The radio station helped reunite several people separated from their families during the devastating floods
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | September 24, 2014
Since the time private FM radio stations mushroomed across the length and breadth of the country, detractors have had more than one reason to dismiss it as yet another entertainment platform that is all gloss and no glory.
But young Gul and Manasha will always remember radio as that uncredited sidekick which played a pivotal role in their lives. Stuck in the devastating floods of Jammu & Kashmir, when Manasha got separated from her younger sister Gul and her family, she found an unlikely saviour in the team of Fever 104 FM. Their whereabouts were relayed to the Western Air Command PRO by the radio station, and, in a few hours, Manasha was reunited with her family.
The story of Gul and Manasha is a testimony that when a radio station decides to swim against the current and do what is intrinsic to its DNA – be a medium of mass communication – it brings about a change that was not fathomed, even by the most dedicated loyalists of the medium.
The devastating floods in Jammu & Kashmir have resulted in colossal loss of life and property, but have also led to the rise of an unlikely hero: the radio. Setting a precedence of its own, Fever FM has been in the thick of the uninterrupted rescue operations, constantly trying to keep the hapless relatives connected with the victims, providing whereabouts of those who needed rescue and help, and inspiring 'Dilli ki aam janta' to contribute their bit towards the rescue and rehabilitation operations.
On the morning of September 8, Delhi woke up to Fever 104's call, ‘Jammu Kashmir mein bachane ke liye jaan, poora India laga raha hai apni pehchaan’. Dilliwaalas are known to use their pehchaan (contacts) to get their work done. This time, Delhi opened its heart to give contacts to save lives during the floods. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response and involvement of its listeners, the station charted a never-before role and responsibility of commercial radio during such distressing times.
Speaking about the proactive role that the station played in the rescue and rehabilitation process, RJ Abhilash of ‘Dilli ke DO Dabangg’ fame, said, "We were inundated with calls from hapless relatives who wanted to trace their loved ones stranded in the floods. Within a few hours of starting the campaign, we had an extensive list of ‘pehchaan’ that helped us get the survivors rescued. While other channels of communication were down in the state, we managed to get first-hand information about the affected areas, receding water lines and rehabilitation operations from authorities and volunteers on ground zero. We were also constantly relaying this information to our listeners and keeping them updated. We believe, more than anything, it was the constant flow of positive information that soothed the nerves of those whose loved ones were trapped in the region."
The station was also actively involved in providing information about the survivors to the rescue operators. The Indian Army as well as the Western Air Command were receptive and encouraging, and acted immediately on the lead provided by the station's backend team led by Siddharth Gandotra.
The radio channel was also instrumental in bringing several celebrities on board to spread the word. Harbhajan Singh, Javed Ali, John Abraham, Kunal Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Sonu Nigam, Salim Merchant and Shradha Kapoor championed the cause and brought in support from across the country through their social networks. The all-India reach of the campaign was leveraged to optimise the rehabilitation operations. Over 20 families have already called up the station to express their gratitude for saving their lives.
Fever 104 FM has also gone a step ahead and is now concentrating its efforts on providing support towards a holistic rehabilitation of those who survived. From being the No 1 station in Delhi to being a change agent, Fever FM has taken the road less travelled.