“If music be the food for love, play on…”

Remember the bard’s fabulous line in his romantic comedy, ‘Twelfth Night’ that celebrates the romantic passion of humans through the magical device of melodies? Yes, ages have passed by since, and our ardent fervor for music is miraculously magnifying with the passing of every single day. The advent of the electronic media (radio and television) has further accelerated our quest for listening to melodies with providing greater exposure to our favorite singers and their albums. Ages ago, one would have to be a privileged member of Akbar’s “sabha” to listen to the soulful chanting of Miyan Tansen. However, years and ages passed after that and the 60’s and 70’s audience today fondly remember their pristine days of “Binaca Geetmala”, where the lively and spirited Ameen Sayani popularized the concept of live music broadcasting, and brought the timeless Indian classics to our drawing rooms.

Today, with an abundance of entertainment programs on television, one cannot help noticing young boys or girls anchoring different music shows. In Channel V or MTV, which airs music shows on the TV throughout the day, almost every hour the anchor changes and a fresh face, comes up. Sometimes these programs are telecast live, in which the anchor has to interact with the live audience. These professionals are referred to as Video Jockeys, responsible for anchoring the music shows and also for maintaining the interests of viewers in that particular program. In radio broadcast, these professionals with pleasant and lively voice are called radio jockeys. In India, mainly the young generation is largely dependent upon the television or radio for viewing or listening to their favorite music. With a host of international music shows on Channel V and MTV, an ardent lover of Jazz or pop can get access to music from around the world. It is a mutually gratifying world for both the VJs and RJs who are making their livelihood by anchoring and organizing live music shows on the television and radio as well as for the viewers/audience who are mostly of younger age group and make specific request for a particular song or a set of songs and music.

While today viewers/audience of these live music shows have noticed that whether it is classical, western, jazz, rock or pop albums that they play, they have a quintessential knowledge of beats and different forms of music. However, many of the viewers/audience would also be curious to know how they handle various hardware equipment or work on different specialized software while playing their favorite numbers live.

While the critical components of radio broadcasting operations include an audio mixer, scheduler and playback system, these days the tech-savvy Radio Jockeys mostly use powerful digital music players for FM Radio programs. With such equipment, they ensure gapless, continuous playing with intelligent mix point detection where music mixes and fades at the right point at the right time. With a host of high-end digital equipment, music is fully controlled, using the best Audio tools ever. Radio disc jockeys play music, chat, deliver news, weather, or sports, or hold conversations with celebrities or call-in listeners. Like Club DJ’s, they mix music, sound effects, and special effects and occasionally provide time-filling chatter between songs in technically equipped radio stations. Being extremely organized and synchronized is critical to the radio station, where songs fill a certain span of time and commercials are also aired during specific blocks. In most radio stations, computer software programs are used to schedule the music for each radio program or play listener requests. When DJs are “off air,” they might record commercials for later broadcast, preview new music and prepare material for later shows.

On the other hand, the advent of digital satellite and cable has brought greater diversity with Television channels such as MTV and Channel V, which focus on playing music videos and other music-related programming. With the explosion of MTV and MuchMusic in the 1980s and 1990s, music videos became a new art form, a new way for an artist or group to express their songs visually. After it’s advent in 1981, MTV started nonstop broadcasting of music-video clips intended to boost sales on the music charts. With the coming of digital video editing, the VJs of these channels have used visual manipulations and effects in music- video clips.

These days, many VJ’s even edit their material live on a computer, which could change and recompose the material in many ways. Some use found footage and other film material to tell their story, while others produce their own footage.

Today, after the advent of the Internet, live streaming music via the Internet radio stations have opened up new vistas of enjoying the melodies from all over the world. With a host of options ranging from shareware and freeware (designed to record streaming audio from online Radio stations) to webcasts and other Internet audio sources, the convergence of the Radio and Internet definitely mark the beginning of tremendous opportunities for the music aficionados.

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Subhasis Chatterjee

Subhasis Chatterjee

A web-journalist and a content analyst with an experience legacy of more than 21 years in this field.