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A Quest For MUSIC On Delhi FM Radio Stations

By on Sep 12, 2007 in Reviews, Tech Takes | 30 comments

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The thing about gadgets it that sometimes just to test a feature, it drives you to discover stuff that you didn’t do earlier. Take me for example, who didn’t bother to check FM radio stations earlier until I got my new phone, the LG KG300. Now I was a bit bored listening to the music tracks I’d loaded on phone, so I just switched on the FM player. It met my expectations – a quick auto scan presented me the usual Bollywood crap. I might as well tell that I don’t listen to / like Hindi music, except for a few bands like Euphoria. I was about to give up when *surprise surprise* I run into a station playing Deep Purple!

So I took up, as a challenge, enduring loads of Bollywood crap (no arguments in the comments section on this please, I simply don’t want to listen to more crap suggestions), and finding out more about *good* music choices. Should also tell you beforehand – I simply HATE the RJs. Nothing personal against the kind, but I hate the useless banter, I prefer JUST the music. Internet radio was my fave haunting ground thus, but a few things happened: Yahoo! LAUNCHcast started blocking Firefox (but it’s a bloody good service – and can predict your music tastes real well, apart from having one of the world’s largest online music libraries);‘s Audioscrobbler needs too time to get things right; music companies started screwing Internet stations and they didn’t play popular music that much, for example, Pandora is no longer accessible for most non-US territories like India; ShoutCast has some good streams, but they’re difficult to find – ditto for Live365. Basically, Internet radio is still getting screwed by the companies. Coming back to Delhi FM radio stations, here’s what I found out.

If I’ve missed out anything, please do share it here – and maybe if you have a different take on FM / Internet radio. And in case you’re an FM station exec, I’d like to know why the hell there isn’t any RATM, LP, Marilyn Manson etc on air…


  1. Arjun Attam

    September 12, 2007

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    LOL. I can’t believe somebody calling him ‘Bob Dhillon’.

    And yes, there is a lot of rap/hip pop which sucks.

  2. Abhishek Nandakumar

    September 12, 2007

    Post a Reply

    I really love the Alternative channel on World Space. The music isn’t repetitive.

  3. Ramit Singal

    September 13, 2007

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    You really can’t blame private radio channels for putting up only bollywood songs or those from the hip hop/rap genre. Fact is, that 95% of people in India tuning into the radio are those who are not looking for rock/metal stuff.

    AIR is definitely the best, if ignoring the RJ quality. Luckily though, the RJ doesn’t speak too much anyway, so it’s fine. They do put up Marilyn sometimes though :)

    You should get World Space by the way. It’s awesome.

  4. GQ

    September 13, 2007

    Post a Reply

    @Arjun: Most of rap / hip-hop sucks.

    @Abhishek: But doesn’t World Space also have RJs and ads (I think they mentioned that during their launch)? Why should I PAY to have idiotic RJs AND ads thrust at me?

    @Ramit: Yes, thankfully the AIR RJs don’t speak a lot, but when they do they’ll have you in splits. As for people NOT looking for rock, I’m not so sure. The youth loves it – and I’m pretty sure if a private station starts slot dedicated to rock, it’ll be popular.

  5. Abhishek Nandakumar

    September 13, 2007

    Post a Reply

    They just promote themselves through the ads. Of course on channels like NDTV(yeah it’s there on WorldSpace), you can’t control the ads.

    What you need is an iPod and not public radio!

  6. Prashanth

    September 13, 2007

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    In 102.6, you have nice programmes alloted after 8 each day. Weekend Powerhouse is the best amongst them… find you RATM, Marilyn Manson and your punk rock here…

    On tuesdays, they have a programme that plays the popular part of the discographies of a selected band, and in the middle, the RJ gives insightful trivia of the band… thats really nice to hear. I have been telling you since long to hear radio, haven’t I? ;)

  7. GQ

    September 14, 2007

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    @Abhishek: Promote themselves through the ads? That’s dumb, because the only people who are listening are ALREADY their customers! Anyway, FM radio is good for discovering new music – because I really don’t actively go out trawling for new stuff. In fact, Internet radio helped me discover quite a few good artists. A music player really won’t help you discover new music.

    @Prashanth: ‘Insightful trivia’. Yeah right. I’m babbling with excitement on knowing Ronan Keating is BAND and his wife died because of HIS breast cancer. LMAO!!!

  8. Anonymous

    September 15, 2007

    Post a Reply

    Its soooooooooooooo easy to sit there & comment on everything…. do you guys even have a clue how much money ot takes to set up a radio sttaion???

    & if you need to make money u need to cater to the mass… y don’t to try & figure out what % of ppl in delhi want’s to listen to metal/rock (head ache) songs? I am sure it will be cheaper for a radio sttaion to buy all the so called ROCK music lovers in Delhi ipods as compaired to running a ROCK radio station..

    AIR can afford to do it as they don’t have to pay 10 cr every year to govt to get a licence!

    instead of wasting you time here why don’t you guys approch the govt & tell them to waive off the licence fee for the private radio station??? I am sure if the govt does that you’ll have all the sttaions soundung diffenert & playing different music… The issue is its the easiest to sit in you AC homes & offices & put up a BLOG! go out there & try the hard way & work towards what you want!

    Think about it!!!!!!!

  9. Abhishek Nandakumar

    September 16, 2007

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    I download the National Public Radio Alternative section from iTunes, and that really helps discover new music.

    On the Indian radio you get to hear music that is popular and not music that is good.

  10. GQ

    September 16, 2007

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    @Abhishek: Yes, NPR is a good place to discover new music; even I listen to it sometimes, but noting beats the prediction accuracy of Internet radio stations. They’ve got more data to work on.

    @Anon: You seem to be a person who’s from the industry, and if yes, then it’s good that you’re responding to audience reaction. You raised a very valid point – that private FM stations are, effectively, subsidising AIR, which gives them the freedom to experiment with music. However, I must also say that rather than having a station dedicated to rock, why can’t there be a SHOW dedicated to rock, and I mean ROCK and METAL, not those oldies (the sort they keep on playing on that Radio City show). Of course, FM stations HAVE to cater to mass market, so nobody’s saying that devote prime time to rock; but why not, say, a less crucial slot like 10pm to midnight? Also, stations (except AIR, and you gave a valid reason for that) are far to afraid to experiment – Fever 104 hardly plays any English songs, Radio City has a such a limited and stagnant library (theirs would fit in a 128 MB pen drive with room to spare :p ), and nobody else plays English to a great extent.

  11. Anonymous

    September 16, 2007

    Post a Reply

    Dear Go,

    I thought i would get hate mails from everyone ;)… yes you guessed it right i am from the industry & know how difficult it is to run & please everyone…. we (the inductry professionals) also most of the times don’t listen to theri own stations as we CAN’T stand what we programme ;)

    well… give it some time I am sure someone will try out rock in the nights…. i am quite sure about that….

    also you were talking about english music…. i heard HIT yesterday & today & heard some considerable amount of english…. as a matter of fact MOST of the music was english! I think that’s the station to watch out for! I hope all our prayers are answered soon

  12. GQ

    September 16, 2007

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    @Anon: ;) It was nice to know that you guys also crave for more English stuff on air. I can almost imagine RJs belting out Bollywood stuff while listening to Iron Maiden on their iPod… ;) I do really hope someone starts experimenting with some good rock in some non-crucial slot.

    I did mention Hits 95 FM, they used to play a LOT of English earlier and their non-stop slots were much much longer. These days though they’ve more ads, and more Hindi stuff. I guess a station CAN’T survive in today’s market without Hindi. Sure, I do want the stations to survive, but I feel that since these are FM stations after all in urban markets (and unlike AM you don’t have to broadcast to villages); I feel that there’s an audience for rock. See, I think till now FM has been geared towards passive listeners who listen while, say, driving back home. But that completely misses capitalizing on the cellphone revolution – so many people, especially the youth, now have FM / music capable phones. I feel that stations aren’t working on the young-guy-with-an-FM-phone-who-likes-rock market too much. These are people who will ACTIVELY tune into a station to listen music, and it will be a VERY targeted audience which the advertisers will reach out to. For example, Amity advertising on Radio City – good, but most of the listeners have just tuned in while driving back from an evening shift, say. Imagine a rock show where people TUNE in, AND they’re the target segment of folks like Amity. Effective marketing.

    Hindi music revolves around the latest Bollywood movies; but English songs are band / artist centric – consequently English music fans are more willing to sample new stuff because they’re on lookout for new bands. Give them new stuff, they’ll listen.

    I also understand that it might be cheaper for stations to get rights for Hindi music than English music catalogues. I think you guys get away by practically zilch for Hindi stuff. English music record companies on the other hand screw you people for not paying royalty. I think it’s more of cold business logic at work here – stations want to maximise profits by going for the cheapest songs with the largest audience. That’s why they don’t pay labels like Sony BMG, EMI, Virgin et al for new songs, because royalty costs are probably higher and the audience is smaller. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  13. Anonymous

    September 17, 2007

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    Dear GO,

    What i was trying to say was the i think HIT is back to its old format…. with the LOT of NEW english….. I haven’t heard much hindi on it for the last 2 days…

    Also regarding the money for Royalties…. well we have to pay equal amount of monet whether we play hindi or western music…. Radio station usually pay by the hour of music played & NOT based on the language…. & that too is very hight fee every month!(AIR doesn’t even pay that) :( all the burden of financing the I&B ministry is on the private radio broadcasters :(

  14. GQ

    September 17, 2007

    Post a Reply

    @Anon: Hmmm, a sad situation for the private radio broadcasters I see. Well for now, I can only cross my fingers and hope that someone starts playing English stuff soon…and I will tune in to Hits 95 and see what’s new with it… :)

  15. Anonymous

    September 20, 2007

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    so did you get to catch HIT???? i heard it over the past days & i think I LOVE it… in the sense they at least are trying to get a different ‘SOUND’ for their station…

    I don’t think your dream for a rock show is far behind!!!

  16. GQ

    September 20, 2007

    Post a Reply

    @Anon: Yes, I did, and found the English stuff on Hits 95 pretty good. At least there’s something to look forward to know. BTW, I seriously think AIR is playing pirated music, cuz they play live recordings sometimes, the sort which you find on Limewire.
    PS – Do you work for Hits 95? ;)

  17. Anonymous

    September 21, 2007

    Post a Reply

    Dear Go,

    I wish…. but am trying to find some contacts to get in HIT!

    I am just a Radio lover…. But yes hit (now) is my dream station to work for

  18. GQ

    September 22, 2007

    Post a Reply

    @Anon: Well, I wish you luck! Hope you get your dream job at Hits! :D And when you do, please don’t forget rock music lovers… ;)

  19. Anonymous

    October 9, 2007

    Post a Reply

    Wanna Be a JOCK on HIT

    HIT 95FM (Delhi) is giving you a chance to be on air & host a show for 1 hour….

    Yes its true….. All you need to do is call 39-95-95-95 & record a short demo (appox. 30 sec) & if they think you have it in you to host a show on DELHI’s ONLY english radio station you will be on air for one WHOLE hour!!!!

    its UR chance to be in the spotlight & become world famous in DELHI!!!!

    Don’t let this GOLDEN chance go…… Call now…..

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!

  20. Udit Agarwal

    June 1, 2008

    Post a Reply

    I used to be a great ShoutCast fan when i Had NarrowBand (64k),There AAC streams really worked for me.

    But Now on India’s Broadest-Band (256K,For Now Atleast).I prefer .Its like a Youtube Last.Fm mashup and if you dont mind the videos, it plays great music although it tends to get repetitive with the same tracks being played but it plays what you want to here (atleast for me)

    Here Are the Artists that were played for me when I entered Blind Melon.
    1. Marcy’S Playground
    2. Smashing Pumpkins
    3. Soundgarden
    4. Pearl Jam
    5. Alice in Chains

    I was looking for a Grunge Sound but with a More Guitar Vocal approach to it.(Whatever that means).And it perfectly fit the criterion.

    Happy Listening

    p.s.:Ever thought about hosting an IRC Channel ?

  21. Ankur

    June 4, 2008

    Post a Reply

    @Udit: Yes, I did think of starting a forum…and have given more weight to it recently. The other thing which I’ve thought of is a simply discussion board. I don’t think IRC will be a big hit, because frankly not too many people use it these days. Maybe I could use phpFreeChat for live interactions…

  22. Fakhruddin

    July 15, 2008

    Post a Reply


    Opps, AIR doesnt pay royalty, well we are their biggest customer since we have the maximum stations in the country.

    We all pay it by the hour and coming to pirated music well in today’s world whether you play music or not, you buy it or copy it you still pay it by the hour, so no respite there.

    Therefore most of the RJs try to source the music on their own if they cant locate it in the library; a major part of which is still not digitized.

    So who do the people in the forum rate as the best station, Fever? or Hits, One was quite promising but then lost out…

  23. girlanonymous

    May 28, 2009

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    hi, i’m from bangalore, moving to delhi. the few times i’ve been there, i’ve absolutely DESPISED their radio channels. i am desperately looking for an english radio channel in delhi. and a channel that plays an hour of english songs a day does NOT qualify. i want a FULL-TIME supply of english music. it really REALLY sucks that nothing goes beyond B-wood there. bangalore has a really good english radio channel, why can’t delhi?
    this is the most info i’ve found on delhi radio channels, so thank u :) btw, the ronan keating bit was hilarious!

    • Ankur

      May 28, 2009

      Post a Reply

      If you can brave cheesy jingles such as “Thodi meethi, thodi catty”, you can listen to Meow FM – but that’s basically intended for women only (as in they market themselves as a ‘women’s radio station’). Otherwise, AIR is the only recourse that you have. Pretty surprising actually, but AIR is the only one which plays sensible English songs.

  24. suman jha

    May 28, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Does anyone knows that really nice song which plays on hit 95 fm delhi….i am confused of what language that song is on…but remindes me sumtin of arabic. Nyone knows???

  25. shreya

    November 15, 2009

    Post a Reply

    i herd this song on hit it was a dance song playing on saturday night(14 november) it waz an awesome song it had lyrics something like can’t come down but i can’t find anythin related to that on the net everything i found waz old songs wid this name …… anyone aware of it plz rply(may be got the songz name wrong )
    plz plz need help:)

  26. Mayur

    May 24, 2010

    Post a Reply

    plz sir kya aap mera message aapke radion station pe suna paoge, Sir Plz mera ye message aap suna paogeto mai aapka bahot bahot aabhari rahunga,
    mera message hai mere sabse pyare dost meri jindagi ke liye Message hai “Anushaji plz Mayur Ko Call kijiye”

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