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Three AIR stations to go DTH by mid-year

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Director General of AIR Brijeshwar Singh
Director General of AIR Brijeshwar Singh

Special Correspondent

Set top box has to be installed for receiving the broadcast

FM channel of Bangalore AIR goes DTH along with Trichy station in Tamil NaduEach will take care of 12 hours of broadcastThis will offer listeners 24 hours of programme

Bangalore: By the middle of this year, direct-to-home-enabled radio broadcasting will be available at three stations of All India Radio (AIR).

The FM channel of Bangalore AIR will go DTH along with the Trichy station in Tamil Nadu. Each will take care of 12 hours of broadcast, offering listeners 24 hours of radio programmes. The other radio station going DTH will be Lucknow. The stations will uplink with the satellite beaming the broadcast. Kannada programmes and news can be accessed easily with a DTH receiver.

Sharing this information with mediapersons here on Wednesday, Director General of AIR Brijeshwar Singh said: "We are yet to carry out a survey of those who may opt for DTH, but it can be quite large, going by the viewers of DTH on television."

AIR also provides a 'news on phone,' service which can be accessed by dialling 1258 for headlines in Kannada and 1259 for those in English. Mobile users can call 22377525 and 22377530 in Bangalore for the service. English news will be updated every thirty minutes from AIR's newsroom in New Delhi. The services are through a revenue-sharing arrangement between AIR and BSNL.

AIR Bangalore, now completing 50 years, is the second oldest in the State after Mysore, Mr. Singh said. In fact, the Mysore station started with support from the then Maharaja and first used the name 'Akashvani,' which was later used throughout Indian radio broadcasting.

Music albums

"AIR is in the process of sharing some of its vast music archives with lovers of music and about 25 albums are due to be released by March-end in addition to those released today,'' Mr. Singh said. Albums of T. Brinda and T. Mukta, Mysore T. Chowdiah, T.N. Rajarathnam Pillai and Kumar Gandharva are among those released now.

"The AIR album of M.S. Subbulakshmi has been the largest selling so far. It sold over 5000 copies on the day of its release. Overall, we have a larger market for Carnatic music than for Hindustani. Of course, Karnataka has produced renowned Hindustani musicians such as Gangubai Hangal and Kumar Gandharva,'' Mr. Singh said. To keep the pricing affordable, the albums will continue to be sold through AIR stations and not in music stores, he said.

Video albums from Doordarshan archives, recordings of speeches by national leaders and more music albums including 'ghazal' collections of Begum Akhtar are among those scheduled for release this year.

"Apart from music, AIR here has perhaps brought in an accent-neutral, chaste but simple usage of spoken Kannada through its news bulletins. Another achievement has been promoting light classical music, set to lyrics by well-known Kannada poets'' he said. To get DTH broadcasts beamed through satellites you need a 'set top box.' Those offered by public sector BEL costs between Rs. 2,800 and Rs. 3,300, using a powerful chip processor.

The sets have satellite communication channel demodulators and audio and video decoders. One can also receive free-to-air television programmes when the set top box is connected to the television.

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