Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Message by CEO Prasar Bharati Shashi Shekhar Vempati on World Radio Day

I am very happy to connect with all the listeners of All India Radio on World Radio day. World Radio Day is observed by UNESCO since year 2012. Last year the theme was on Radio and sports. This year, the theme is dialogue, tolerance and peace. I think it's a very interesting theme, coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi ji always stood for peace, tolerance and dialogue. So in that sense, it's an interesting coincidence that UNESCO has also chosen this topic for World Radio Day.
Interestingly, Radio has evolved as a platform for people to connect across regions of India, across cultures, in a manner that you probably had not foreseen sometime back. A great example is the Prime Minister's Mann Ki Baat which has brought Radio back to the national discourse as a medium, especially in this day and age where smartphones have invaded almost every moment in our private space, where television viewing and the internet have dominated how media is consumed. Radio still has a value, very unique value and a unique place, thanks to the nature of this medium. So it is fitting that we are observing World Radio Day.
As we expand and transform Radio in India, I think it is important that we increasingly build out more and more digital capabilities, make radio accessible as a medium through devices of choice that are easily available to the masses across India. The fact that FM chipsets where embedded in Smartphones made FM listening very easily accessible, even if you are on the go, or working, or commuting. I think this was a very transformational change that has popularised FM as the medium of choice to listeners which is also reflected in our expansion plans of All India Radio, where you see increasingly more and more of our investment is going towards FM transmitters and FM stations. So that is possible largely because of this convergence that is happening on devices with smartphones capable of catching FM signals, but as we look ahead, I think when we launched All India Radio services on artificial intelligence enabled devices like Amazon Alexa, I think we have taken this transformation to the next level.
Historically, Radio has been a one way medium where you could just listen to what was being broadcast. Now with Amazon Alexa you can actually converse with the device, you can instruct it, you can command it and you can listen to the content of your choice on demand. I think it's a fundamental change in listening habits and I am very happy that All India Radio has prepared itself for this artificial intelligence enabled future. We will have to take this further by ensuring that all of our content, especially the content diversity that we have across languages, from various parts of India is easily accessible in these digital medium of choice, be it on smartphones, be it on intelligent devices like Google Home, Alexa and so on.
We also will have to ensure that we are digitally savvy and we are much more nimble in how we produce content, how we distribute content, how we package content by understanding the consumption behaviour of today's youth so that Radio as a medium appeals to them, Radio as a medium is something that they can identify with. India is a young nation, so clearly Radio must evolve as a platform of choice for the youth.
So these are my thoughts on World Radio Day and I hope and wish that Radio as a platform continues to enhance dialogue, encourage tolerance and becomes a means of establishing peace both within the nation and across the globe.

Message on World Radio Day by Director General, Akashvani Shri F. Sheheryar

World Radio Day, 2019

On behalf of All India Radio, India’s Public Service Broadcaster, I, F. Sheheryar extend my heartiest greetings to each and every member of the Radio fraternity across the globe, this World Radio Day, 2019.

This year’s theme, i.e. ‘Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace’ is a powerful phrase in itself, with implicit and explicit implications that pertain not just to India or the Asia-Pacific region, but to the entire world.  Understood in a deeper sense in letter and spirit, the term is a panacea for a world which seems to be ailing in certain key areas of human dignity and cohesion, more so for the last few decades.  India’s age old approach has been proactively proclaiming the essence of ‘Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace’ through tenets such as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and through the teachings of Ramanujacharya, Kabir and Guru Nanak; in recent times of Mahatama Gandhi, whose 150th birth anniversary year is being observed worldwide.

The Radio sector, particularly Public Service Broadcasting finds itself in a flux today for a flurry of reasons … a major one being a transition in public psyche in terms of the ability to assess psycho-social impact.  Coupled with the glossy media’s overarching inclination towards the basal and the banal, lucratively so, this has gravitated general public tastes away from human substance, towards a glitter, most don’t even understand as a mirage.  This has led to the vicious cycle of an ever widening gap between informed awareness and consumption patterns.

World Radio Day celebrates technological achievements in the Radio sector, but at the same time it is a grim reminder that more needs to be done expeditiously for the benefit of the common human being and his basic needs, to begin with.  And this is where Public Service Broadcasters step in.  SDGs such as alleviation of poverty, health and wellbeing, quality education and gender equality, the basic pillars of the theme ‘Dialogue, Tolerance &  Peace’ are not marketing money-spinners and naturally will never be of much interest in Board rooms where profit charts are the sole raison d'ĂȘtre.  It is only the altruistic Public Service Broadcaster, of course, with adequate help from the respective government that can creatively intervene with its programming content.

All India Radio has had a long history of inclusive catering much on the lines of the coverage areas of SDGs.  Here, innovations in programming styles and techniques go hand in hand with preserving time-tested traditional broadcasting formats, just to ensure that the ‘not-so-smart’ ones are not left out mercilessly.  Besides poverty alleviation schemes of the government, individual and institutional attempts at the same are given due weightage in programming.  Public health and wellbeing have always been accorded top priority on the airwaves in a number of languages and dialects to enable access to the bottom of the pyramid.  AIR with its array of diverse programming and formats, is in itself an attempt by default at imparting quality education free of cost.  And there is definitely huge scope in furthering the cause of formal quality education on air, of course with much required support from the right quarters.

Similarly, spreading the message of gender equality and its impact on society has been a major thrust area for All India Radio, throughout its history.

This world Radio Day is a wonderful opportunity to join hands in introspecting if the world could be made a better place, and not just for a few.  There couldn’t have been a better opportunity to set the tone for the advent of Ritu Basant, the season of spring.  Once again, season’s greetings to all of you.


Shri F. Sheheryar
Director General, All India Radio &
President, Asia-Pacific Institute for
Broadcasting Development (AIBD)

World Radio Day – 2019

A cursory glance at our social fabric today reveals a story that’s far from pleasant. What meets the eye is an increasingly alarming tendency to embrace one-upmanship, intolerance and conflict. And this malaise has assumed global proportions, fueled by a burgeoning population, disparity in distribution of resources and skewed revenue models adopted by multinational corporations, as they unleash their wares. Can a parallel be drawn between this phenomenon on the one hand and on the other, the systematic step-motherly treatment being meted out to the medium of Radio, especially Public Service Broadcasters of the world, subjecting them to the tyranny of market forces? A specialist may be able to place the analogy in chronological perspective.
Radio has played a crucial, stellar role over the past nine decades or so in shaping up our collective existence, so to say. Reams can be filled up on the role of radio during and after World War II, since it was a powerful medium for propaganda, as well as re-uniting efforts for the displaced ; it was a medium palatable even for the semi-literate. The plethora of programming formats that comprised the medium was able to cater to one and all, doing justice to its intended objective of informing, educating, and entertaining. 
All India Radio and its vast network is possibly one of the few broadcasting organisations of the world which still cater to audiences using time tested formats such as Talks, Interviews, News, Sports and non-sports Commentaries, Discussions, Drama, Features/Documentaries and Radio Magazines, ensuring last mile inclusivity with altruistic underpinnings.

Of course there are critics… and there should be. But those who have an increasing tendency of saying, “Times have changed!” seem to be oblivious of the fact that superficial facets of human beings may have undergone a sea of change over the decades, but internally our core value system remains pretty much the same, with virtues such as Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace closest to our hearts. Ask any family, you’ll get the answer. And it is only the world’s Public Service Broadcasters who have the pedigree and the wherewithal to re-propagate these virtues subtly into society, using creative ways.  World Radio Day is but a grim reminder to people and governments to set this powerful tool in order, before forces driven by ‘smart’ motives create points of no return.
It’s time to re-visit and re-create sounds of sanity, before it’s too late. For humanity.

By: Manoj Mainkar, Programme Executive, Central Hindi Features Unit, All India Radio

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

3-day 'Kisanvani Impact Assessment and Capacity Building' Workshop kicks off in Nagpur

The 3-day 'Kisanvani Impact Assessment and Capacity Building' Workshop was inaugurated today at Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur by Shri R. J. Bhosale, (Divisional Joint Director of Agriculture, Nagpur Division, Govt. of Maharashtra.), Dr Vijay N. Waghmare, (Director, CICR, Nagpur) and Dr. Sudhir Kumar, (Joint Director, MoAFW).

The workshop is being attended by AIR #KisanVani programmers from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Daman.

Various issues crucial for contemporary agriculture are being deliberated upon in this workshop in which various experts as well as progressive farmers from Vidarbh region are also participating.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A Safety Net for the Internet


Once upon a time not so long ago, a web was what a spider wove, browsing meant leafing through a book and the mouse ran up the clock.

And abracadabra! With the wave of a magician’s wand, the internet was conjured up and everything was just a click away! The world was our oyster and we would live happily ever after.

Was this ‘The end’ of the fairy tale or a beginning? Was this a fairy tale at all?

Red Riding Hood could well tell us how the wolf is now a cyber stalker, a predator pretending to be a child on Instagram. Or Snapchat.

The internet has empowered people and nations and knitted the world together like nothing before. The same Internet is equally and powerfully capable of  ripping the world apart. Policy makers, tech giants and other stakeholders are now desperately seeking for a safety net or a safety switch to contain this mighty genie unleashed on us.

Which is why on the second day of the second week of the second month of the year, we observe Safer Internet Day with emphasis on safety for children and youngsters.

 Our focus must be on educating children and supporting parents in ensuring that their children grow up using technology in a safe way and in a smart way

Who should protect youngsters from online exploitation? Who should guide them towards smart use of the internet? Parents, schools, counsellors, online media companies, governments? Or all of them?

There is no magic switch or solution for what is a complex matter, made all the more  complex by the changing nature of technology and the internet, and for many parents this can be one of the biggest concerns – how to keep abreast of newer features and newer perils.

But the aim of all concerned has to be to empower children to enjoy all the positivity of the digital world, safely. One must remember that Red Riding Hood reached out to the friendly and proactive woodcutter for help. We need to people the child’s world with suitable woodcutters positioned at appropriate points.

By: Basudha Banerji