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Reporter’s Diary: The red headed step child

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Reporter’s Diary: The red headed step child

As a ‘radio’ reporter it only makes sense that I write things about MY beat in MY diary, highlight its achievements and justify the misses. But what do I write about the medium that comprises only two per cent of a general media mix. Neither is my beat deeper than a woman’s heart like my friend Abid’s (Hasan) beat is, neither is it as glamorous as my friend Synjini’s (Nandi) beat nor is it as rich as my friend Priyanka’s (Nair) beat.

Radio is that beat which in spite of all the conversations remains the ‘add on’ beat, the second preference or as very nicely quoted by an expert ‘the red headed step child’. But to me my beat is the ‘Ugly Betty’ (Jassi jaisi koi nahi ki Jassi) who in spite of all its qualities is in the shadows of all the glamorous beats.

2012 was like any other year for radio for the obvious reasons (I shall not go into details since all my reports already say why this year like any other year was).  Some achievements in terms of programming, content, marketing and advertising and some repetition of the existing formats more or less can summarise the year. What I would like to highlight is that while year after year passes by the medium continues to function the way it always has for nobody takes the initiative to leverage it to its optimum potential. 

Like Ugly Betty the radio has a lot of potential, capabilities and strengths.  It is only a matter of how one utilise it to make the best out of it. Recently at the Golden Mikes awards I came across a number of advertisements that could connect with the listeners instantly. Advertisements like Rozy massage parlour and Strand book stall campaigns connected with the target audience instantly. They painted a picture, communicated the message and evoked a response successfully. The point is that while people say radio is a non-visual and impassive medium it can be as strong as any other medium.

While creatives, brands and advertisers need to use the medium for its inherent strength, the media owners need to do something to display this strength. When there are examples of the medium being used to the best of its capabilities they need to be highlighted. Advertisers need to know who invested and how much they gained or else they shall never have faith in the medium.

In the milieu of what all is happening will it be correct to say that the medium is stagnant? As opposed to a lot of your thoughts – NO! Radio as a medium is not stagnant. It is growing as much as any other medium. However, only those who know how to get their way around it are growing with the medium. As mentioned earlier 2012 saw some of the best creatives on radio. A number of radio ads were acknowledged at Cannes. It was not for no reason – there was some path breaking work and there will continue to be path breaking work every year, but unfortunately by the same people!

All of it brings me back to what I said earlier, MY beat MY Ugly Betty – the smart ones will pull her on board and others, well you are missing on something so good!

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