World Radio Day 2020: Of song requests and an expression of love in the time of radio that used to be
It was a special moment to have someone dedicate a song to you or have your fan mail read on the radio long before television and social media were ever a thing.Updated: Feb 13, 2020 18:54 IST
It’s World Radio Day today, and it’s the best time to create a recall value of the days of the radio so many generations have loved and grown up on. Calling up the radio station and waiting for hours for your song request to be played is probably passé but those memories (if you have lived in that era and evolved to the digital generation) and stories from elders in our families is something great material for love stories are made of. In the era gone by, radio presenters were cult figures and the audience flooded stations with handwritten letters requesting songs, sending love or expressing opinions. Think of a singing telegram or an Acapella group who carry messages from your crush or the person who’s totally smitten by you. First, it’s a sweet way to find out someone is in love with you. Second, if you were to get together with this person, imagine all the stories you would have to share with your grandchildren.
Today on World Radio Day and a day before the official day of love, Valentine’s Day, I sat wondering if the days of innocent love were thing so ancient that you need archaeologists to dig up more information on this? Let’s take a walk down memory lane to the year 1993-94, when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan found ‘magic’ thanks to the concern (meddling?) by Tom’s onscreen son Jonah and the radio show. In Bollywood, we got a sneak-peek into the era of love the old-fashioned way through a book, a common song and the forgotten art of letter writing that makes the always-around-yet-estranged-lovers meet.
“When I was young, I’d listen to the radio, waiting for my favourite song...” - said the lyrics of a song by The Carpenters. Remember that signature tune that Akashvani (All India Radio) was identified by? It used to also work as an alternate alarm tune for some of us back in the day when all other methods failed. Why? Because the elders in the household would be up and about well before the sun came up and that would mean everyone must wake up too because “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” These golden words unfortunately looked better gracing our moral science books because have we forgotten our cool quotient? What will my friends say if we were to call it a day at night and wake up at the crack of dawn? Honestly, not even Love Guru or the exciting tariff packages from our network providers expected that.
In the age when songs are available in a plethora of apps on your smartphones namely Spotify, Amazon Music and others, or a device that can host over 5000 songs; or advertisements and radio spots that play longer than a song, is it possible to bring love back like the good ol’ days of pure radio playback and a song dedication to announce your love?
Popular radio presenter, Ameen Sayani, with his first radio countdown show of Indian film songs came to be known as the golden voice of Indian radio. The show, with its strong concept, and something that was never explored before, made a place in everyone’s hearts. He is still idolised, even imitated by many. 50 years down the line, one can find a new set of songs with a pre-recorded voice of this popular presenter online on YouTube to relive those days of Ameen Sayani’s Geetmala. With the era of podcasts taking over, you never know, the good ol’ days of song requests might just be back.