During my recent Mumbai visit I was curious about the listener ship for various FM Radio stations and much to my expectation (hey, I am not generalizing, just my view here) I found that though the listener ship is good, there is nothing like Brand loyalty here. People switch back and forth the stations on their tuner as they would on their TV remote. The most fascinating part is that people switch stations as soon as the RJ takes over or some oldie song would be played. They would happily stay on till the time the stations play the song, even tolerating some of the most stupid radio ads I ever heard, the moment RJs start their tongue wagering it's on to some other station. Ya, the name of the station hardly matters when there are so many players — there is Red 93.5 FM of India Today Group, Radio City 91 FM of STAR, Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM of the Times Group, Go 92.5 FM of Mid-Day and Win 94.6 of Millennium Broadcasting (I do not know there may be more of them). With all those numbers anyone can go eerie.

The fact that pains me here is the duress on the Radio Jockeys (RJs). Where would the producers allow for creativity in writing scripts for the shows when the slogan of the station becomes less talk, more music. With so many players vying for attention you do not have any option but to keep your act short and crispy. That means less of RJing, just seconds of blah blah and then you are taken over by what sells the music. [Incidentally Radio Mirchi, Indore had offered me a full-time job for RJ after I had cleared their tests and audition, I do not know whether it was a sound decision but I did not accept it as I was looking only for some part-time fun, now that I think of it perhaps I did better, at least I would not have succumbed to this concept of less talk.]

All in all, in the race for revenue, creativity is called for not only in programming but also in campaigning. As a matter of fact, concerns over marketing strategies overpower those over content. Afterall stations have the same pie of advertisers to share, the race is for who manages with the biggest chunk. Talented and genuine RJs in these scenario can only grin and bear. For the rest who anyhow manage the buk-buk just to get their pocket-money (and listening to FM at Indore I can bet there are many such RJs), it was never a matter of concern anyway.