Gaga over radio

Gaga over radio
Kiss 92 DJ John Klass.

Like many people here, technical trainer Marc Alexander Gurusamy has a smartphone with constant Internet access but he still tunes in to local radio stations for his music, entertainment and information fix.

He tells Life! that he listens to a lot more radio today than he did in the last decade.

"When I was in school, I didn't really listen to much radio because I was always plugged into my Discman. These days, the radio is always on whenever I'm in my car and whenever I spend my weekends at home," says the 24-year-old.

The fan of SPH Radio stations Hot FM91.3 and Kiss92FM adds that nothing beats local radio as he likes to hear the jocks talk and make jokes about local issues.

"Of course, I can easily tune in to overseas radio stations through the Internet, but the DJs probably won't be talking about stuff that's happening here in Singapore, unlike the local DJs."

Tax manager Alicia Tan, 39, bookends her weekdays with the radio.

"I use it as an alarm clock when I get up every day at 6am. It's on when my family and I are getting ready for school and work, and we listen to the radio in the car as I take my kids to school and then head to the office. After I return home, I leave it on in the background from 10pm until I go to sleep around midnight."

Tan, who usually tunes in to Mandarin station UFM 100.3, says that radio is also an educational tool for her children to brush up on the language.

In this age of free music on demand from the Internet, ubiquitous social media and a 24/7 news cycle, a radio - whose technology is more than 100 years old - is still going on strong.

The top stations in the four official languages - Kiss92FM, Class 95, Y.E.S. 93.3FM, Warna 94.2FM and Oli 96.8FM - attract a total of 2.335 million listeners weekly, according to the latest Nielsen radio survey results released on June 18.

Moreover, the total number of listeners for all stations has increased from 3.731 million last year to 3.761 million this year.

The same survey reported that professionals, managers, executives and businessmen (PMEBs) such as Mr Gurusamy and Ms Tan make up the largest demographic here that listen to radio - 31 per cent.

Many like them tune in from their vehicles while they are on the road for real-time traffic information as well as entertainment on the move.

Housewives such as Ms Emily Neo, 47, make up 15 per cent of the listeners. The mother of a boy, 15, and a girl, 11, tells Life! that she tunes in while she is doing household chores at home as well as when she gets in the car to drive her children to and from school.

"My kids tell me, 'Mummy, we can download the songs that you like for you.' But I tell them I prefer to listen to the radio. It's a habit that I've had since I myself was a child listening to Rediffusion," she says, referring to Singapore's first cable-transmitted commercial radio station that started in 1949.

As Internet-savvy as the current generation of students are, they still make up 12 per cent of radio listeners.

Like Ms Tan, secondary school student Farzaana Suliman, 15, uses radio as an alarm clock to get her up in the morning. It stays on for an hour while she gets ready to go to school, and she tunes in again for about two hours in the evenings before she goes to sleep.

"When I go online, I can get any song that I want but I still listen to the radio because I like to hear the DJs talk about a song before they play it," says Farzaana, who listens to contemporary top 40 stations 987FM and Hot FM91.3.

Polytechnic student Shetal Sharmane Giri, 21, says she is the odd one out among her peers because she still listens to the radio while they turn to online sources for music.

"I'd say that I'm not listening to as much radio as I used to in my teenage years, but I still love listening to The Muttons on 987FM because they are so funny and the station plays the songs that are currently popular. And I like listening to Class 95FM because they have a nice mix of the old school and new songs."

The Muttons, comprising DJs Justin Ang and Vernon A, are behind Muttons On The Move, a show that airs weekdays from 4 to 8pm.

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