Friday, July 28, 2017
5 things about Broadcasting. ....
Basudha Halder Banerji, PEX, AIR Delhi writes for "5 Things" column of The Assam Tribune.
5 things about broadcasting. .............
Radio is a Long Playing Story
Broadcasting in India is 90 years old; having taken its first toddling steps on 23 July, 1927 when the Bombay station of the Indian Broadcasting Company started beaming organized radio programmes. 90 years and still going strong!
I am fortunate to have hitched my wagon onto this magical journey, joining on 25 July 1991 at All India Radio, Guwahati. 26 milestones marked -with memories under each! 26 years of roaming with a microphone, the wanderlust undiluted! Watching the radio landscape changing as we travel on … changing, and how!
In a world that is shifting gears fast and furious, where technology is outdating itself before we can say hi-tech, where there is a blitzkrieg from the skies in terms of audio-visual content bombardment, newer and yet newer social media platforms gobbling up bigger segments of the pie, people often ask me where is radio headed for? “Na hanyate,” is my reply.
Radio was written off when satellite and cable TV arrived in Asia. This was not the case in the First World. The doomsayers have proclaimed radio dead again and again citing emerging technologies and platforms for audio consumption. Just as the printed book has been written off by many with the advent of e-readers.
I do not believe radio is threatened by the rapid spread of the internet in India. The internet is instead harnessed as a supporting development for stations to launch websites and live stream content. Future radio will make the most of content. The ninety-year-old structure of towers and transmitters will make way for transfer of content through the internet at massive cost cutting and unimagined efficiencies, blurring boundaries between media – all of which will lead to a stage where all content will be consumed on a portable hand-held device. Na hanyate…it does not die! Merely reinvents itself!
An Intimate Story Telling Medium
Radio is the true inheritor of the oral tradition. Of childhood evenings when we huddled around a grandmother who spun magic with her words and transported us to bewitched worlds far away with her stories. This grandmother used music too. And sound effects. She mimicked the voices of giants and trolls. She created the sound effects of a storm in the ocean. She was the original broadcaster.
This is just what we do as radio documentary producers. Tell stories. By playing with sound and silence. By linking interviews with a narration, by mixing suitable music and throwing in some judicious sound effects. By crafting audio pictures. And then transmitting them to the listeners, each one of whom will use her own imagination to interpret what we aurally present to them. To see pictures.
Radio builds Bridges
There is an invisible yet invincible bond between the radio producer/presenter and the listener. The first challenge of the producer is to grab the attention of the listener. And the ultimate challenge is to create an impact. Make someone smile. Or weep. Move someone. Galvanize another. Act as a catalyst. We do all this by ingenuous creation of visuals with sound, a refined craft. There are no cameras, lights, sets, huge casts…just the microphone and a few humans in a studio or in a remote outpost reaching out to the listener. Who gets the impression that the broadcaster is speaking to him and only him.
One of my regular listeners used to be a blind gentleman, whose feedback on my documentaries would always have expressions like, “I saw this…”! No wonder, radio is called “Theatre for the Blind”!
Broadcasting is about Passion
I remember interviewing a senior journalist once who spoke of his boarding school days and the “little red transistor” which he smuggled under the quilt after ‘lights out’, only to listen to Komal G B Singh present her popular Western Music show – A Date with You. The middle aged journalist’s voice carried old echoes of the young boy’s crush on the presenter - “only because of her rich warm voice”! This was years before television arrived in India and Komal would be seen on Doordarshan screens.
I had traced out Komal to ask her if she thought of her listener. In her rich, warm voice she told me of the sacksful of listeners’ letters, how they could recognise handwritings, of going that extra mile in pre-Internet days to get that piece of music requested by a listener. Of attending parties where defence officers would tell her how at a remote frontier post on a bleak winter’s day, it was her voice that kept his morale high. “Broadcasting is a passion,” said Komal. “Anything I did came straight from the heart.”
Veteran broadcaster Komal G B Singh could be talking of all of us. Of the magic that is radio. The letters have given way to SMSes and phone calls. But the magic bond endures.
Radio is a Long Playing Song…a song that doesn’t end, merely changing its beat with the times. How can it end, when the listener is out there and at the other end, we are here!
Source : Basudha Halder Banerji
Credit : The Assam Tribune www.assamtribune.com