Thursday, 25 September 2014

A radio station also broadcasts programmes of different types. These different types of programmes a
The requirements of listeners of radio stations are not the same. To serve them, we need to know many facts about them. So  we should know about the audience:
(a) The total population of the area.
(b) Number of men and women — Sex ratio
(c) Literate people/Illiterate people
(d) The languages spoken in the area.
(e) Schools/Colleges
(f) Children going to school
(g) Health facilities — availability of doctors, primary health centre, clinics,hospitals.
(h) Any major diseases
(i) Religions in the area-population wise
(j) Power supply
(k) Nearest radio stations/Television stations
(l) Climate of the place
(m) Main occupation of the people
(n) Income per head/people below poverty line
(o) Roads/transport facilities
(p) Irrigation facilities
(q) Number of people engaged in agriculture/other occupations.
(r) Types of crops.

Radio formats therefore are decided on the basis of the needs of the audience.

The radio stations are  Vividh Bharati, AIR, FM Gold or some private commercial station. .

Announcements have been traditionally made by people who are known as announcers. The commercial radio channels may call them Radio Jockeys (RJs) or anchor persons.

The ingredients of a radio format.
 A Radio format can be split into three parts: They are:-
(a) Spoken Word or Human Voice
(b) Music
(c) Sound Effects


1. Announcements :

 These are specifically written clear messages to inform.They can be of different types. These announcements have become informal and resemble ordinary conversation.

2. Radio talk : 

The radio talk probably is the oldest format on radio. There has been a tradition in India and Britain to invite experts or prominent persons to speak for 10 or 15 minutes on a specific topic.
These talks have to go through a process of being changed into radio’s spoken word style. Over these long radio talks have become unpopular. Instead, today, shorter duration talks are broadcast. Of course, we can listen to these talks only on public service broadcasting stations.

3. Radio interviews:  

In the media, be it the newspaper, magazine, radio or television, journalists use this technique of asking questions to get information. There can be different types of interviews in terms of their duration, content and purpose.

Firstly, there are full fledged interview programmes. The duration of these may vary from 10 minutes to 30 minutes or even 60 minutes depending up on the topic, and the person being interviewed. Most of such interviews are personality based, long interviews with well known people in the field of public life, literature, science, sports, films etc.

Secondly, there are interviews which are used in various radio programmes like documentaries. Here the interviews are short, questions specific and not many. The purpose is to get a very brief, to the point answer.

Thirdly there are a lot of interviews or interview based programmes in news and current affairs programmes. With phone-in-programmes becoming popular, you might have heard live interviews with listeners. These interviews have been made interactive.

There is another type of interview based programme. Here generally just one or two questions are put across to ordinary people or people with knowledge on some current topic to measure public opinion. For example  the railway budget is presented in the parliament, people representing radio go out and ask the general public about their opinion. Their names and identity may not be asked. Such programmes are called ‘vox pop’ which is a Latin phrase meaning‘ voice of people’.

4. Radio discussions :- 

 In radio,is used this technique to let people have different points of view on matters of public concern. Radio discussions are produced when there are social or economic issues which may be controversial. So when different experts meet and discuss such issues, people understand various points of view. Generally,these discussions on radio are of longer duration-say 15 to 30 minutes. Two
or three people who are known for their views and a well informed senior person or journalist who acts as a moderator take part and discuss a particular topic for about 30 minutes. The moderator conducts the discussion, introduces the topic and the participants and ensures that every one gets enough time to speak and all issues are discussed.

5. Radio documentaries/features: 

If you see a film in a movie hall, it is generally a feature film, which is story based and not real. But there are also documentary films which are based on real people and issues. A lot of programmes you see on television are educational and public service documentaries. Radio also has this format. Unlike documentary films, radio documentaries have only sound – i.e. the human voice, music and sound effects. So a radio documentary is a programme based on real sounds and real people and their views and experiences. Radio documentaries are based on facts presented in an attractive manner or dramatically. Radio documentaries are radio’s own creative format. The producer of a documentary needs to be very creative to use human voice,script, music and sound effects very effectively. Radio documentaries are also called radio features.

6. Radio drama: 

A Radio drama or a radio play is like  theatre drama. The only difference is that while a stage play has actors, stage, sets, curtains, properties movement and live action, a radio play has only three components. They are the human voice, music and sound effects.
Radio uses its greatest strength for producing radio plays and that is the power of imagination and suggestivity. For example, if you want to have a scene in a radio play we don’t have all physical arrangements made. All that you have to do is to use a bright tune on the excited voices of people to create in a listeners’ imagination, a wedding scene. The voice of the actors, music and sound effects can create any situation in a radio play.

7. Running commentaries :

 Running commentaries on radio can be on various sports events or on ceremonial occasions like the Republic Day Parade or events like festivals, melas, rath yatras, swearing in ceremony of
ministers, last journey (funeral procession) of national leaders  event. A commentator would give us all the details of the match such as the number of players, the score, position of the players in the field etc. So by listening to the running commentary, you get a feeling of being in the stadium and watching the match. The commentator needs good communication skills, a good voice and knowledge about what is going on. Today radio running commentaries especially of cricket and other sports can be heard on your mobile phones.

8. Magazine programmes : 

 Radio also has magazine programmes like those in the print media.  A radio magazine is broadcast at periodicity ( a particular time on a particular day of a week or a month).  Similarly it has plenty of variety in contents. Some or many formats of radio are included in a radio magazine. These may be talks, discussions, interviews, reviews, music etc. Likewise, the duration of each programme or item in a magazine programme also vary. Another characteristic of a radio magazine is that it has a signature tune. A signature tune is an attractive piece of music which is specific to a programme. It can be like the masthead (title) of a magazine. A magazine programme also has a name and one or two presenters or anchor persons who link the whole programme. In the beginning, the titles of the day’s programme will be given by the presenters after the signature tune. They also give continuity and link the whole magazine. Magazine programmes are generally broadcast for a special or specific audience. 

9. NEWS: 

Among all the spoken word formats on radio, news is the most popular. News bulletins and news programmes are broadcast every hour by radio stations. In India, only All India Radio is allowed to broadcast news. Duration of news bulletins vary from 5 minute to 30 minutes. The longer news
bulletins have interviews, features, reviews and comments from experts.


So music is the main stay in radio. There is no radio without music. Music is used in different ways on radio. There are programmes of music and music is also used in different programmes. These include signature tunes, music used as effects in radio plays and features. India has a great heritage of music and radio in India reflects that. Let us understand the different types of music.
Classical Music
There are 3 types of classical music in India. They are:-
1. Hindustani classical
2. Carnatic classical
3. Western classical
There are also vocal and instrumental music forms.
There are also light classical music forms like, Thumri and Dadra. Insturmental music forms include string (sitar, sarod etc.) wind (like flutes, shehnai) and percussion (drum) instruments.You might have heard such music on radio a large variety of devotional and folk music in your area and across the country. Which are broadcast on radio.  While there are film songs in different languages, the one with a national appeal and popularity is Hindi film songs. On most radio stations, be it public
service or commercial,Light western and pop music are also popular among some groups of listeners and there is a large section of young people listening to western pop music.


Let us see how sound can be used in radio formats.

  • Sound can play a major role in evoking interest.
  • Sound can be used for comic effects to evoke laughter
  • Sound can be used to create certain moods or enhance them.
India has taken giant leaps in the field of information technology and radio as a medium, has taken a lead in applying information technology in its broadcasts. Let us discuss some of these formats:

1. Phone in programme – In this age of technological development, phone-in is the most important format. This is called interactive programming where the listener and the presenter talk to each other. Their talk goes on air instantly.The listener has the satisfaction that his voice is being listened to and replied immediately. Other listeners also listen to him. Such presentations need advance publicity so that the listeners get ready to air their grievances/queries or requests. They dial up the announced telephone number at a stipulated time and get their problems discussed with experts in the studio. Initially this format was introduced for playing the listeners’ request based film songs. Now it is being used for health related programmes, rural broadcasts, complaints against the government/
administrative machinery etc.

2. Radio bridge : Radio bridge means connecting different stations throughout the length and breadth of the country. In this technique, for example, an expert sitting at Chennai can interact with the common man in the studio in Delhi. This format was first used by All India Radio during elections.

3. Radio on internet : Radio on internet is a growing phenomenon with thousands of radio stations operating through computer modems. It is altogether a new format that removes the restrictions of frequency or license. It is relatively cheap to set up.  It has certain advantages as well as disadvantages.  Now all the national and international radio stations like BBC, Voice of America, and
All India Radio are available on internet. It is now possible to listen to the programmes from a radio station while working on the computer.

All India Radio started its services on internet on 1st May 1998. With this, it was possible to extend the coverage of programmes to all parts of the world including USA and Canada.