Wednesday 10 October 2012

Hi! This Is … and You Are Listening to…

We are all used to hearing station identifiers on radio. Hi this is … and you are listening to … Sometimes these identifiers are station jingles or familiar (celebrity) voices which identify the station. They also come in a slightly different flavor as celebrity omnibus in which more than one voice identifies the station.
Earlier, I never paid attention to these station identifiers, but on Oct 3, 2012 I did, at around 7:17 PM. Not because it was the famous bolly actor Sallu Bhai (Salman Khan) who told me what station I was listening to, but I was more interested in listening to the song that followed this station identifier. The song that followed was Karde Mushkil Jeena Ishq Kameena from the bolly flick Shakti (2002).
After listening to the song, I was wondering what relation the song had with the immediately preceding station identifier in Salman’s voice. The film neither had Salman in its cast nor was the song filmed on him.
Being unaware of the rules/policy employed by the stations in the linear placement of celebrity identifiers on the timeline for the day, I thought whether the identifier has to meet my expectation of confirming to the immediately succeeding song? A mental rewind of identifiers heard in the past, gave me two commonalities.
One, it identifies what the station stands for: In the present case, this radio station primarily stands for bolly music. Having an identifier in a bolly star’s voice, establishes the association.
Two, it identifies what the day part stands for: In the present case, since it was evening, during which contemporary bolly numbers are played by this station, the said identifier came across as appropriate.
Save for few exceptions, celebrity identifiers are not exclusive to a station. Sallu bhai may happily identify other stations as well. As the name implies, the station identifier is meant to identify the station and not a song.
However, if the identifier relates to the immediately succeeding song, this radio station will definitely identify itself amongst its peers for its attention to detail.


  1. Manu Agarwal10 October, 2012

    Hi Himanshu, nice blog!

    I do not follow radio that often but last time when I was listening to one of the stations, I noticed there were identifier jingles at the end of the song composed on the tune of that particular song.. that is really impressive!

  2. I have always wondered if these celebrities get paid to mouth these words. They must be giving soundbites to all radio,tv stations right? How does one go about getting such a soundbite?
    can I for instance ask a salman khan to say "hi this is salman and I think DJ is awesome!"?

  3. Himanshu, I am always fan of your critical analysis and keen observation. I think Bollywood or our related mediums like Radio , TV etc sometimes lacks logic but still making money. I am not sure if the logic will earn them better money or should I conclude that our so called entertainment industry is run by fools or we public are fools

  4. I think its time I turn n the radio & see what channel I should listen to... Interesting perspective Himanshu

    1. Tender Leaf, I thank you for the kind comment. I recently received an email forward "Tips to improve your productivity by Robin Sharma". Tip # 5 said Sell your TV...I say yes, buy a radio instead :-)

  5. Interesting observation Himanshu.. wonder who is promoting whom in these sound bites.. is the station paying the actors to say these few words or are the actors doing it for free to promote their celebrity status..?

    Anyways, I think it is a win-win situation for the station and the actors and you have to admit that the audience is getting entertained in the process :) It is good to hear Deepika Padukone promoting Hindi channel Radio One in chaste Kannada!!

  6. Hi Himanshu, Well written as always! You are right in pointing out that station identifiers are meant to be just that - station identifiers! Also, "celebrity brand mentions," in this case in the form of station identification, associates all that the brand stands for with the larger perception of the celebrity. In this case, the brand derives from the mass market appeal enjoyed by Salman implying a comparable equity for this station as well.

  7. Himanshu...interesting observation. Am a hardcore radio listener...I listen to radio for around 2-3 hrs everyday while am on the move. It's not just big movie celebs...even stand up comedians, famous models also promote these stations.
    Such soundbites doesn't cost much and sometimes you even get them FOC if you associate them with the upcoming movie of the celebrity. Sometimes such soundbites also help in maintaining the image of celebs...for example pele have somewhat forgotten celebs like Juhi Chawla, Pooja Bhatt, Jackie Shroff, Govinda etc... but by such promos their image is refreshed in our mind. Their is much more to say..but this is all for now.

  8. Well written! Most often celebrities act as brand ambassadors and when we hear a celebrity on a radio we tend to identify a connection either with the station itself or with the next song. I agree with you that the radio stations can leverage this association to enhance the listener experience.

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