Radio jockeys (RJs) working on contract with the All-India Radio (AIR) Bengaluru have alleged they haven’t been paid for over five months now. RJs complain that they haven’t been paid since March 2023, over and above salary for two months June and December 2022, being withheld to this day.
A senior RJ, who has worked for over 10 years with AIR-Bengaluru and wished to stay anonymous, said while there was no shortage of funds, non-payment of salaries was due to lack of coordination between officials, which started from 2021 after the merger of Amruthavarshini local channel, dedicated to classical music, with the national Ragam channel.
“The mergers have led to chaos in the administration, which has also impacted payment of salaries,” the RJ said. It must be noted that AIR-Bengaluru Medium Wave channel was merged with FM Rainbow channel on July 19.
Around 90% of the RJs working at AIR-Bengaluru are contract employees. Contractual RJs are being offered work for a maximum of six days per month not exceeding about 76 days per year. AIR raises a contract for these days, which has to be approved by the RJs and payments are made every two months. Though contracts have been raised and RJs have approved them for the period from March to July, payments haven’t been made yet.
“Many of us depend on these salaries for our lives and non-payment for five months has made our lives difficult,” a RJ said.
RJs have also lost their June and December salaries for 2022, allegedly owing to the negligence of the authorities. “Authorities did not raise contracts for these two months at all, despite several representations. Since now the financial year of 2022-23 has ended we have lost hope how AIR will pay the salaries for these two months. Officials have promised to pay them as arrears, but we haven’t received it yet,” a RJ said.
“Lack of coordination among officials is the main reason for non-payment of salaries to RJs and other issues at AIR-Bengaluru. There is no coordination between the Broadcasting and Finance Department officials. When we approach senior officials, they blame us saying we have made some mistakes, which we are ready to correct. But our salaries haven’t come by yet,” a senior RJ said.
Shankar Narayan, Programme Head of AIR-Bengaluru, said, “There is no shortage of money to pay salaries. Most of the people have been paid their salaries for the months of June and July. There are some technical problems about RJs signing contracts. All files from our side regarding payment of salary to RJs have been sent to the Finance Department. We will discuss this with our superiors and action will be taken for quick release of salary”.