I think Go92.5FM has gone full Hindi. Or at least, they've drastically cut back on English music. If you've not heard Go 92.5FM, or in case you don't care much for English music, don't read further.
I've been a big fan of Go 92.5FM right since it's Radio Mid-day days of the mid/late 90s, when private FM stations were first introduced in Bombay. Radio Mid-day was launched sometime then and was an instant hit. The urban, educated (college-going, yuppies, etc) Bombayite formed the core of their audience and does so even now. In those days MTV was still all-English, and there was no channel [V].
Anish Trivedi and Anu Singh hosted "The Sundown Show" then (6pm to 9pm). I loved this show as much for these two RJs as for the fact that they actually listened to their listeners - amply evident in the music they played. Then there were the contests and the free movie tickets, the merchandise, etc. Note that at that time, participating in contests meant dialing the station continously (remember no mobile phones to send SMS?) and waiting to get through. I remember tasting success a couple of times, and believe me there is a kick knowing that the city is listening to you! (or so I thought!)
Somewhere down the line, Anu Singh left and was replaced by a woman called Jak. Not the same, but still good enough. I still remember the way Anish and Jak would end their Friday show "ringing in the weekend" , with some kind of horn or loud instrument - indeed a pleasant reminder. With Anish Trivedi, the thing was, as it is with opiniated people, you either liked him or hated him. And his accent couldn't endear him to the masses anyways. I counted myself among his fans. Tarana came in much later and was a fresh, chirpy new voice.
Other RJs, that I can recall, on this station included, the owner Tariq Ansari (a.k.a. T-Man) and Shernaz Patel (a morning show). This was also the station that had Rahul Bose reading out passages from cult classics like "The Catcher in the Rye" on Sunday morning. Yes, this has happened. Then there was Parag Trivedi with his show de-mystifying Western Classical music. I'm pretty sure that no other radio station at that point of time had such depth of programming, at least on the English music side.
Somewhere around 1998-99, private FM stations vanished and came back a couple of years later in 2001 or 2002. And Radio Mid-day was now called Go 92.5. This time Anish and Tarana hosted the "Good Morning Mumbai" show and Malini and Jaggu did "Horn OK Please" in the evening.
I was hooked on to it all over again. Same old, same old. Great RJs, great music. Good enough for you to ignore the ads. And this was also the ONLY radio station that played English songs - full time. There was also a station called Win 94.6. As my friend reminds me, this channel ran an ad which went "Win - which plays music like this
Eventually, Go also increased its Hindi content and got in Shruti to do an entire Hindi show from 11am to 1pm. Yet, English songs were still played often. Besides the morning and evening shows, afternoon fare also had a good sprinkling of English music. "College Radio" - an afternoon dial-in and requests show had enough college kids asking for James Blunt's "You're beautiful" dedicated to their crush as they had for Himesh-bhai's "Aashiq banaaya". They even had the husky-voiced Chris doing a 90's-specific music show on Sundays at 9pm. Hootie and the Blowfish, Crowded House, Hanson, Alannis Morrisette - what more could anyone ask for ?
And of course on week days, wind up the day with Glen's Nighshift. 3 hours of old English music, and what an enviable line-up - The Who, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, U2, Pearl Jam....God damn! he played some good music which packed a great punch to at least one set of people listening in at that time - i.e. 30-40yr old office-goers going back home post-9pm. 30-40yr olds who've rocked to "Laila", "Sultans of Swing". "Hotel California", "Brick in the Wall", etc. when they were young.
You know you've grown old when they start playing "With or without you", "Cats in the cradle" and "Jeremy" on a "Classics show", when you used to hear songs like "Her name is Rio", "Wake me up before you go-go" and "West End Girls" on the same show - not so long ago. Its funny how we relate time with the music we heard in those days.
So Go92.5FM still smoked competition on all counts - quality of music, quality of RJs, everything. You just have to listen to the shrilly, loud, accented RJs of the other stations to appreciate Go. I didn't even waste my time doing that comparison.
Cut to the present. Sometime last week, Tarana started to speak Hindi more than usual and I thought I was hearing a tad too many Hindi songs. And today, Sunday, 9th April, I woke up to "Chura liya hai tumne" instead of T-Man's Old English songs on his Sunday Brunch show. So I'm guessing Go has gone full Hindi.
There's also a conspiracy theory in my mind - have they sold out to Radio Mirchi ("leading" radio station, also full-Hindi), given that the Times of India (owners of Radio Mirchi) also has a stake in Mid-day?
So that's that. Go 92.5FM is now a full Hindi music channel. Why am I making such a big song and dance about this? Simply because, like many others, I'd like to have regular access to English songs - contemporary, classic, whatever. It does matter, right ? Even Star TV relaunched Star World, after pulling the plug on it. Even a Zee has a Zee Cafe. Even MTV has a VH-1 for English music. Both MTV and [V] play English songs once in a while.
In fact, even the state-run AIR (107.1FM) plays English songs. Funny..I didn't think that they'd come to my rescue when I was going back home and wanted to be soothed by Steve Winwood and not Annu Maalik, Bappida or Sonu Nigam.
PS - If only Worldspace had car audio. Yet, I just hope they don't fold up.