Radio – On the Air


Back in 60s, 70s and even the 80s, radio was the only means of entertainment and only resource for news and weather, commentaries of cricket test matches, election results and music. As every household had a radio player, there was quite a variety of programs. Even in small villages in India, people who didn’t have a radio of their own would go to their local restaurant or barber shop to hear one.

Many people could not afford a radio in those days, so when somebody in the neighborhood did buy one, they used to show it off as an important and valuable asset.

The radio has now disappeared from homes, as how television is the main source of entertainment, news, cricket, films and sports.

It is very rare for people to buy a radio these days, as radios can be available on mobile phones, televisions and the internet. The aim and objective is the same, though the look of the radio has changed. Many of us still listen to the radio in our cars, especially for sports, weather, traffic news and music.

Many people still use the radio at work, especially in small factories or car repair garages or shops. House wives listen to the radio in the kitchen when they are busy with cooking. The radio has not actually disappeared as people have a love for radio, and it does fulfill a basic need for entertainment, but it will probably disappear in the next 15 years, just like music records.

The charm of the radio is great. Let me give you my experience. I grew up in India in small towns where farmers and and laborers would have an old banger of a radio hanging from a tree and playing music and news. The farmer would listen to the radio while keeping an eye on the workers, and workers would enjoy the music while keeping a distance from the farmer.

In India, back in the 1970’s, we used to listen to the BBC world service regularly, and news given on the BBC is the true and factual news. We would wait for the BBC news before believing it to be true if, say, Indira Gandhi had lost the general election, or indeed there was an assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Some good old things last forever, and it becomes part of your life. I can still remember the whisper of an old radio 95.8 FM. The BBC World News was at 5pm every evening. “And this is your favorite host… give us five minutes and we will give you the world… the news every hour on the hour…”