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PS: The London underground recently celebrated its ‘No trousers on the tube’ day. Which involves commuters travelling with their legs exposed. Hope Mumbai train commuters don’t ape this idea, and launch a ‘No shirt on the local’ day. Packed like sardines, we already have to smell armpits. Now imagine smelling naked armpits. The pits!



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