• Bidisha Bhattacharya

Reminiscing the Radio

Most of us brush aside the magic that the good old radio had brought to our lives in the ’90s. Well, back in those days, owning a radio was considered to be a matter of pride and prosperity. For the bunch born into the early ’90s, radio catered as the primary source of entertainment. That miniature box broadcasted an eclectic concoction of both grotesque and grave. It portrayed the coherent mix of news, soothing music, drama, cricket commentaries, and gripping topical talks. 

Way before all the audiobooks and the podcast extravaganza stepped in, we would stretch our cochlea as much as we could to listen to ‘Golpo Dadur Ashor’ or narration of short anecdotes by writers and orators alike. Sunday evenings would be eagerly looked forward to by the entire family as to whether Lata Ji or Shri Manna Dey would light up our weekend this time or would it be one down the memory lane of the gems we had lost before we stepped into the ’90s, namely, Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay or the mesmerizing Geeta Dutt. Football commentaries cheering East Bengal and Mohun Bagan would reverberate even across the living room premises. 

The history of how the radio stepped into the land of Mother India dates back to the early 1920s. The first radio programme was broadcast in July 1923 by the Radio Club of Mumbai. Exactly four months later, the Calcutta Radio Club decided to go on air. In the year, 1924, broadcasting service was initiated by the Madras Presidency Radio Club. 

It was on July 23, 1927, that organized broadcasting kick-started. Lionel Fielden was the first controller of Broadcasting in India. He was a senior BBC producer who spent five years in India as the controller of broadcasting and one of the most important people who established the one and only, All India Radio (AIR). It came under the control of the Government of India in 1936.

It was this All India Radio that expanded broadcasting across states and cultures thereby pouring entertainment into the lives of every single citizen of this country. Well, nothing can match the nostalgia this radio station brings along with it. Almost all of us have lucid memories of listening to the ‘akashvani’ jingle vividly at the break of dawn.

Did you know the signature tune of All India Radio was composed by Walter Kaufmann, the then Director of Music at AIR! According to the website, AIR, today is one of the largest radio broadcasters in the world with over 415 radio stations in about 23 languages and 146 dialects.

How can we possibly ignore reminiscing the most popular show of the ’90s: Vividha Bharati. This wondrous service by the AIR was launched way back in 1957 and was also the only exclusive commercial channel then. The evergreen music countdown show was listened to by millions of music lovers across the world. This show had also helped Ameen Sayani become a renowned face and he undoubtedly stands as the most imitated radio presenter till date. 

From growing up in the ’90s to being introduced to the different aspects of life, the Radio did walk us the journey hand in hand. 

This post was also published in theninetieskid.scrollstack.com

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