Over & Over Again: A Radio Tale

by Nur Azureen binti Effendi

Advances in technology have given the youth more ways in access an increasing amount of information. Local and international news can be read in the newspaper, listened to on radio, watched on television and found on smartphones or online. For those with access to these options, a wealth of information and entertainment is always readily available. In areas where access to technology is expensive, radio continues to play an important role in information sharing.

Radio broadcasts can provide information and entertainment broadcasted 24 hours a day to provide the most recent updates about news or something entertainment related to listeners. Essentially, radio is virtually everywhere at any time of the day. It is very handy, easily accessible, cheap and it is a perfect portable information that is accessible at home, in the office or in the car. 

However, there are loads of grumble regarding radio station in Malaysia such as “why radio stations keep playing the same song over and over again?”, “why does most radio stations have a morning show?”, “why radio stations need a feedback from caller about the topic?” (Khasim, 2019). Those questions have answered by one of the former radio announcer named Nadia Nazir at her Twitter account.

Radio stations in Malaysia have pattern program which means radio station contain morning show, afternoon show, evening show and night show. This program is using music with a wide audience appeal and with an emphasis on the presentation of the announcers (Francois, Douglas , & Guillaume , 2009). Besides that, Astro radio introduced format radio into stations. The idea of having format radio is to cater the age of groups. Mature content and 90’s music with entertaining announcers, listeners would tune to Sinar and Mix. On the other hand, radio station such as Era, Hitz and FlyFM are suitable for younger generation.

Since people are enjoying with familiarity, this is the reason why radio format was introduced. It is easier for radio listeners to choose as all radio stations fall under different categories.   All radio stations have their own ways of targeting to private niche populations with niche content. Radio format refers to the overall content of a radio station and therefore it will prevent confused or mixed with programming. For instance, while a radio which plays fresh popular music for teens another which on air more news and talk content. The format gives an identity to the radio station and it is use as a marketing tool for the radio company through its audience and advertising market.

However, people may see complain on social media about the high repetition of songs, announcers keep on talking for minutes and they stated tuning to other radio. The truth is, every radio station has their own formula and already have their own target audience. Whenever you feel uncomfortable, do not like the music, do not like the repetition, that means you are tuning to wrong radio. The slogan “customer is always right” can apply to the radio as well because listener is king to your own ear. Whichever your choice is, you may tune to other radio station to suit your feeling. Radio stations do not just put anything on air because they feel like it. They do it because people want it.

The repetition of songs may give you feel bored, then again, this group of people are niche. The format of radio stations has large listenership as the formula works. In Malaysia, there were radio stations that play indie songs or random songs nevertheless, those radio stations did not last very long. It shows that some people may like indie and random genre, but the mass do not enjoy it. Malaysia is a small country as well as the entertainment industry itself, having 100000 listeners on radio will not bring in the advertisers which is the main way radio generates revenue.

Moreover, the most complain radio stations get from social media user is about announcers’ ramble to talk for two to three minutes. According to (Setiowati, 2018), the announcers play an important role as to reached wide listeners and to ensure content of the program present fresh ideas and not predictable. In fact, the announcers able in creating a consistent style which means they regulates the tone of the program by his/her individual approach to the listener.

Radio is a medium to reaching the public and it is immediate reaction. It is the modern equivalent to the village story-teller. Through words, sounds and human voice, radio talks to the listeners directly. Although it sounds like easy to reach the audience, need to have skills and strategies to make sure listeners not tuning to other station. One of the ways practiced by the radio stations to give freshness and newness to listeners and keep them tuned into their stations by hiring famous celebrities to handle the program. For example, Era.je hiring Johan, Sinar radio hiring Jep Sepahtu, Hot FM hiring Shuib Sepahtu and all of them are famous comedian in Malaysia. The question here, whether radio stations use celebrities for morning shows to ensure listeners become loyal to the radio station.

From the research held by (Setiowati, 2018), it is proved that the use of famous celebrities as radio announcer able to reach listeners. The celebrities have their own fans and followers thus, the listeners tune to the radio station is because of they want to listen and support their favourite celebrity. Other than that, radio listening habits of most people are when they leave or return to work or other activities. They used to listen to the radio in the car as of traffic density that makes them need more time in vehicle. Morning drive or morning show usually provide some chats and jokes to cheer up their listeners that is still sleepy while they have to go to their schools, campuses, or works. Theoretically, whether a station using celebrities to host the morning show, they must plan a consistent content of the program. A consistency in programming will form a positioning about the station in the minds of listeners.


Francois, M., Douglas , E., & Guillaume , D. (2009). Streerable Playlist Generation By Learning Song Similarity From Radio Station Playlist. 10th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference.

Khasim, R. (2019, March). Radio Market Structure and Music Diversity. (N. A. Effendi, Interviewer)

Setiowati, E. (2018). The Pattern Program of The Morning Radio Sequence: Study of Four Major Stations in Jakarta. KnE Social Sciences.