The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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4 channels, for your ears only

Music-on-the-move mania is all set to hit town this March, with Hindi, English and Bengali tunes, 24 hours a day. Modern melodies and golden oldies, at 2 pm or 2 am, Indipop and Western classical, it’ll all be on the airwaves.

Entertainment is the name of the game — news and current affairs being the government’s sole preserve — and the players are four private radio channels, determined to catch Calcutta’s ear.

With Power FM, Red Radio, Aamar and Radio Mirchi rolling it out, is Calcutta ready to go radio ga-ga' Jimmy Tangree, station manager of Red Radio, sure feels so and has flashback figures to show.

“Calcutta is vibrant and it has shown the fastest growth in adaptability to radio. As per the NRS survey, in June 1994, AIR FM in Calcutta had a listenership of 3.6 lakh, which zoomed to 26.6 lakh by December once private FM started. So, we are upbeat about private FMs re-launching here. The city is waiting for radio programmes with an international attitude.”

And so, Red Radio, of the Radio Today (Calcutta) Broadcasting Ltd, is striving to be “the pulse, the blood and the heartbeat of the city”, adds Tangree. “Our programmes will be internationally packaged with local content.”

For aspiring youngsters looking for a break on the jukebox, Power FM holds out hope, as it tours college campuses and city hotspots with a mobile van to conduct on-the-spot auditions.

The radio jockeys, old and new, will reach out to a target audience of 18 to 35. “We want to be with our audience all-day long. Our music will have a dance flavour, new and vibrant,” declares Partha Majumdar, station and programme manager for Power FM.

On Aamar, the presentation will be in Bengali, but the songs will be both Bengali and Hindi. Power FM and Aamar have set up state-of-the-art studios in Calcutta, at a cost of around “$ 2 million” each. Breaking with tradition, Radio Mirchi will air tri-lingual programmes in Hindi, Bengali and English. “Calcutta is probably the only place where we will have tri-lingual programmes, as Calcuttans are passionate about Bengali,” Radio Mirchi officials said, pegging the Calcutta cost at Rs 3-4 crore.

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