I don’t know how many of you will remember the start of FM Radio in Mumbai a few years ago. What fun it was. You had so many radio channels all competing with each other. Any young person with an accent was a RJ and you could actually choose which station you wished to listen to. Do you remember Anish Trivedi with his completely over the top fruity accent? Soon, like many things in India, everything changed and went down the tubes. All the radio channels became Hindi. Now you all know what I think of Bollywood music. Not only was the music only Bollywood but the RJs spoke Hindi and Marathi.
Ironically, the only place where you could get English RJs [though of terrible quality] and Western Popular music was the fuddy duddy All India Radio FM Channel 107.1. This was my one beacon of hope. Something which I could listen to when driving in the morning. Yes, there are state sponsored advertisements for birth control and the news `relayed from Delhi’ to contend with, but, that was a small price to pay to listen to Western Popular music. Driving home in the evening was a boring affair with every channel playing Bollywood music.
Many reasons were advanced by the Mandarins who owned the channels as to why it was imperative to play only Bollywood. I do find it surprising, to say the least, that in Mumbai, India’s Financial capital, most westernised city, we have no audience for Western Popular music. Rather distressing.
But I am happy to report that in a moment of serendipity, I came upon Radio One 93.4 which brands itself as India’s International Music Channel. These guys have funnily accented RJs and yes they do play Western Popular music all thru the day. Oh what joy! They also have a separate jazz and blues show which I have not heard and they promise to have American top 40 hosted by Casey Keasm and another hosted by Ryan Seacrest. Not strictly up my street but Western Popular music seems to be alive and kicking again. And as an added bonus, the sound of the radio station is really very good. Listen to this station guys. Tune your car radios to this and have a slightly more pleasant commute.
Joy to the world.