Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee


World Radio Day

13 February is observed as the World Radio Day.

Radio, besides being one of the most popular mass medium is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

There is also a changing face to radio services, which in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms.

The first experimental radio broadcast in India took place in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1921. More systematic radio broadcasts began in 1923 through radio clubs located in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bombay and Madras (now Chennai).  The Radio Club of Bombay broadcast the first programme in 1923. This was followed by the setting up of a Broadcasting Service that went on air on July 23, 1927 in Bombay under an agreement between the Government of India and a private company named The Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd. It marked the beginning of organised broadcasting in India. Calcutta  began its service five weeks later.

The first ever news bulletin in the country went on air from the Bombay Station on July 23, 1927. A month later on August 26, 1927 a news bulletin in Bengali was started from the Calcutta Station.  Until 1935, two bulletins, one each in English and Hindustani were broadcast from Bombay and a bulletin in Bengali and English was broadcast from Calcutta.

The Indian Broadcasting Company went into liquidation in March, 1930 following which broadcasting came under the direct control of the Government of India. It was Sir John Reith, founder and the first Director General of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), who persuaded the Government to have a national broadcasting service for India. The Government appointed a BBC producer Lionel Fielden as the chief architect and controller of what was initially named the Indian State Broadcasting Service under the department of ‘Controller of Broadcasts’.  It was renamed All India Radio on June 8, 1936. (It also came to be known as Akashvani in 1956)

The breakthrough in news broadcasting came after January 1936 when the first news bulletin from the Delhi Station went on air on January 19, 1936 coinciding with the start of its transmission.  Besides, news bulletins in English and Hindustani, talk shows on current affairs were also started in both the languages.

Decades later, Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face.

This precisely is the theme of this year’s Radio Day: Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace.

Moral Victory

After Kolkata Police-CBI spat and Supreme Court advisory- both TMC and BJP are claiming ‘moral victory’ over one anther. Now, it is beyond my comprehension, how in case of a war- both the warring parties can claim victory.

Politics, in deed is the art of impossible.

Valentine Day

Valentine Day, which is observed on 14 February, has a long and colorful history. And like in many other occasions- its history has different versions. The details differ- but one common aspect remains: celebration of love. Over a period of time Valentine Day has become synonymous with celebration of love.

Cut to present times, when everything- every emotion, every occasion have been commoditized. Market, now, has turned Valentine Day into a day of buying gifts (gold and diamonds and expensive perfumes are specially recommended) and eating out in fancy restaurants. Advertisements urging you to buy gifts and stuff for your beloved floods media and marketplace weeks before the D-day.

Market has been successful in creating this notion: if you do not buy a gift for your girl/boyfriend- you don’t love him/her enough. Take a step further. You buy stuff- to show or probably to convince yourself that you love her/him.

That is the ultimate irony.

That is what market ultimately does to emotions.


Tail piece: Small doubt!

Son: Daddy, I’ve a small doubt!

Dad: Please ask my dear.

Son: Daddy, I learned that Prahlada became great by ‘not listening to his Dad’ in Satya Yuga.

Dad; Yes.

Son: Shri Rama became GOD by ‘listening to his Dad’ in Tretaya Yuga.

Dad: Yes.

Son: Now, please clarify should I listen to you are not.

Dad: My dear Son, In Kali Yuga, it is good for both of us to ‘listen to your mother’ to have  a normal life.

Only in Mumbai…….

Banana is Kela; Single is Akela; Tired is Thakela; Bored is Pakela; Stuck-up is Atkela; Angry is Satkela; Hung-up is Latkela; Lost is Bhatkela and……..Dead is Tapkela.

(Courtesy: Social Media)


Journalist-turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives at Dhenkanal in Odisha. He also writes fiction. An anthology of this column published in 2018 will be shortly published. Persons interested to get a free e-copy may send a mail to him at [email protected]

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