Typical listeners of radio, treat it as a pleasant accompaniment to their primary tasks of driving, cooking, reading etc. Thumping music accompanying the testosterone-ridden young adults’ driving, or easy and light music for the housewife

Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City 91.1 FM

But, for many listeners, the radio is often more than just a background medium to provide good music and interesting chatter. There are scores of listeners for whom a favourite RJ is a lifeline, a dear friend and a confidante with whom they can share their deepest feelings, thoughts and aspirations.

Having worked for a long time in television, I was used to the phenomenon of TV anchors being treated with awe and wonder. People would drop in at shoots, watch these celebrities from afar and take their autographs. Some of the bolder ones would walk across and request for pictures with which to dazzle cousins and relatives back home.

However, the RJs (radio jockeys) of a radio station have a unique connect with their listeners which, to my mind, is far more powerful and potent because it is extremely emotive in nature.

Witness the many listeners who keep trying the phone lines for hours on end to talk to their favourite RJ, or the listener who has not missed a single show of her preferred RJ in the last three years, or the BPO listener who waits for two hours after her night shift, just so that her favourite RJ is the first person who gets to know of her engagement, when he comes on air early in the morning!

We have had scores of women fasting on Karva Chauth for a much admired RJ, a woman coming all the way from Chembur (in Mumbai), having made payasam for an RJ, who on air mentioned her love for that particular dish. There are also a number of women who call up empathetic RJs and discuss intimate details of their married lives—some funny, some truly heart-rending.

And that is the power of the medium—it is far more personal and, therefore, perceived as friendlier and closer to the consumer than TV or print.

Thus, it has no barriers in building a connect with the listener, making it so much easier for a housewife in Jaipur or a teenager in Hyderabad to pick up the phone and chat with her “friend", the RJ.

Being an audio-only medium, it also frees the imagination and allows the mind to paint the RJ in hues that appeal to each distinctive listener. So, that particular husky tone could be a Bipasha (Basu) lookalike or a possible Rani Mukherjee clone. It is entirely up to the listener to build his personal fantasy, the possibilities as endless as the options his imagination is able to create!

No wonder then, that every interactive activity on radio ends up being extremely effective in influencing consumer behaviour. (Mint is published by HT Media Ltd, which owns the operator of Fever 104 radio station.)

As told to Anushree Chandran