Remembering a heavenly radio station—worldspace

They say all good things come to an end , and this is exactly what happened to worldspace radio in India two years ago .

After the American company suddenly filed for bankruptcy the radio station services abruptly went silent on 31 Dec 2009 sending hard core fans like me into a silent depression .

I remained a worldspace listener for eight years . There were times when the radio remained on in my house
and work place during my entire waking hours .

An overwhelming 96 per cent of the listeners , almost half a million were in India where it was booming till the end before it went defunct .

Worldspace was unique , no advertisements , 24 hour service , 40 channels (stations) from old hindi film songs Farishta channel to Riff channel which played the best jazz in the world .

The list of stations was long , western country music , western and hindustani classical music , urdu ghazals to spiritual and yoga discourses , hard rock , BBC news to regional language channels .

Besides , the high quality , the best thing about worldspace was that there were no advertisements as it was funded by subscriptions , making it unique in today’s world .

Compare this with today’s FM radio stations which have come up all over India .

But believe me if you’ve been a wordspace fan the difference between worldspace and any FM station was like living in heaven and on earth . For music lovers the world seemed heaven like with worldspace streaming music .

Am surprised in the last two years nobody has tried to buy the company and relaunch it . Although of late there is some talk of reviving and relaunching it , but not on the old traditional worldspace radio sets with a satellite antenna but —— on mobile phones now .

But I suspect even if worldspace is relaunched some day it will never be the same again . The worldspace which shut down two years ago was too good to be real .

A new version would most likely be a diluted form of the original one . I only hope the revived wordspace doesn’t sound like any loud , cheap and grossly commercial FM radio station —— instead I would rather remember the worldspace of old and live with that memory !

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.

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4 Comments

  1. says: PradeepRana

    Your anguish is understandable. Insteard talking whys and wherefores, expecting someone else to set things right — my question is — can we buy it? If we can, yea, why not, it can be bonus asset yo Hill Post — with 100% in our command.

  2. says: Lance Shiells

    There are a few stations still being broadcast ,SGH , IndAudio 1 and 2 ….more to come I hope.
    It was a great medium, sadly missed

  3. says: C S Padmanabhan

    Oh! How I miss my Worldspace even today? Any chance of it reborn again? I still hold my set with fond hope.

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