Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Radio City, the new FM channel from Chennai

What's in store for listeners on Radio City, the new FM channel?

Vikas Varma swears by the Sama Veda. One day, the National Head of Programming at Radio City took time out in the afternoon to propose to the lady who is now his wife. He has an unshakeable conviction that he was accepted because of the timing of his request — "According to the Sama Veda, the time between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. is conducive to romantic pursuits".

After actor Surya formally made Radio City (available on 105.8 FM) known to the Chennai public, Vikas spoke to MetroPlus about the forces that have structured the FM major's Chennai service, the rationale behind the choice of radio jockeys and the ethos the channel would be trying to promote.

"A research paper that came out of the Berkeley School Of Music spells out the effects of music on the human mind at different times of day. I drew upon this scholarly work and the Sama Veda while preparing the programme chart," says Vikas.

Both `West' and `East' are agreed on one thing — that the time between 10 a.m. and 12 noon is when people possess, exert and display great energy.

This time is handed over to UV (Yuvaraj), who, Vikas says, "can say in 30 seconds what I might take a minute and a half to deliver". UV anchors "Reel Time", where he gives updates about films and comes up with jokes. Jagan, who shot to fame playing Nandu (himself), Vandu (devil) and Chendu (angel) in a popular television film review show, hosts "Silmisa Balbaje Sikarika Bilba" (between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.). It is a nonsense phrase that he coined during the workshop (with Niladri Bose) that Radio City organised before going on air. . Mine is a de-stress programme, says Jagan, who actually is known to the wider world as VJ Nandu ("I did not want to spoil my own name, so I promoted this name which means `crab' in English). Vikas calls it a show for the family.

Archana will be in charge between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. in a programme that targets adolescents — Love Beat. "The show will be light and effervescent, but not a bit edgy," says Varma. "The jockey is not so much an analyst or psychologist as a friend who listens to your woes." Through e-mails, letters and calls, young adults can share relationship problems. As Chennai Chat is targeted at college students, it is anchored by "Cho-Chweet' Shermeelee, who was in college not long ago. `Smiley' Sulabha, who will be heard between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., will chat will celebs, apart from giving market updates and discussing topics. Aarthi hosts a programme that is aimed at housewives (there will be oodles of gossip and shopping tips).

Gopi will anchor "Idhayathil Irundhu" (Straight From The Heart), where he will talk with ease about a great many things under the sun.

"When I first met Gopi, he came across as a humorous person. I could not believe that he was dealing with serious issues on television shows."

His discussions will be devoid of pungent and irreverent adjectives; they will be light, refreshingly airy and entertaining, says Varma.