I am a regular FM Radio listener for the last couple of years are so. It is a joy to listen to your favourite film music and drive, isnt? I invariably switch on the Radio the moment I get into my car. I dont carry any CD's, so FM Radio is the only entertainment in the car. You have a wide variety of FM radio stations in Chennai. As per my last count, there are atleast 10 FM Radio stations including the Government run Rainbow FM. Out of the lot, the following stations are frequently heard by me: Radio Mirchi, Radio One, Hello FM, Big FM, Aaha 91.90 FM and Suriyan FM. I typically listen to FM Radio between 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM in the afternoon and between 8.00 PM to 11.00 PM in the night. This is the time I drive to office or drive back home. So, there may some positive or negative biases towards the programs aired between these times.
FM radio mainly plays film music throughout the day. They keep belting out popular film music non-stop only to be intervened by the loose-mouthed Radio Jockeys. For the listeners, the blessing is that they have choice. The creative side is not very important since there are severe restrictions on what FM Radio's can play. Recently, the Federation of FM Radio owners approached the Government to allow them to offer "News" and news-based programmes. But it was rejected by the Government saying that considering the number of FM Radio stations across the country, it is impossible to monitor the news based programmes.
Talking about the creative side of programming, I think the FM Radio stations are no different from one another. Within the available leeway, I think few of the radio stations are doing really well. I guess the differentiator between them is the quality of discussion the Radio Jockey (RJ) can engage with the caller. The voice quality and slang used is also very important for the listeners to get connected. I have noticed that Radio Mirchi and Radio One has the best RJ's considering the voice quality, discussion topics and the presentation style. I think they work really hard to come up with themes which would interest people and make them call or SMS their views. Similar to writing blogs. I have to really think to write!! (Believe me, I too think at times!!) I like "Mokka Mohan" and "Mirchi cares" messages of Radio Mirchi, "Deal day" and "Heart to Heart" programs of Radio One the most.
Revenue models for the radio stations are the advertisement revenue and the revenue from the SMS sent by the listeners. The telecom companies normally share their SMS revenue with these radio stations. There was talk some time back about the producer of "Kaun Banega Crorepati" literally making crores only through revenue sharing with telecom companies on the SMS's sent. For those who are interested, Entertainment Network India Ltd., owns Radio Mirchi and Mid-day Multimedia owns Radio one, both the parent companies are listed on the bourses.
Almost all stations employ the strategy of hosting "Call and play" programmes with attractive prizes to the listeners. Noticeable among them is the general knowledge quiz which comes up in Aaha 91.90 FM. This is definitely a positive attempt being made compared to routine cinema based quizzes. One funny call and play programme is "Palanguzhi" which comes between 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM on Hello FM.
There are many popular RJ's in all these channels. RJ Suchitra, I guess, is the most popular among the lot. RJ's Deva, Shiva (Chennai 600028 fame), Anjana, Mamati Chari, Deena (who did a world record of being online for 92 hours or so), "Heart to Heart" Gautam of Radio One, Vel Kannadasan and "Yazh" Prabhakaran of Suriyan FM are quite popular as well. Of all, I like RJ Deva of Radio Mirchi and RJ Shiva for their presentation style.
The most irritating program to me is "Chinna Thambi Periya Thambi" in Suriyan FM between 9.00 AM and 11.00 AM in the morning.
Which is your favourite FM Radio Channel?