AIR listeners worried if stations would stop regional programmes

Rajasree’s day begins with tuning into the Kozhikode station of the All India Radio on her transistor. The homemaker would listen to the news, features, music and just about every programme.

Her local AIR station has been keeping her informed as well as entertained, for decades. She was in for a shock a few days ago when she learned that the Kozhikode AIR station would cease to function as an independent and that it would only be relaying programmes from Thiruvananthapuram.

Prasar Bharati's decision to stop producing programmes in multiple stations within a State has shocked and saddened many avid, loyal listeners of the AIR like her. If the decision is implemented, it would mean the end of the road for independent programming in all the AIR stations in Kerala, except Thiruvananthapuram.

At present, the Kozhikode, Thrissur, Kannur, Manjeri, Kochi and Devikulam have all their own independent identities. All those stations would have to carry programmes from Thiruvananthapuram.

“The Prasar Bharati wants to have just one station for a State and that would kill the regional programmes that cater to large number of listener. It is like a newspaper having one edition for the readers of entire Kerala,” a senior official told The Hindu. “It is all being done for the sake of cost cutting, but other options to make the AIR financially viable need to be explored. Besides, the AIR is basically a public service.”

Stations like Kozhikode have indeed been doing a great service to their audiences. Ever since it was established in 1950, AIR Kozhikode has been very much a vital part of the lives of the district and rest of Malabar.

With the emergence of television and the Internet, it may no longer be the only source of information and entertainment, but there are many who still swear by the AIR. Programmes on both the primary and the Vividh Bharati stations of AIR Kozhikode are hugely popular.

The Vivid Bharati station (Real FM) too is set to be downgraded; instead of its in-house programmes, it would have to relay the programmes from Thiruvananthapuram.

Now, stations like Kozhikode and Thrissur would be allowed to produce programmes only for two hours a day and they would be relayed from Thiruvananthapuram.

“It defeats the very purpose behind decentralising the AIR,” said Unnikrishnan Unithan, former Assistant Station Director, AIR, Thiruvananthapuram. “Stations at Kozhikode and Thrissur have been producing excellent, award-winning shows over decades. The new move from Prasar Bharati also will deprive the local artistes of their opportunities.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 6:42:02 PM |

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