KATHMANDU, Oct 4: Till some years ago, music was most easily accessible through radio. The presence of Internet as a music provider hadn’t been explored very much in Nepal then, and hence, radio was our only jukebox.
FM stations were on the rise and the Radio Jockeys (RJs) presented us with all kinds of music peppered over their chit-chat and humor.
Over time, we grew attached to a particular station and most of us could easily name our favorite show and hosts. Listening to it would soon turn into something religious: we kept ourselves free for that duration, and we tried not to miss any of it.
Rupesh Thulung, 24, reminiscences, “Every time I listened to Kantipur FM, I would tune in for Prabhat Rimal’s show in the evening and for Music Jam, hosted by Ashish and Prasan Syangden.”
The Chartered Accountancy student started listening to Kantipur FM when he was in class eight and stayed a loyal listener till he passed his 12th grade. The Jhapa boy then shifted to Kathmandu to pursue his further studies and in the big bustle of the city, soon lost much of his interest in radio and FM stations.
The few times that he does tune in to the radio these days, he listens to BBC for the news and Kantipur FM. “I’m loyal to the brand,” he says when asked about why he still listens to the same station.
This is not an unusual story. We have, no doubt, ardently listened to the radio sometime in our lives. We will have had a favorite FM station, some favorite shows and connected with the show hosts in our own way.
Rupesh says, “I kept my Wednesday and Thursday evenings free just so that I could listen to the Rhythm Brothers without any interruption. Music Jam was full of good music, comedy and laughter. The letters that were read out added to the entertainment.”
According to Naren Begha, 28, the popularity of radio was due to the small portable FM radios. They were cheap, he recalls, and listening to FM stations through them was sometimes the only mode of entertainment while inside the school hostel. At just Rs 200, they were easily purchased, spoilt, and a new one bought again.
The Internet has now been explored so much and its uses and advantages are commonly put to the test everyday. It’s a portal for everything and with such easy access to all kinds of music, young people these days are gradually forgetting to tune in to the radio.
There are social networking sites which take up all their time, online games to play, things to read, funny videos to watch on YouTube, and much more. Hence, the time and trend of sitting down to listen to the radio, listening to your favorite radio presenter talking about pleasant things has declined steadily over the years. It seems no one really listens to the radio, much less build up a special relationship with the presenters.
Pragya Thapaliya, 19, lists Hits FM’s breakfast show Namaste Kathmandu and Kantipur FM’s Music Jam as two of her favorite shows. But that was around two years back.
“I have morning classes, so I can’t listen to Namaste Kathmandu anymore. It was a perfect way to start my morning. With classes to attend in the morning and the Rhythm Brothers of Music Jam discontinuing the show, I have completely stopped listening to the radio,” she says.
Pragya, a Bachelor’s degree student in Development Studies at National College, says that most young people choose social networking sites and television shows to entertain themselves.
Prabin Ghimire, 18, is not really interested in radio. He says he never listened to it before he joined classes for radio jockeying at Hartford Infotech. Yet, despite his disinterest in radio, he did go in for a 32-day training package, even extending five more days of training.
“I joined because I thought it would help me build up confidence. I was always nervous about public speaking and this training did help me,” says the class 12 student of Xavier International College. Now he claims to be able to emcee small functions at his school.
However, the training didn’t turn him into a loyal listener. “For a few months after the class, I did listen to some shows but soon I lost interest,” he says.