Video has not killed this radio star

Video has not killed this radio star

AIR FM Rainbow recently celebrated 25 years of entertaining Goan listeners. And with World Radio Day celebrated on February 13, NT BUZZ takes a look at how far 105.4 has come over the years


The Buggles got it wrong. Sure, their tune ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ may have become a popular track. But while television has become an addiction for people since its advent, and with digital media available on the go, radio continues to be a fond companion of many, especially in India. Indeed, tons of listeners tune in daily whether they are travelling or are just taking a breather from their mundane life.

And in Goa, there is no denying that AIR FM Rainbow continues to be a popular radio station among listeners, even 25 years down the line. Indeed, it was on January 24, 1994 that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting opened five FM Rainbow stations across the country. Goa, was one of them.

“We started with three hours of daily programming. This gradually increased to six hours, and then to 12. Today we do 18 hours of programming, broadcasting in Konkani, Hindi, Marathi and English and playing different genres of music. We cater to people from 7 to 70 years of age,” says channel head, Savio Noronha, who has been part of All India Radio for the last 30 years. He along with radio jockeys Leeta Dias, Usha Naik, Shakuntala Bharne, Saish Deshpande and Charushila Desai have been with the channel since its inception and been witness to its growth over the years.

There have also been quite a few major highlights for the channel over the years. “We offer commentary in different sports, be it cricket, football, kabaddi, and have covered various national and international events like the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, music events, and also the International Film Festival of India (IFFI),” says Noronha. The channel has also done some memorable interviews with many noted personalities. “Before Shah Rukh Khan became the Badshah, RJ Sachin Chatte interviewed him in 1999. Before VVS Laxman scored the unforgettable 281 not out in Kolkatta, RJ Bambino Dias and I interviewed him. We also have recordings with Wendell Rodericks, Mario Miranda and lots more,” says Savio.

In 2006, Bambino Dias and Savio also entered into the Limca Book of Records for staging an unprecedented music cum chat concert with Goa’s greatest bands in a programme called ‘Night of the Fortnight’.

“Besides this, we also have a drama segment. We broadcast Konkani music plays every second Sunday between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Listening to this is a unique experience,” says Savio.

And running this “people’s channel” is both fulfilling but challenging, he acknowledges. “The entire music industry is changing. We have to be fast paced and be the first to offer the latest, which we do,” he says.

And indeed with the advent of digital technology, the channel has kept up with the times. “We are very active on social media and do a lot of audio visual coverage like FIFA U-17, IFFI. In this way the people behind the radio can now be seen,” says Savio.

Besides, they also have an array of radio jockeys. “Every jockey has a different music taste and brings something of their own to the show. Many people tune in to radio but lots of people tune into the jockey who is on air,” he says. And these radio jockeys also come from different fields ranging from computer professionals, airlines, music, etc, doing these shows on assignment basis. “They look forward to their slot, once a week. They tell me that this is their space and it is a huge part of their lives,” he says.

Their planning for their silver jubilee celebrations which saw them having a live Lorna concert began about four years in advance. “We decided that we have to bring Lorna because she is one of greatest Goans ever born. Every Goan, cutting across communities and transcending three generations all love Lorna,” says Noronha.

Co-incidentally, he adds, they also realised that it has been close to 50 years that the channel has been playing her songs. “The other radio jockeys tell me that not a day goes by when they have not broadcasted atleast one of her songs for the last 50 years,” says Savio..

The concert was broadcast live on social media so that people from around the world could be a part of the silver jubilee celebrations.

And the going only gets better, 25 years on. “Even though there has been a generational change in technology, the friendship that people have with radio has continued,” says Savio.