Happy World Radio Day! Greetings to all radio listeners and shout out to those who keep the radio buzzing with innovative content and music, providing infotainment in the best way even in this internet-driven electronic era. Radio continues to be one of the foremost mediums of information in rural India.

Most of us brush aside the magic that the good old radio can bring to our lives. Back in the day, even owning a radio was a matter of pride. I still remember the day we were gifted a radio by one of our neighbours in Kalarabanka. It became an important part of my growing up. From melodies to cricket scores to awareness programmes, radio has been a source of information and entertainment.

Until the advent of television, radio was the prime source of entertainment. I can still recall those days when the radio broadcast a coherent mix of news, soothing music, drama, cricket commentaries and gripping topical talks. Of course, there weren’t as many channels as today. The AIR had entertainment segments called Vividh Bharati wherein Bollywood music played and advertisements were featured, creating the radio culture that is prevalent to this day.

We discussed about various programmes on radio with classmates. In villages, radio was a craze. The person who possessed a radio was admired by people. That was the only gateway to the outer world. I would also write down lyrics of the songs and maintained a notebook. It was one of my prized possessions. Iti and I would also wait for some broadcasts and then would make it a family event. We tried picking up the style of delivery and modulation from radio jockeys. And I must admit, I haven’t learnt it well.

Nowadays, my radio listening is very limited but I definitely enjoy if it’s switched on in the car.
Nothing can match up to the nostalgia that All India Radio evokes. Almost all of us have memories, ranging from vivid to vague, of listening to the signature ‘Akashavani’ jingle at the break of dawn, to treating radio as a daily companion. And even today, with so many other sources of infotainment and with all the private radio stations in the ecosystem, Radio FM and AM continues to be the most comfortable travelling companion.