It has been reported that today’s Mingguan Malaysia [23.11.2011] in its supplement “Pancaindera” carried the news entitled “Radio Muzik Akhirnya berkubur” [Radio Music to close down]. On another page the same supplement also featured three former announcers defending the existence of the network under the titled “Pertahan Muzik FM” [Defending Music FM].
I am not surprised at the reactions of the three former announcers and many former RTM’s radio staff who are quite sentimental about their Alma matter. I don’t think they are familiar with the historical fact of the existence of the nearly four decades old network operating beside the other radio networks of RTM. It may be an old network with popular support but RTM cannot afford to have parallel networks working on the same format competing for almost the same audience.
RTM has been operating various networks nationwide as well as on regional and local basis. Lately Muzik FM has been the leader in audience rating among the RTM networks surpassing the ever popular and the mainstay of the national broadcaster radio network “Kelasik Nasional”. The irony of it is that the two networks have been competing for the same audience with almost the same format of programming. The redundancy is quite obvious. If I am the owner of the station, I definitely will have to sacrifice the lesser of the “influential” network in order to maintain the position of my mainstay.
Having said that I feel RTM must have something else in mind to replace the network to be closed down. As a follower of radio broadcasting I find RTM has failed in its effort to disseminate news and information to the populace as part of its objective. I have a feeling the next step would be to have a special network carrying news and information only, the like of BBC, ABC, and VOA etc.
I would like to dwell on the metamorphosis of radio broadcasting over RTM. Initially there were four networks working side by side conforming to the racial divide of the country, Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. Being the national language the Malay broadcast was expanded in its daily duration till it went round the clock. Then there was the need to have the regional and local broadcasts. As broadcasting technology improves there was a need to introduce “Stereo”. This was the time when Radio Music came into existence purely for music lovers. Initially its broadcast was concentrating on good and fine music. It was banded on the hourly basis carrying the western classic, evergreen, local music and various others. As the years went by this original format was forgotten. When the commercial radios came the format was totally abandon and the present format was introduced.
Interestingly at the same time the commercial radios went on the air the national broadcaster felt the pinch of its listeners being taken away by its “rival”. There was a harried need of changing its format to meet the “challenge” but it didn’t work as the “rivals” were more youthful and raunchy in their presentation.
It was at this time that there was a change of guard at the ministerial level in the ministry of information. As usual new personality would introduce new idea and concept. It was Tan Sri Zainuddin Mydin [better known as ZAM] who revamped the Malay broadcast, the national network known as Rangkaian Nasional at one time. Originally a classical Malay network was introduced known as RIMA but there was lack of transmitter to carry its broadcast nationwide. For the patriotic it was a welcome event. In order to go nationwide the network was incorporated into the Rangkaian Nasional to be known as “Klasik National”. Changes were made to its format and presentation. Many of the popular programmes such as Drama, Rural and Development and others were dropped, leaving the network with presentation of songs and music, especially the yesteryears. This did not merit popularity among the young. Hence, the dropped in its popularity ratings.
Looking at the role of the both Kelasik Nasioanl and Muzik FM the redundancy was clear. So it’s not a surprise should the power that be in Angkasapuri decided to forego the existence of Muzik FM.
It is time that a new network be introduced to carry the news and information similar to that of BBC. I am not surprised if this new network will incorporate the Bernama Radio 24 which has the element of such radio. After all Radio 24 need the transmitters to go nationwide.
We can say goodbye to Muzik FM.