Ready for the box, idiot?

If you are in the habit of reading even small news items, which are published based on the highest journalistic standard of being able to fit in the newsprint space available rather than be of any redeeming information value, you would have known that the government is set to give permission to 150 more television channels to go on air, and 450 applications for new channels are pending with it. 450 + 150, added to the existing 140 odd channels, make it well around 900 channels. Or is it 1000?

What does this mean? Well, it means that I don’t know even simple mathematics. No, the point is there are so many satellites up there in the sky that the sun and the moon may soon be obscured out of view from the earth. However, with so many channels aggressively vying for viewership, humankind may even get to the point of forgetting that there is an atmosphere outside.

But you bet, soon there will not be even one person in the country who would have watched any one programme on any one channel in full. That is the beauty of remote controls. They sure seem to send some invisible rays that make people to believe that the channel that they are not watching will actually have something interesting.

Why do we need so many more channels? Will there be viewers for all of them? Is it not a fact that the thriving evening party culture has come about in every city only because people have become mortally terrified to return to their homes where they inevitably have to watch TV programmes that involve serials running since previous birth and breaking-news events such as the sun rising in the east ?

Rather than waste your time trying to answer these questions, you must ponder over the query as to what are required to start a TV channel. For, who knows a time may come when transponders and satellites to host TV channels are offered with every packet of, say, coffee powder that is purchased. Such tempting offers obviously cannot be declined as most of us cannot start the day without the strong dose of coffee.

Here goes some critical and insightful knowledge on channels that you will never need

Music channels

Music channels, as the very name suggests, are all about talking. Such channels hire talented hosts and hostess who have the uncanny knack of carrying on conversations with random people in sentences that don’t contain even a molecule of intelligence. For instance, if a person calls in and introduces himself as, say, Mahesh, the typical response of the person helming the show must be ‘sollunga Mahesh, unga Peyar enna’? This question must immediately be followed by, even when the caller has rung in to say that there is a tsunami approaching the city, ‘aprum, life eppadi poikittu irukku’.

This is a tactical approach and helps to create an infectious ambience of all-pervasive stupidity that the viewer ends up sending romantic text messages meant for his or her spouse to the channel. It never even once occurs to music channel-watchers that they can straightaway text message the person, who at any event will be sitting nearby. Music-channel watchers send sms on screen with heart-tugging messages including ‘I love my husband: Malini’ and ‘Rajesh loves Raji: Rajesh’. Such viewers usually ask for songs that music directors have taken special efforts the inherent mediocrity.

Inside information: Music channel files are full of such egregious songs in which it is difficult to say which is worse, the lyrics or the music or the performance. But, usually, in this competition, the channel wins.

News Channels

This is a highly competitive field involving experts and doyens who after years and years of covering important and earth-shattering events have managed to master the art of the person seemingly speaking with his bottom on fire. Reporters, even if they are conveying details about the colour of the Prime Minister’s turban, have to summon the seriousness and breathlessness of the person being wheeled into the ICU.

Primarily, there are two set of people involved here —– the studio hosts and the reporter on the spot. Studio hosts are chosen for their canny ability to wear burgundy or scarlet ties without looking even a tad embarrassed. Reporters can be identified by their skill to answer in words that have no connection with the questions asked. The other chief virtue of reporters and hosts is to shamelessly fawn in front of celebrity guests.

On days when reporters also show  the courage to sport ties of such surpassing hideousness they are immediately herded into studios to hold forth on issues in such elaboration that the viewers immediately take medication to contract terminal amnesia. The most recent example being the nuclear deal with the US. The issue has been so throughly and exhaustively analysed that there is not even a single individual, and this includes the scientists concerned too, who understand what the kerfuffle is all about.

Business news channels are different from general news channels in that you have scrolls of random numbers slithering across the screen with snakish indifference. In general, the numbers could be decimal points of pi=3.147653954893093863553. The numbers are scrolled across based on the irrefutable market information which says that those involved in the business of shares have far better and more accurate access to stock prices (as they are the ones involved in it).

Inside Information: The person with the heaviest work is the guy in charge of getting the scroll ‘breaking news’ run. He is not even given his weekly off and has been working non-stop since the Narasimha Rao era.

Sports channels

Sports channels are those channels that allow you to enjoy non-stop, adrenaline-inducing action of ads and other commercials while tactfully and philosophically conveying the larger social message that all sporting activity is basically irrelevant to the seriousness of everyday life.

In the case if you are still thirsting to see some sporting action, you are better off looking up to DD Sports which is still showing the 1958 Summer  Olympics live unmindful of the fact there was no summer Olympics that year.

Inside Information: Ravi Shastri continues to work for Ten Sports by the simple expedient of being employed with another channel. Ten Sports has reciprocated the courtesy and helped other channels to be in business, by roping in Arun Lal.

General channels

This is the most competitive of all sections and only those who, even if they are MBA graduates from the IIMs, manage to retain the intelligence of pre-KG days can get to work in this segment.

Inside information: Author of Crank’s Corner, with his known aversion to intelligence,  will do well here.