Q1: Radio has always been the cheapest and most effective form of communication through the history. Even in the most modern of times like today, the importance of radio as a source of education and information to the masses cannot be neglected. Major revolutions like the Green Revolution (in agriculture) in India and Pakistan in the 1960s and the White Revolution (in dairy sector) in China have all been possible through broadcast medium of radio.
Enough said about the importance as a medium of communication, its availability and its cost effectiveness, the radio has turned into a popular forum of public dialogue and engagement in the recent times. Guests relating different professional backgrounds are invited and the public can avail their expertise. Similarly, important social and political issues are also discussed on radios and the discussion is public and within reach of every commoner i.e. everyone can and has the right to broadcast his/her opinion just by calling up a show. Public empowerment and strengthening of democracy is also another outcome of the radio as a “forum for public dialogue.”
This has led the masses to become politically groomed, they have come to know of their rights and that the representatives that they choose are answerable to them. Development support communication campaigns avail media like radio to the best of their interest. Uneducated masses have on numerous occasions like the polio-awareness campaign, azad-kashmir earthquake and other occasions been educated about the importance of hygiene and other related things.
The two different shows that I have chosen for my discussion are the “Fasi Zaka Show,” and the “Dada Potaa Show.” The former is aired on FM91 and 10pm-12am ( Monday-Wednesday) and the latter is aired now on FM 106.6 and earlier on FM 98.6, weekdays, from 9-11am.
Fasi Zaka Show is an entertainment program that is aired from the Islamabad studio of FM91. The host is one of the icons of the modern urban youth which is why he enjoys much popularity apart from being an RJ as well. This also attracts a large fan following to his show. The show is such in which the host asks some casual and youth-related questions to the audience to which the callers respond by their calls. The questions are regarding social and political issues in which the host being the anchor, does not let go any opportunity to add fun and spice up his show with his comments on people’s responses and their sms. Keeping in view the timings of the show, only the people specially interested in listening to the host are awake at the time, as compared to other shows in which people going home from work or vice versa listen to radio for passing time. This happens to be the youth of Islamabad mostly. The callers and those messaging mostly belong to Islamabad and posh areas of the country.
The questions proposed are mostly relating to the liberal class of the society i.e. issues like the romantic lives and its aspects are put forth as topics of discussion mostly. The commentary and the discussion that takes off from these topics too, is one in which very extrovert people manage to express their views and share their experiences on air. Fasi Zaka, the host, like all other famous RJs has a magnetic voice and the rise and fall is such as to grip the listener to his show. The proof of this is the title of the “most famous show in Pakistan” that it got in the recent past. The message of the show is not clear whatsoever. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the show does not have a message at all. The show is a good past time, but the two hours of the show do not really have an agenda or message set prior to the show. The host improvises and moves with the flow once the initial decided topic has been put forth to the listeners. The show is also quite active on its social media pages where the listeners give their feedback regarding the show. The background music is mostly western music and the language is mostly casual, rarely taking an indecent angle. Overall, the show is quite a hit among the youth who find it convenient to discuss their personal lives with like minded people who happen to be listening and contributing to the show as well.
Dada pota show is a different kind of show as compared to the former mentioned with respect to the content and many other aspects. The co-host is a young man who asks questions to an elderly iconic personality known as “dada ji,” who is also the main reason for the popularity of the show. Talking briefly about the hosts and the programs, the program is not purely an entertainment program. The co-host and the elderly “Dada Ji” are in fact quite learned and active in the economic sector, contrary to the
stereotypes. They are aware of all sorts of investments going on the stock exchanges, the rises and the falls, all sorts of banking information and other relevant information. Other than that, Dada Ji being and elderly figure, gets warm appreciation and the listener even if not interested in the economics, loves listening to the anecdotes and stories and his amicable style of speaking.
This show as compared to the previous one, attracts all kinds of listeners: old, young, male, females and even housewives; investors, bankers, industrialists etc. This partly is due to the format and content of the show, as it appeals to every age and everyone wants to listen to lovely talk of dada ji.
As mentioned earlier, the content is clearly and carefully decided and the personal and professional lives of the hosts is put forth the listeners. The callers and those who text can also directly talk to Dada ji and ask them questions. Songs are played after long breaks, but one does not feel the urge for the host to announce another song, as the hosts’ discussion is quite informative and interesting. The back ground music is lively and chosen as suited to the theme of the show.
The voice quality again, like all famous RJs, is very distinguishing and loved by many and the language is standard Urdu and not casual or englsih/urdu mix like the Fasi Zaka Show. The timing of the show during Ramazan was from 4:30-Iftar time so the listenership was quite large as people going home from workplaces, women preparing Iftar would listen to their favorite show. Other than that, the show was carefully designed keeping the Ramazan-element in mind and the content was shaped in such a manner to educate people religiously as well. The show, due its availability online, is not only a hit in Pakistan, but also listened to all over the world, including the middle east, US, UK, Canada and South Africa.
Other than , being a media analyst one must not neglect the effect the modern radio environment is having on the youth as topics which would never have been discussed otherwise, are not only discussed, but discussed publicly on radio giving them acceptance in the society, which otherwise are not socially accepted. Other than that radio shows are a source of corruption of language, slang bilingual and casual style of RJs may sound “cool” but in fact mutilates the years of development of language base, set by the teachers.
The two shows, being two of the most favorite shows among the Pakistani Radio shows, are a good past time and a source of constructive knowledge as well. Excluding a few exceptions, nothing constructive is being aired on our radio channels. Pakistani radio channels CAN achieve a lot more than just entertainment – that too without any filtration of language and content- if it is given a proper face, a proper shape, and the focus is also on information rather than just on entertainment and only entertainment.
Q2: The shows that I have chosen for my analysis are the following: Nadia Khan show aired on GEO, and Omer Sharif Show also on GEO TV. Both belong to the Entertainment genre of TV production.
The Nadia Khan show(NKS) and the Omer sharif show(OSS) though belong to the same genre, have quite a many characteristics that differ from each other which ultimately end up changing the whole theme of the show.
Quality of production
Quality of production can be determined analyzing the show as per two things, its editorial aspect(the content) and the technological aspect(the technology used). NKS similar to the OSS, is a celebrity based entertainment show, in which Nadia Khan hosts the show. The followership and viewership is due to the HOST in both cases, Omer Sharif being the other celebrity. NKS show looks into the lives of its guests in a more friendlier, cozier way as compared to OSS where the host mocks, taunts and converses in a fun style, adding to the fun side of their lives. Both use more or less the same technological set up and the quality of production is pretty much the same. Both are two of the most famous shows in Pakistan and that they owe to the years of hard work and the popularity the hosts have achieved in their careers.
The set of the Nadia Khan Show is similar to the theme of the show. The colours are bright, lively and very attractive as are the costumes(Dress) of the host. OSS has a black background with lights focused on the guests and the host. The set too is black and the guests are in the spotlight from back as well as the front. This tends to show that the focus is primarily of the guests and the hosts, i.e. what they are talking about, and not on anything else. The dresses of the host are formal i.e. tie and jacket, giving the whole ambience a formal look. The camera used in the NKS are 5: one track, one master-shot camera, and one each on the guests and the host in a mid-shot manner. Whereas the OSS has one additional camera as compared to the NKS, that is the jib. The voice quality again is very sound and helps attract the viewer.
The NKS is a very polite and lively show in which guests tend to enjoy as much as the viewers do. The guests are not asked personal questions to the level of irritation whereas the OSS does somewhat do that. The guests in OSS sometimes tend to become uncomfortable, moving about their seats, fidgeting etc trying to get comfy due to the direct and sometimes offensive remarks of the host. But then again, this very trait is the uniqueness of the OSS, and people who like watching it do it because of this distinctive trait. Having said that, there have not been any on-the-record protests against the OSS, people have different personal likings and some tend to like the humor of Mr Omar Sharif and some not. It is their right.
The OSS uses lots of tidbits every now and then in form of video clips, songs, pictures and other things during the interviews to add to the comedy of the show. The NKS also uses different techniques in representing media to the add to the effectiveness of the show. Both shows are similar to each other in many aspects of production, technically and technologically and also differing in many ways, as mentioned in the next sub-heading.
Overall contribution to society & culture(Role in awareness, education and capacity building of citizens)
Both the shows are entertainment shows and may not directly affect the thinking and level of awareness, education and capacity building of citizens. But yes, as discussed earlier, the media is always shaping the priorities, liking/disliking of the viewers consciously/subconsciously, and so is the reality in this case. The basic contribution of these shows is that both of them add to the fun and lighter side of its viewers. People of Pakistan who have not much to enjoy keeping all the hardships in mind, tend to enjoy watching their favorite shows and have a good laugh now and then. So far as the “contribution to culture” is concerned, the two shows differ a little.
The NKS is always advocating women empowerment and women rights. For example asking such questions to married women about how they “control their husbands” and other stuff which are contrary to the basic eastern culture of Pakistan. People who tend to love and authenticate everything that their favourite host says, may and in majority of the cases do tend to absorb the idea subconsciously and make different conclusions regarding it. This change however is not limited to only one show and does not come over night, but through repetitive dosage of information and opinion. In this regard, the NKS is in conflict with basic culture of Pakistan. Having said that, many of the viewers tend to like the show for this very reason. People(women) who have been suppressed in their lives, may tend to like a bold and “liberal” thinking about their rights.
The OSS on the other hand tends to sow a specific style of humor in the viewers’ minds. The mockery, taunting and “jugat” style of humor, which is common in the people of Pakistan, is propagated. Then again, having said that, this very trait again is the reason for liking of the show by the majority. So in this way, the OSS can be said to adding or not adding to the “culture”, it is a matter of opinion. Both shows have nothing to do with the “education” of the people, but awareness and capacity building, are somewhat part of the both the selected shows for analysis. Exposure, awareness and capacity building is achieved when you meet different people, get to know about their lives etc. and these entertainment shows provide an ample opportunity to people who are observant to study and get to know the different lives, mind-sets of the people belonging to different social, professional and cultural backgrounds.