Thanks for such a detailed explaination, @myfriend. You know, when I reading these lines from you guys, I’m instantly sober, because, growing up in an radio environment where it’s exclusively state domain (there’s only two types of radio stations there, VOV (national/state radio of Vietnam) or local government-owned services), I often feel carefree because people working inside radio industry there don’t care or having no knowledge of whatever “playlist” is - for them, local radio is bringing latest and detailed information and public affairs (some of you may think it’s propaganda), as well as “magazines” targeted at each specialized topics of your daily living, such as labor, rural, etc. as well as random music that may ranged from folklore/traditional/red music to the best Vietnamese and international music of the very past to present day, in a very soft tone, and people just want to entertain people (who mostly can be classified as boomer), don’t care much about what is playlist or rotation or something.
VOV mostly provides highbrow programming - VOV-1 is news/information/public affairs, VOV-2 is culture and education, VOV-3 FM is classical/serious/folklore music. We don’t have much stuff to be looks like westernised commercial radio services, but I think the closet we have is VOV-Traffic 91FM, a commercially-funded network that broadcasting a hybrid format of rolling traffic during drivetime, and soft ac/oldies/folklore outside these times, targeting middle-aged drivers. I often listen to 91 rather than Spotify (which I hate to register) because it has a “love songs” block at half past midday where they would play soft ac music of today but sometimes rare vietnamese popular music of 70s/80s/90s to relax listeners, and during primetime and night they always reading letters and asking listeners to call to talk and confess about random things in your life, as well as requesting music and let the presenters sharing feeling about their life and choosing a song that the presenters love. Quite a variant of community radio i guess…
Many Vietnamese have complained about radio in Vietnam because it sounds boring and not quite well imaged, and they hope it has Western-type imaging to feel slick and polished, even taking examples that people can choose a variety of format to choose with, etc. But still, I feel like that Vietnamese presenters have tried their best to be closer to listeners as possible, and while some calls for real “rating” focus because it cannot be measured by the “loyalty” on how many letters sent to the program, I just feel like if they keep the charm longer… as it may resemble the good times of radio in Aussie (before 1990s, i guess).
The only radio service in Vietnam that may sound closet to Western-type radio service is Xone FM, a CHR-formatted radio service that once shared airtime with VOV-3 FM (imagine Triple J have to share airtime with Classic FM, and you get the idea). However, since their FM coverage reduced drastically following the switch to the much smaller 89FM network, and acquisition by Zing, it has gone downhill: previously it’s a roster of hosts with a lot of different shows from VN20 (Vietnamese hit), Asia Xone (Asian hit), HitXone (International hit), DJXone (EDM), MyShow (call-in with someone to create your “own” playlist for an hour), etc. Now it’s just mostly automated music with very few hosts. That’s why I switched to 91FM, even if Xone is what I grew up with and i’m still not reaching the age for the AC format yet.
I know i’m ranting a lot but still i hope myself and you guys enjoys these great times radio that has been lost in Aussie, here in Vietnam, before someone else would come in and erase these good time, at sometime later in our life that we can’t predict… thank you.