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Deceptive corruption: India’s radio stations have been decaying for long now

There was a time when radio mostly meant songs. Whenever you switched on to a frequency, you were drawn to a world of music. There is gibberish and chaos now. Songs are few and far between. Advertisements have hijacked the very essence of the medium. There is incivility and infringement. Humanity and grace are often trampled, and radio has drifted towards entrapment. The insane need to force themselves upon us has driven companies to make lucrative pacts with our FM radios, which has happily relegated songs to being mere fillers between ads.

Listening to the radio is no longer for pure entertainment. Advertisements have hijacked the very essence of the medium.

All-India Radio’s FM Rainbow, the government-run national station, is leading the rot. The radio jockeys are running motivated campaigns. Personal relationships with small, medium and large corporations appear to have given them business ideas and they are exploiting it with great ease. Reliable insiders have revealed corrupt arrangements between companies and RJs, wherein the companies are bypassing the protocol – to pay advertising fees to AIR – and are directly paying RJs to advertise on their behalf. Of course, in a subtle way. A little mention here and there by an RJ about the client fetch them money on the sly. And no one is the wiser. While the RJs are earning illicit money, the companies are benefitting by not paying huge advertising cost to the national station. Even the producers are in cahoots.

In FM Rainbow, the government-run national radio station, companies directly bribe RJs to advertise on their behalf

We’d be remiss not to acknowledge the contribution of AIR’s gold station – 106.2 – to corruption.  It is reviling to hear of senior Government employees in the station demand gifts and other means of payment from aspirants. They run the racket with impunity. RTIs have been filed to have it all investigated, but nothing has been done to purge the channel of such individuals.

The private stations – 93.7, 91.1 and 98.3 Radio Mirchi – are more rancid. Roughness is their brand and transgression their method. 93.7 Red FM radio’s narcissistic band of RJs sound uneducated, pompous and hollow. The language they use, the jokes they crack, and the personal invasions ought to be contained. Ashish, the ‘kadak launda’, and the guy who laughs farcically at the end of his ‘band’, has the gall to do ‘facebook profile’ of oblivious people. He picks up a random profile and does his best to ridicule the person, to make fun of his posts.

Ashish, a RJ with Red FM, popularly known as ‘kadak launda’ makes fun of random ‘Facebook profile’ of people without their knowledge

Ashish has no bandwidth for intelligent conversation and never shy of self-glorification. His raucous rambling is a reflection of a dull mind. He is not alone. We have Raunac, aka ‘Baua’, of the same station who never shuts up. I call him the ‘pretentious one’.

Women RJs are conspiring to irritate in their own way. Sources say Ginni of 91.1 Big FM, who is a self-proclaimed RJ of the nation, and Swati, another claimant to the throne, do excessive veiled campaigns for their secret clients. They will sell plots on their client’s behalf and you won’t even notice the fact.

Only when such RJs vacate their seats will Indian radio stand a chance.

About the author


Whether it’s women issues, politics or the paranormal, Rubi has an opinion on everything. Art and entertainment interest her, too. Hindu College alumni, she has written for The Hindustan Times and The Financial Express. Every now and then, she loves picking up her camera to capture life and its various shades.

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