Many, like me, in Jammu were taken aback after listening to the late night broadcast of Radio Mirchi on last Friday night. The content sounded vulgar and unnecessary for Jammu audience. In the show, RJ Rochie was asking participants to talk about their first make-out; a term unknown to many in the city. While many in Jammu still get uneasy accepting their romantic relationships, Radio Mirchi showered the city with such “vulgar” content. It is worth noting, neither the RJ nor the callers were from Jammu, yet the programme was aired here.
Read also: Monopoly of BIG 92.7 FM is over in Jammu
While many would argue as it is up to the listener to switch on or off the stations, a few factors to consider:
- Why shower us with content which is neither made in Jammu or by Jammu?
- If FM stations are local affair, shouldn’t the programmes too be tailored for the city? Shouldn’t a thought be given to the needs and temperament of the city?
Not just this, the Times Group, which owns Radio Mirchi has already been facing massive criticism all over the country because of a controversial comic strip. The comic strip is said to contain lots of sexual content inappropriate for some sections of the society. An online petition asking the group to abandon the strip has got whopping 45000 signatures. Here is the petition
Just like the “Rochie show”, many in Jammu and outside find the pranks by RJ Naved offensive. Although the abusive parts are beeped out yet such pranks sound disturbing and unnecessary. Here again, neither the RJ nor the victims of the prank are locals.
While strong language in these pranks might sound normal to the cities of their origin, it may or may not be taken casually here.
Right from their entry in Jammu, Radio Mirchi has come under serious criticism a couple of times. Just the day the station was officially launched in Jammu, the Managing Director of the Times Group, Vineet Jain, tweeted like this
People from Jammu and other places commented differentiating Jammu and Dogras from Kashmir. Despite all the feedback and angry remarks, Vineet Jain was unmoved he hasn’t changed the tweet till now.
Only three days after Mirchi’s launch, a facebook note titled Radio Mirchi- Why Jammu is not Khush by Ravinder Kaul also highlighted Radio Mirchi’s indifferent attitude towards the aspirations and culture of Jammu.
In the post, he highlights how Radio Mirchi is force-feeding Jammu with Punjabi songs keeping the larger community of Dogras, Gujjars, Kashmiris and others ignored; in a way, almost everybody!
Though Mirchi claims to be have tailored the playlist of songs with 70% Hindi and 30% Punjabi songs; and reports by the Times of India, their associate, say that they’ve created it after careful study of listeners yet it is not explained where and how the data was gathered.
It could be deduced that no such research has been conducted and whatever they broadcast is purely based on their convenience. How else would one explain the ignorance of the channel head who is oblivious of, not just Dogri, but other major languages of the state like Gojri, Pahadi, Ladakhi etc. How else could they ignore the fact that there are around 22 lakh Dogri speakers and only around 2 lakh Punjabi speakers in Jammu.
Even at national level, after a Swiss couple was assaulted by a group of men with sticks and stones in Fatehpur Sikri last month, Radio Mirchi ran a Mat Aao India (Don’t come to India) campaign. It was a parody of tourism campaigns and asked tourists not to come to India. Here is the controversial clip
Here is the text of the embarrassing broadcast
Mughlon ka ye bagh dekho, India ka ye itihaas dekho,
Atithi ka saaman dekho, khush hote mehman dekho,
Yeh pehle tha, ab…
Goa ka samundar dekho, touriston ko tang dekho,
Mehmaan apna Russian dekho, uska molestation dekho,
Fatehpur ki shaan dekho, couples hue pareshan dekho,
Pyaar ka samman dekho, naye Bharat ki shaan dekho,
Maut ka moral kaam dekho, atithi ka apmaan dekho.
India aana aapki sehat ke liye haanikarak hai,
Atithi devo nahi #MatAaoIndia.
After massive backlash everywhere, the Information & Broadcasting ministry had to issue a show-cause notice against Radio Mirchi calling the content “defamatory and violative of the AIR code”.
The content was taken off air soon after the notice and public furore. Moreover, Mirchi came up with this public apology too.
Although they have apologised, yet the damage is done. People have lowered their rating on their facebook page. With many 1-stars, the rating has come down to mere 3.2 only.
Earlier this year, the radio station had to scrap its popular Mitron segment, which satirised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, apparently after complaints from senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Now it is up to Jammu to decide what content they want to create, generate and consume. As Radio Mirchi is test running its shows, peoples’ feedback will sensitise them to Jammu’s needs. In order for Jammu people to make their opinion count, they will have to present their point; make reviews and complains online and thus and pick what they want and refuse the unwanted.
Let us make it clear for them that they can’t just turn up and feed as what they want; tell them, “either listen to us or we are turning you off!”
Written by: Abhishek K