Radio stations are increasingly realizing that playing good numbers on the station is a hygiene factor, and if they really want to differentiate themselves, they have to look beyond music. Hence there have been movie launches on the stations, game shows, interviews and more.
And now GO92.5FM has decided to do something totally different - at least as far as FM radio in India is concerned. It is presenting a radio adaptation of Vikram Seth's popular novel - A Suitable Boy. The 12 part series featuring the vocal talents of Rahul Bose, Ayesha Dharker, Rajat Kapoor, Mahabano Mody-Kotwal, Roshan Seth, Ila Arun and Radhika Da Cuhna will air at 1 pm on Sundays beginning November 24th.
The radio adaptation of A Suitable Boy, scripted and directed for radio by John Dryden, Britain's leading adapter of classic fiction for the radio medium, recently won the Gold Awards for Best Drama and Best Production at the 2002 Spoken Words Awards scheme.
When asked why did the station choose to present the radio adaptation of the novel, when most stations are busy honing their music, said Rajesh Tahil, Station Head, Go92.5 FM, "Since we launched we have been very clear that the programming of a radio station cannot be only on the basis of what percentage of your play list is Hindi music. It is about connecting with your listeners in a multitude of ways with varying degrees of intensity. Music is one, how funny/whacky/sexy your DJs are is another and stuff you do on the station is the most important. A Suitable Boy is another step in the direction of cementing our relationship with our existing listeners, and of offering a wider choice of content to bring in more...And most importantly to create comprehensive difference between stations that is not linked to what song is playing at that time."
One wonders if Sunday afternoon, which is not really considered to be 'prime time' as far as radio listenership is concerned, is the right time to air a radio adaptation. Would it not be better if the station had opted to air it on a weekday? Explains Tahil, " We have chosen Sunday afternoons because we do not want to disturb the rhythm of a weekday listener with non music content which demands more involvement...and we are driving the lean forward content on Sundays with Marjorie Orr's horoscope, live concerts (Elton John and Bon Jovi in recent times) and now - A Suitable Boy. We believe at home Sunday late morning offers a relaxed environment where something like a play or a concert can be enjoyed because the listener is willing to offer more bandwidth to what's playing on radio".
A Suitable Boy - The Radio Adaptation, is presented by British Council, which is also the station's on-ground partner for the programme. The radio series also has Oxford Book Store and Rhythm House as partners.