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FRASIER, epitomizing the fallacy of radio as a medium for social healing, is one of my all time favourite TV shows. However, technology has now the power to render the humble FM radio a veritable social healing medium for the whole world!

FM stations, now available on line to a worldwide audience, can play a powerful role in social healing as this radio show from Dubai proves.

TV has revolutionised social interaction in communities on national levels through talk shows, reality shows, celebrity shows like X Factor and Oprah Winfry, mostly carried on the shoulders of their celebrity hosts.

Though these shows bring people together, around a common cause or interest, and have enormous entertainment value, their role in providing a reprieve for human pain and agony in day to day life is quite limited. At best, people watch them out of curiosity or boredom. Most TV shows do not leave something behind to lighten your burden, or give you the relief in opening up to someone!

Despite their enormous popularity, I will put down the lack of any healing power of TV shows to the missing one to one communication to a trusting friend, which is necessary for a sense of relief. Though shows like FRASIER have their moments of angst, in most TV shows the hosts and participants in the studios and at home communicate in an impersonal way, conscious of the millions of eye balls focussing on them from a critically inclined world.

On the other hand, radio is totally different and very effective in opening up human hearts, with direct and personal exchange, as agony aunts all over the world, in all languages have proved. However, the reach of such service was quite limited, only extending to the community in the reach of an FM station. Besides, social, cultural and legal hang ups, at least in the western world, prevented genuine communication.

With the advent of the Internet and on line transmission of real time shows, and with the medium of SMS and e mail to communicate, which lents the show to high levels of listener participation, the whole nature of radio and the role of the RJ has become much more powerful and effective in social healing, .

A genuinely caring RJ can get in to the deepest corners of human minds with soothing words and elicit the most secretly guarded talents to open up and get the listeners to express their pain, love, affection, and pangs of separation and loneliness, in wonderful snippets of poetry and verse. To the listeners,by a combination of timing, nostalgia and human need to empathise, it can become an addictive literary and emotional experience of a new genre.

GRAMAPHONE, a Dubai FM radio show by Shalu Faisal, in Malayalam language is an example.

What started as a FM broadcast for the local malayalee expatriates has become a powerful attraction for an international expatriate community of listeners.

You can tune in to to GRAMOPHONE between 10 and 12 PM Dubai time or lisyen to a recorded version here.

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