All India Radio Tiruchirapalli, credited by Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) as a vital link with farmers in central districts of Tamil Nadu for their socio-economic progress through its primary channel, is poised to deliver improved audio quality through a digitisation initiative. The technology upgrade would open up possibilities for launching two additional channels.

A high-power DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) transmitter would be installed to replace the Analog Microwave bands by August-September, for transportation of programmes from studio to transmitter, S.K. Agarwal, Additional Director General-Engineering, AIR, told The Hindu.

Two more channels could be started in the same frequency, he said, adding that the technical works have already begun. Switchover of broadcast to the new technology would take three to four months from the time of installation.

The AIR Tiruchi, which is now into its platinum jubilee year, features a 100 KW medium wave transmitter capable of 300 kilometres propagation. The primary channel covers 56 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s geographic area encompassing Tiruchi, and parts of Namakkal, Perambalur, Karur, Tiruvarur, Salem, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, and Ariyalur districts.

The FM Rainbow programmes broadcasted with a 10 KW transmitter has a reach of 60 km, covering most of Tiruchi district and parts of neighbouring districts.

The analog equipment in many radio stations has been replaced with state-of-the-art digital equipment. Microwave Studio Transmitter link equipment has so far been installed at AIR’s Cuddapah, Vijayawada, Srinagar, Patna, Jodhpur, Chandigarh, Jeypore, Kota, and Aurangabad stations. Installation of DRM transmitters would lead to significant improvement in audio quality of programmes in the AM band (also known as extended medium wave broadcast band). The new digital transmissions would co-exist with current AM broadcasts for a few years, according to officials of AIR Tiruchirapalli.

The scope for making available the sought-after Ragam channel programmes, broadcast from here and currently made available exclusively on DTH (Direct to Home) platform, through one of the proposed new channels would be explored, G. Jayalal, Additional Director General, Programme and Administration, Doordarshan, and AIR, South, said.