How Bollywood Music Came To NC State Radio

Jul 14, 2020

A still from "Abhijog" (1947), starring Bollywood star Sumitra Devi.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

From indie rock to local rap, WKNC has built a loyal following of “hipsters and, well, more hipsters,” according to one station promo. But every Sunday morning, a totally different audience tune into North Carolina State University’s student radio station.

Hundreds of listeners from all over the world tune in every week to enjoy two hours of Bollywood soundtracks and traditional carnatic classics, among dozens of other genres from South Asia. गीत बाजार, گیت بازار or Geet Bazaar (Song Market) is hosted in both English and Hindi/Urdu, and listeners request music sung in over a dozen different languages. The program’s founder, Afroz Taj, deejayed on All India Radio in the 1980s and, when he moved to the Triangle in 1995, the music came with him. Host Frank Stasio celebrates the ways Geet Bazaar balances nostalgia with discovery alongside Taj and co-host John Caldwell. They both teach in the Asian studies department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Note: This program originally aired January 24, 2020.