Review: WWFM Mumbai

I vividly remember making my way to Juhu Starbucks on a December afternoon as I was eagerly looking forward to interview Sarathy Korwar for Humans of Music. After a great in depth chat, he suggested if I would like to help him out with a WWFM Mumbai broadcast as he was quite keen on exploring the opportunity. Having met the team during my travels in London last year, there was no reason not to be a part of this and there were a lot of ideas exploding in my head.

With my skill set mainly being focused on organising tours, working with artists and now content; producing and co-ordinating a radio show felt refreshing and exciting as it was something I have never done before. In no time, things were already in motion, the London team was aligned on the plans and everyone was doing their bit and playing their respective roles to make it happen. With the original broadcast to be held on January 12th, we postponed the broadcast to January 30th so that Gilles Peterson could drive the show. As all of us were in Goa in the weekend before, we were all mentally prepared for the busy weekend ahead of us. I thought I would go a few days earlier to Goa, maybe have some down time and get some work done in a different environment. However, I was a bit too ambitious to book a flight immediately the next day after coming back from Nariyal Paani. If it were someone else, they would perhaps still make it because their ticket was booked, but I have a knack of spontaneously cancelling flight tickets instead of booking them and setting off. I was also vary about the fact if I should be in Goa right before the broadcast as I wanted to make sure everything was on point. But once the weekend approached closer, the fear of missing out kicked in and I ended up booking a rather expensive flight ticket for 2 nights. The money spent did hurt but my co-human of music, Nicky Ramnani convinced me that we would be billionaires! (I’m going to hold him to that statement)

Goa was surreal, colourful, buzzing, warm and everyone just seemed at ease and happy. Although on work mode, a lot of good music was heard and new friends were made and I left on a positive note eagerly looking forward to the next day. I woke up at 10 AM on Monday morning and made my way to Marine Drive as Gilles was put up in a hotel there, post which we were supposed to get some lunch. However lunch didn’t happen as he wanted to check out some Indian records and since I was really nervous, the only priority for me was to be at the studio to set everything up. So Kenneth Lobo who was interviewing him just before accompanied him while I made my way to studio. When I reached there, everything was already set up. Barely being able to understand the technical language I had my entire faith on the boys to do it as they wished. The main concern was testing the broadcast server and making sure the internet didn’t give up on us.

With half hour left to going LIVE, we entered in all the test server details however we kept getting an error statement. The panic levels rose up a bit as we were on the phone with Will from the technical team, trying to figure if something has gone wrong. But nothing had and the internet was perfectly fine which left us all confused. We re-entered all the details a couple of times after which luck came our way and we were successful in testing the server. In the mean time, Gilles & Kenneth reached the studio and were looking forward to playing some of the records purchased a few hours ago. We were 10 minutes away from going live when JJ stated, “What if the live server gives us the error statement as well?” We couldn’t really do anything about it as the server was timed, but at 5:30 PM sharp when we clicked on “Start Airing” we received an error statement. Not once. Not Twice. But it kept showing up. The tension built up and everyone was a bit frantic trying to find a way to fix this. Constantly being on a con-call with the London team we had a half hour extension to make this work. The universe was definitely on our side as at 6 PM sharp when we clicked on “Start Airing” we had a seamless 5.5 hour radio broadcast with no interruptions whatsoever.

I experienced an adrenaline rush as there was continuous multi-tasking with the team in the studio and the team in London as most of our communication was being done via a Facebook group. Every aspect of the show was looked into, support for socials to Parth Taco on live tracklisting, to co-ordinating the timings with everyone whose flight from Goa was delayed to transferring music from one pen drive to another & playing them with finally wrapping it up with some beers and food at a local bar. I think we were all schooled that evening as it was such a knowledgeable experience for all of us. With the Indian territory not being able to hear the broadcast live, we have the two part series of the entire radio show below so that you can experience what we did that evening 🙂

A massive thank to you to Thristian, The WWFM team, Sarathy Korwar, Cotton Press Studio, all our guests on the show, Denver Fernandes & Parth Taco for supporting this event. None of this would have been possible with the respective roles each one of us had to play and all I can say is roll on the next one!


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