After staying in the US for nearly 9 years, I was used to listening to FM stations on my car, in restaurants and at home when cooking, doing dishes or laundry. In fact my alarm used to be set to NPR . I used to wake up to weather and news and in fact I do miss that so called liberal news talk radio here in India.

I was pleasantly surprised when I returned to India and found there were several FM stations here. I stayed in Delhi recently for 2 months and fell in love with AIR FM Gold. This station plays old Hindi music (usually seventies and eighties) and gives you news and current affairs. The assumption is that there is life over 35 and even under-30s would want to be treated like they do have an IQ. I say this b’coz most other private FM stations like Mirchi, Red, Hello FM all sound alike with their inane patter, gush and similar music. Sadly AIR stations have been overtaken by a charged-up new gang of ‘RJ’s‘ that thrives on telling you how hhhhot it is. Never mind if you are the wrong age group and the sizzle leaves you cold.

AIR at this point has far more to offer the listener. At least in Delhi. But across the country its FM channels are however pursuing different content strategies, pandering to regional chauvinism. AIR FM Gold in Chennai flatters to deceive. It still has its signature tune in Hindi, but the majority of its programming is in Tamil. With a large defence population, cosmopolitan work force in the IT, Call centers and automobile sector, one would expect Hindi programming, but sadly no. All private FM stations sound likes clones of one another blaring Tamil movie songs and catering to the 18-35 age group. However, I refuse to believe that this age group is dumb and will put up with this inane stuff for long.

I wish Delhi’s AIR FM Gold is broadcast nationwide, but sadly given the regional politics it is unlikely.