Date:06/01/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2007/01/06/stories/2007010601930100.htm
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Internet radio for you

A group of young IT professionals from the city have launched the first free Malayalam Internet radio. JAYA SMITHA MENON catches up with the group and learns more about radio's new avatar

PHOTO: H.VIBHU

TECHNO MUSICAL Some of those behind Radio Dum Dum: Jaya Surya, Anil Johnson, Joseph N.L., Robin Antony, Joseph Antony and Harison Faraira

Radio is no longer what it used to be. From AM, FM, satellite radio, it is Internet radio now. And the mastermind behind the first free-to-use Malayalam Internet radio is a Kochiite, Joseph N. L.

And Malayalis across the world can now enjoy the `desi' spread, thanks to Radio Dum Dum, the world's first 24/7 free to use internet Malayalam radio. Live music, song dedication, Malayalam news, talk shows, it has all that a local radio network offers. Radio Dum Dum can be downloaded on to your mobile phone.

IT professionals

Backing Joseph is a group of technocrats from the city who have combined radio and cyberspace to create this new global gateway. "It all started during an evening discussion with my friends," says Joseph. "We, a group of eight IT professionals who have been together from high school, grew up together and started an advertising agency called Digital 8. We are basically into ad film making for the past seven years have done ads for major retail houses in the city. Internet radio was something we thought during one of our regular meetings," adds Joseph.

Radio Dum Dum was started as a creative pastime for these young technocrats who wanted to create a non-stop virtual music station. Most of the web portals that play music lacked sound quality and also required a lot of bandwidth to play the music. "We thought of trying out something new in this area, something that would require very little bandwidth. That was how we struck upon the idea of Internet radio," explains Joseph. The media player of this radio is unique. One need not go to the site to play it each time. Once downloaded it can be played directly on to the computer, provided one has logged on to the Net. Robin Antony, has done the visual side of Radio Dum Dum. It requires only a low bandwidth and can be played even on a dial up connection.

In a very short time Radio Dum Dum has become very popular among NRIs across the world. Harrison Fariara, who looks into the marketing side, has a unique marketing perspective. Initially they sent the links of the radio to their friends who passed it on to others and this process continued. "The NRIs were the first to respond and it was encouraging. We began getting regular requests for songs to be played through our radio," informs Joseph. This response encouraged them to launch the song dedication programme, in the listener's own voice through Skype, a free PC-to-PC calling software. "Each day we get around 50-100 requests," says Joseph. Yet another unique idea of Radio Dum Dum is receiving requests through chat rooms. Every evening, from 9 to 10, Radio Dum Dum is there in all major chatrooms through which anyone can dedicate or request a song. Retail jewellery and textile houses in the State began advertising their ware through this radio.

"This money is used to maintain the servers and the PCs involved. The members of our group who spend about 30 per cent of their time everyday for Radio Dum Dum do the rest of the work. Robin himself handles the four-hour long live programmes everyday," says Joseph. "It is so nice to listen to Malayalam songs while you are travelling. What makes Radio Dum Dum different is the clarity and quality of sound," says Renuka, an IT professionalThe newfangled idea of these young ad professionals is fast turning into a full time business option. "Radio Dum Dum is growing very popular. We are getting more and more listeners. This means new demands and so we now have to think of new programmes," says Joseph.

A new office with a full-fledged studio is coming up in the city. The radio now functions from the office of Digital8 on Krishnaswami Road. Many programmes, like talk shows are being planned Programmes with radio jockeys are also on the agenda.

Radio Dum Dum and its creators are all set to rock the coming year. They have miles and miles to go and many milestones to achieve.

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