Radio has been an important medium to dedicate song requests to friends and crushes. (Photo: Puneet Chandhok/HT (For representational purposes only))
Radio has been an important medium to dedicate song requests to friends and crushes. (Photo: Puneet Chandhok/HT (For representational purposes only))

World Radio Day 2021: Denizens share their romance with the radio

Do you remember seeing someone old in your house, trying to fix the needle on the transistor to catch the signals to listen to cricket commentary? Even today, most of us frequently change channels, while stuck in the traffic or even otherwise, to find a song that suits the mood when on the road
By Mallika Bhagat
UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2021 07:19 PM IST

Do you remember seeing someone old in your house, trying to fix the needle on the transistor to catch the signals to listen to cricket commentary? Even today, most of us frequently change channels, while stuck in the traffic or even otherwise, to find a song that suits the mood when on the road. Radio has been part of our lives for over a century, and has influenced many lives.

On World Radio Day, February 13, this year, the theme of ‘New World, New Radio’ aims to throw light on the role that radio played during the pandemic.

‘It was the only source of entertainment’

Cricket fans often like to listen to live commentary on the radio. (Photo: Parwaz Khan/HT)
Cricket fans often like to listen to live commentary on the radio. (Photo: Parwaz Khan/HT)

Radio was once the only source of entertainment, and the older generation stills cherishes those days. Anil Sethi, a resident of Rajender Nagar, says, “Back in our childhood, everyone would crowd around this small machine for news bulletins and cricket updates. This was the time when TV had not yet made an invasion in our living rooms, and transistors were the only source of entertainment. Today, my kids have taught me to listen to the radio on my phone! I still prefer listening to news on the radio; it’s more dignified.”

‘Dedicated songs to each other’

For many listeners, radio has been synonymous with song dedications — a feature that popularised the medium mostly among the youngsters. “When I was in class XI, I would call this one radio channel every week and request them to dedicate a song to this guy I had a crush on in my class. I was naive to think that he would listen intently to radio all day like I did! And my friends and I would also dedicate songs to each other. Long story short, he never got to know that I was making song requests for him, but I surely succeeded in annoying the RJ,” recalls Ridhi Solanki, a corporate professional.

‘Commendable work by community radio’

Community radios helped in spreading the correct information about Covid-19 to the masses (Picture for representational purposes only). (Photo: Sakib Ali/HT)
Community radios helped in spreading the correct information about Covid-19 to the masses (Picture for representational purposes only). (Photo: Sakib Ali/HT)

During the pandemic, community radios worked hard and served as an important source of information to people, especially in the rural areas. “At the time when Covid-19 was at its peak, it’s radio channels like Radio Mewat, Noida-based Salaam Namaste and the Gurugram-based Gurgaon Ki Awaaz, who ensured that people in their districts have proper access to information. These community radios became a source of comfort in an uncertain time,” says Neha Bajaj, a Delhi-based architect.

A saviour when bored in traffic

Delhi’s traffic is a thing of legends. For those stuck on the road, listening to the radio often helps keep calm. “Every time I’m in a jam, I tune into the radio to tune out the world! There was a time when there was only so much on the radio but now it’s like TV without the visuals. Pranks, advertisements, commentary, news, it’s a whole package. My long commute from Noida to Gurugram is bearable in the cab only because I can listen to the radio,” says Anubha Singh, a Noida-based HR professional.

Author tweets @bhagat_mallika

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