Radio crackles back to life in Kerala | india | Hindustan Times
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Radio crackles back to life in Kerala

The advent of television in the 1980s virtually put a gag on the radio, but now its crackle is back in Kerala, especially with private FM stations reviving it in a big way.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2008 12:50 IST

The advent of television in the 1980s virtually put a gag on the radio, but now its crackle is back in Kerala, especially with private FM stations reviving it in a big way.

"Radios are now selling around 10 times the earlier figure. Two months ago I used to sell around two to three radios a day. Now, it has reached 25 to 30 units," PM Valsalan, a dealer in Philips radio sets here, told IANS.

The state's first private FM station, Radio Mango 91.9, a venture by the Malayala Manorama daily, started transmission here on November 29, 2007.

Within a month, Kozhikode got one more FM station with Kalanidhi Maran's Sun group launching its S FM here.

Earlier, the lone FM service here was that of the All India Radio, which renamed its service to Real FM last month.

"Now, the public, especially the youth, are inclined to listen to music on radio. The transmission is very clear. Now, there is no need to switch on TV to hear music," said Valsalan.

People who are bringing their radios for repairs are also increasing.

Many shops find it tough to supply enough radios to meet the demand. Customers are not getting radios of their choice.

"I came for a palm-sized Philips radio. But it is out of stock," said Vijayanandan KB, a bank employee, who came to buy a radio for his children.

Rakesh Nityanand of People's Radio Service at Thalassery said: "There is a huge demand for FM radio. We ran out of stock. Distributors are finding it difficult to replenish. They were ill prepared to meet this surge in demand."

Thalassery is 70 km north of Kozhikode and is in Kannur district and Nityanand's shop has been in this business for the past 50 years.

"It was after a long gap that we are experiencing this kind of sales. We used to sell 15 to 20 radios a day in the 1970s. When TV came, radio sales almost came to an end," he said.

It was in the last fortnight that Radio Mango and Club FM started their operations from Kannur.

With radio becoming popular, Chinese and Korean radio sets are also in demand in the market.

"While the lowest price of a Philips radio is Rs.150, a Korean-made Kichibo is available for Rs.60," says Valsalan.

The craze for FM has also made an impact on the mobile phone market.

"People are now looking for cell phones with FM receivers. Those who are coming for entry-level cell phones are now demanding the FM facility. There is a good demand for these phones and we are not getting adequate supply," said Sunoj E of 3G Mobile, a cell phone vendor here.

The central government had given licenses to six companies to operate FM services in the state. These companies will operate a total of 17 radio stations in five towns.