Sunday, 29 June 2014

Tuning into immunization with 'radiowali didi'

Sarojini Devi earns herself and her family two meals a day by selling magazines to people who stop their cars at traffic intersection in 's capital city. When she and her three-year-old daughter, who does impromptu acrobatic shows at the same place for a pittance, return to their shanty in south, she switches on the radio to listen to  songs. That is all her family can afford for entertainment after a day's hard work.
One evening, when Sarojini tuned in to one of her favourite programmes, she heard a 'radiowali didi' - the radio jockey - speaking to an expert on 'tika lagana' (immunization) and how vaccines could save lives of children.
She felt a tug at her heartstrings. Some time ago, Sarojini had lost her two-year-old son to measles, a disease that could have been prevented through vaccination.
"Until I heard it on radio, I never thought it was important to queue up for the child's vaccination, missing a day at work," she says remorsefully.
The burden of poverty forces families like that of Sarojini to make some harsh choices-to go for their daily wages, neglecting their own health and that of their children too.
Though India has one of the world's largest immunization programmes in terms of number of beneficiaries and geographical coverage, nearly 4,000 children die every day in the country largely due to vaccine-preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhoea and measles.
A major chunk of these children are from the marginalized sections living in hard-to-reach areas that lack access to proper roads and essential services.
In order to reach out to these children, Unicef India has launched an initiative to promote immunization on radio in partnership with the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI).
"As radio's reach is unmatched by any other media in India, we decided to use the platform of radio to disseminate messages about vaccines and the immunization schedules through news, talk shows, advertisements, quiz shows and other programmes," said Unicef's communication specialist Geetanjali Master.
A workshop for radio professionals was organised earlier this month to sensitise them about the importance of immunization and equip them with relevant information for programme innovations.
Over 40 radio jockeys and national programming heads of private FM radio stations took part in the workshop.
Radio Mirchi's RJ Naved, whose pranks on Mirchi Murga are hugely popular among listeners, said FM radio was not just about music and entertainment.
"Apart from playing Honey Singh's raps, RJs too can act responsibly and use the platform that radio gives them to take up social causes," he said.
Speaking on the initiative, AROI secretary general Uday Chawla said the power of radio as a huge influencer has remained unchallenged even with the advent of television.
"Radio is extremely popular and accessible. It can play a significant role in promoting important social issues weaving them in regular programming."
Currently FM radio operates in 91 cities across the country, besides the public service broadcaster, All India Radio (AIR) that serves 99.18 percent of the population.
To start with, this project would be focussing on nine states - Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha - that have rates of full immunization below the national average of 61 percent.
Dwelling on the reasons for low immunization rates, Raveesha R. Mugali, immunization consultant with Unicef India, said: "When parents were asked about the reasons for not getting their children vaccinated, more than half of them said either they were not aware of the vaccines or did not feel the need to go for immunization."
Emphasizing that no matter how busy a person was, he or she should not neglect their child's vaccination schedules, he said vaccines are the most cost effective way of protecting children's lives and can avert 1.4 million child deaths in India every year.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati will be participating in Global Media Forum 2014-Bonn-a media summit on “The Future of Journalism and the Role of International Broadcasters”

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster is hosting Global Media Forum 2014, a three-day international media congress, and Prasar Bharati is proud to be invited to participate in this august gathering of the best minds from reputed broadcasting organisations from across the globe. In fact, Prasar Bharati is only one of the two broadcasters from the developing world to what is effectively a ‘First-World event’ (the other being Al Jazeera).

Global Media Forum 2014 will be held in Bonn, Germany from 30th June to 2nd July 2014, and the theme year is: ”From Information to Participation: Challenges for  the Media”. Prominent guest speakers, including Google critic Jeff Jarvis, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will debate and discuss how media is participating in the global trend towards greater active participation, community involvement and interest in political processes and decision-making. The discussions at GMF 2014 is bound to have far-reaching points of relevance for macro-visioning and formulation of media policy across the globe (for further details on the participants, speakers and themes at GMF 2014, please visit

Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati will be participating in a media summit on The Future of Journalism and the Role of International Broadcasters. The discussion will be moderated by former BBC newscaster Tim Sebastian. The Summit will debate whether conventional media will be able to retain its position in this converged digital world where the lines between commentary and traditional journalistic reporting have been blurred., how international broadcasters can contribute to global diversity, how information services are likely to look like in the future, etc.

You can follow GMF14 live on twitter (@DW_GMF)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Super Achiever Joins AIR as ADG (P)

Sh.Amitabh Shukla, IRS holding the rank of Commissioner of Income Tax, has joined Prasar Bharati as Addtitional Director General (P) ,on deputation , wef 21.5.2014. He is leading the Commercial  and the External Services Division under  DG AIR.

Sh. Amitabh Shukla’s success story reads like a fairy tale. After completing  his Bachelor of Arts, he enrolled for Master of Arts (History). Meanwhile he got  a job as a Medical Representative in a reputed pharmaceutical company of UP. He did not have any experience or qualifications for being a MR, but in two years rose to become Area Sales Manager of Uttar Pardesh, overseeing  one third of UP, which incidentally is equivalent  to Brazil, fifth most populous country in the world. In his hallmark humility he credits his success not to his brilliance but to effective communication skills and networking. To cap it all he completed his MA  with flying colours while still on the job.

All achievers have one thing in common and that is they never rest on their laurels. Sh.Shukla is no exception, not content with his superlative success, he decided to reinvent himself and appeared for Indian Civil Services Examination, the dream destination  of all meritorious indian students. He qualified for the elite Indian Revenue Service  of which he was Income Tax Commissioner till he joined AIR on deputation.

His success story did not end here and he continued his studies and did MBA from United Kingdom, two more M.As and is currently finishing his LLB. He replicated the earlier success in the private sector in his government service too.

He has more than 23 years of exposure to the working of Income Tax Department at Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in varied intricacies of Direct Tax  Administration comprising Audit and monitoring of Tax Revenue collections from Corporates, Individuals and other categories of tax payers. In addition, has been involved with  a variety of extremely sensitive Search and Seizure actions including those against Socially and Politically important personalities of the country. The assignments with  the search and seizure wing gave him an opportunity not only to understand and apply provisions of the Direct Taxes Act so as to unearth undisclosed income and assets, but was also an experience of working in synergy with other national premium investigation agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Central Bureau, Criminal Investigation Department of Delhi etc.He is extremely  computer savvy and is a master and user  of all the latest computing programmes, softwares and other cutting edge technologies.

 Among the innumerable, enviable accomplishments of his service career the following ones stand out :

i)                      Apart from routine Income Tax work, he possesses wide experience of functioning of General Administration (pertaining to Human Resource Development, Financial Administration and Establishment matters) prevalent in Government Departments as per Government Rules and Regulations since he has managed  entire administrative functions on behalf of  Commissioner, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and Director General of Income Tax, on several occasions.
ii)                    He was posted with Director General of Income Tax (Vigilance) Delhi handling Vigilance matters at All India level of officers/officials of Income Tax Department.  The work involved providing all assistance to Director General of Income Tax (Vigilance) Delhi in attending to all the facets of departmental disciplinary proceedings from the stage of receipt of complaints upto levy of penalties,  if any.    The work also involved time bound coordination with multiple government agencies including constitutional bodies like Union Public Service Commission, Central Vigilance Commission, Appellate Authorities etc. 

iii)                   He was entrusted  with the responsibility of managing a Regional Training Institute of the Income Tax Department at Chandigarh, catering to in service training needs, of jurisdictional trainee population located at Delhi and North West Region of India.  The experience had been most enriching as while conducting his business of designing and mounting training courses, not only has he learnt hither to unknown facts of the Indian Income Tax act but has also acquired valuable knowledge of other departments and agencies working under Government of India for containment of tax evasion and frauds like Central Bureau of Investigation, Securities Exchange Board of India, Reserve Bank of India, Commodities and Derivatives exchanges, Central Information Commission, Central Vigilance Commission  etc. Thus during the 3 years in RTI he has  inter alia learnt the benefits of inter departmental corporation and coordination for achievement of stated goals.

iv)                He has also worked as Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India where he was primarily performing the responsibility as an adjudicator on the assessment orders passed by field formations under his jurisdiction.  The work involved comprehensive understanding of not only the Direct Tax statute but also all accompanying statutes and legislations which have a bearing upon the Indian Income-tax Act.  The work also involved understanding and applying the issues in the light of decisions given by superior judicial authorities viz. the Supreme Court of India, several High Courts of the state as well as Income-tax Appellate Tribunals located in the country.    The challenge was to pass a judicious order after interpreting, understanding and applying the correct provisions of law as contemporaneously available.

Details of work as a Guest Faculty in Training Sector

He has been keenly involved in not only acquisition of knowledge but also in its dissemination since he believes that learning is a continuous process.  Thus, he has  been taking lectures/sessions since 2004. Most of the time he has attended to topics on legal/Technical issues pertaining to Direct Tax Administration in the country. He has, however, also taken sessions on a subject very close to his heart that is Management and administration. His main areas of deliberations have been Communication, leadership, team building, motivation and Marketing. Marketing inspires him more as he has handled Pharmaceutical marketing prior to joining IT Department.    Some of the Institutes where he has regularly delivered lectures are  :-

a) National Academy of Direct Taxes, Nagpur- Lectures to Probationary officers as well as senior officers of Sri Lanka Revenue Service .
b) Administrative Staff College of India , Hyderabad ( Delhi Branch)-  Lectures to Senior Officers from Central Govt. Department, Public Sector Undertakings, Nationalized & Private sector Banks, etc.
c) M/s RMA Associates- Training et al ,  Mumbai Lectures to Senior Officers from Central Govt. Department, Public Sector Undertakings, Nationalized & Private sector Banks, etc.
d) Direct Taxes Regional Training Institutes at Mumbai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Chandigarh – Lectures to middle and senior level In  service officers of IT Department.

He is a man of multi-facetted personality and has keen  interest in Sports and Games like badminton, Cricket, Lawn Tennis  etc.  He also indulges in  his favourite hobbies of listening to songs and music.

RELEASE OF CDs OF Dr.Gangubai Hangal and Pt.Basavaraj Rajguru

It was an unique moment for Akashvani, and Cultural City of Dharwad when 6 CDs of Dr.Gangubai Hangal and Pt.Basavaraj Rajguru (3 each) brought out by Central Archive, All India Radio, New Delhi were released on 21.06.2014. Alongwith CD release function, a special musical programme featauring Violin recital by Dr.N.Rajam and Classical Vocal by Pt.Kaivallyakuamr Gurav, was arranged at Srujana Auditorium, Dharwad. Both the Artists performed very well. For this unique function arranged by Director General, AIR, New Delhi, there was a tremendous response from Public and press. The hall with a capacity of 800 was full with enthusiastic audience. Every thing went on as planned. The entire programme was received very well. Another interesting feature was that it was arranged on International Music Day. It was really a fitting contribution by AIR for the music world by releasing 6 very special CDs of two Great Musicians of India. The CDs were released by Padmabhushan, Dr.N.Rajam, a renowned Violinst. The function was presided by Sri.P.K.Subhas, Additonal Director General, AIR, Southern Region. Dr.K.Vageesh, Consultant and Smt.Shalini Mittal, from the Directorate also participated in the function. They guided and cooperated with us in making this function a grand success. 

The CDs which were released were sold like hot cakes. 435 CDs worth Rs.70,194 were sold out within 3 hours. National, Regional and Local News papers and T.V. Channels gave very good publicity and wide coverage and review for this event. Please find few such press cuttings. 

I request you kindly go through the press cuttings pertaining to CD release function and Music Concert. 

With regards, 


Station Director,AIR Dharwad

Redoubtable Dr.K.Vageesh added:
The CD release function ( of Dr Gangubai Hangal & Pt Basavaraj Rajguru ) held at Dharwad on the World Music Day was a grand show with a packed audience in the auditorium.

The two sons of Dr Gangubai , wife and son of Pt Rajguru Were present there and there was all round appreciation for the role of AIR in propagating Clas Music thru these releases.

There was a tremendous response for the release and the CD sales collection was around Rs 70,000/within few hours of the release.

The concert that followed the release function - violin recital by Dr.N.Rajam and vocal recital by Pt Kaivalya kr Garav kept the audience spell bound.

The Hindu carried a write up one day before the release function and the whole event got xlent coverage in all the Newspapers

Monday, 23 June 2014

Audition Rules clear on age-bar for AIR presenters and radio jockeys - DG AIR


NEW DELHI: All India Radio (AIR) has clarified that the directive asking certain presenters and radio jockeys to quit because they have crossed the age bar for the channels in which they were working, is only implementation of the relevant audition rules.

AIR Director General Faiyyaz Sheheryar told that it was also incorrect to say that these persons would be rendered jobless, since most of them were either employed elsewhere and working part-time for AIR or were doing this work as a hobby or to supplement income. ‘None of them are employees of AIR’, he emphasised.

He says that although the Audition Rules have always been there, it was only a few months earlier that Prasar Bharati decided to implement them as competition increased with the private FM channels.

Under the rules, those working in the primary channel of AIR on medium wave could continue to be presenters up to the age of sixty, while those working for the AIR FM Gold or FM Rainbow could do so only till the age of 35. The Rules had also provided that those in the now-defunct Yuva Vani could work as radio jockeys or presenters till the age of thirty.

AIR sources also denied reports that young persons were being forced to interview personalities with whose work they were not conversant. The sources said that all presenters and radio jockeys were asked to do adequate research before conducting programmes where they had to converse with or interview senior classical artistes or performers.

While not disputing the view that it was sometimes not possible to tell the age of a person from his or her voice, the sources said that every organisation has to lay certain criteria and in any case these presenters and radio jockeys were aware of this when they agreed to come on board in the public broadcaster.

It has been learnt that the directive will affect around 200 presenters or RJs. Official sources said they were aware that many of these persons were already well past the age set in the Audition Rules, and therefore it had been decided to implement those rules.

The presenters have been meeting many officials over the past several months, including the Station Director, DG and ADG of All India Radio, and given them representations, but Sheheryar said that the pub-caster was only following the rules.

AIR sources said jockeys for FM services of All India Radio are booked against a temporary contract on assignment basis and according to the programme exigencies of the channel and paid in accordance with the fee structure of AIR which is equally applicable to similarly placed assignees like, drama voices, music artistes, talkers etc.

The sources added that AIR like other established broadcasting organisations of the world is professionally bound to review, recast and recreate the panels of casual jockeys every year to bring in fresh talent and break monotony.

It was stressed that a casual jockey is offered a maximum of six days a month but not exceeding 72 days in a year on a temporary contract which does not mean that he/she is engaged or recruited against a clear vacancy of any regular post.  This may be a monetary help but not a ROZGAAR or livelihood or a full time service. The canards being spread that hundreds of announcers have been thrown out of the job is totally misplaced and a sheer misrepresentation of facts’ Shaheryar said.

Sheheryar said AIR cannot afford to compromise with its established procedure of bringing in fresher and newer voices fairly articulate, well informed possessing appealing audio quality to serve in a fiercely competitive environment.

Meanwhile, AIR is mulling over a plan of creating shorter panels of jockeys/western music presenters on temporary contract to further professionalise the services and make such engagements cost effective at a time when the organisation is devising ways and means of enhancing its revenues and lessening expenditure in order to be able to fend for itself.


Relive classical legends from AIR archives

Fans of renowned musician Gangubhai Hangal will now be able to listen to some of her rare recordings in CD form.— File Photo
Fans of renowned musician Gangubhai Hangal will now be able to listen to some of her rare recordings in CD form.— File Photo

Rare recordings of Basavaraj Rajguru, Gangubai Hangal released on CDs

All India Radio (AIR) has given connoisseurs of classical music an opportunity to listen to rare recordings of legends like Basavaraj Rajguru and Gangubai Hangal at their leisure.

Saturday marked World Music Day and AIR released collections of rare ragas performed by these legends from their archives.

Renowned violinist N. Rajam released six CDs of the recordings at a function organised at Srujana auditorium in Dharwad on Saturday in the presence of a host of musicians and lovers of music and litterateurs.

Lauding the AIR initiative Mr. Rajam called on the young musicians to make use of the released recordings to improve their knowledge and singing.

Speaking on the occasion, Nijaguna Rajaguru, son of Mr. Rajguru, said that Akashvani was responsible for the fame and recognition of many of the musicians and lauded the initiative of AIR of passing on the rare recordings for the next generation.


Advisor to AIR K. Vageesh said that recordings close to 18,000 hours in the archives of AIR were getting digitalised and already 79 CDs of such performances had been released.

Additional Director General of AIR South Zone P.K. Subhash said that AIR had the credit of enthralling music lovers of North Karnatka which has a population of nearly 3.5 crore.

Sons of Gangubai Hangal, Baburao and Narayanrao, wife of Pt. Basavaraj Rajguru Bharatidevi, Director of AIR Dharwad C.U. Bellakki were present on the occasion.


The World Music Day had a musical celebration with N. Rajam enthralling the audience with her violin recital followed by vocal concert by Pandit Kaivalyakumar Gurav.

They were accompanied on tabla by Raghunath Nakod and Sudhanshu Kulkarni respectively.

The CDs of Gangubai Hangal have ragas sung by Gangubai in heri heydays while the CDs of Rajguru have various ragas and ‘vachana sangeet’.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Astra Missile Test Fired Successfully From Su-30MKI

Astra missile being test fired from Su-30MKI (Photo courtesy - DRDO)

BALASORE (ODISHA): India’s first indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile Astra was test-fired successfully from fighter aircraft Su-30MKI by the Air Force from a naval range off Goa on Friday.
Defence sources said the launch conducted at an altitude of 6 km was a control and guidance flight which successfully demonstrated interception of an electronically simulated target at long range.
On June 9, a similar trial was conducted from the same defence base. Both the tests conducted to demonstrate the aerodynamic characteristics of the missile, have demonstrated the repeatability, robustness and endurance capability of Astra as a weapon system.
Astra is indigenously designed and developed by DRDO, possessing high Single Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) making it highly reliable. Astra is an all aspect, all weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, excellent ECCM features, smokeless propulsion and process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenario making it a highly advanced, state-of the-art missile.
Sources informed this trial will be followed by launch against actual target shortly. Many more trials have been planned and will be conducted to clear the launch envelope. Weapon integration with ‘Tejas’ Light Combat Aircraft will also be done in the near future.
Congratulating the team, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DG of DRDO Avinash Chander attributed the continuing success of the development trials to the joint efforts by DRDO and Indian Air Force working together as team.
He appreciated the efforts of the Air Force test team from Aircraft System Testing Establishment (ASTE) for carrying out the trials inspite of the heavy monsoons in the west coast.
Astra is designed for an 80-km range in head-on mode and 20 km-range in tail-chase mode. The 3.8 metres long missile, which has launch weight about 154 kg, uses solid-fuel propellant and a 15 kg high-explosive warhead, activated by a proximity fuse.
Fitted with a terminal active radar-seeker and an updated mid-course internal guidance system, the missile can locate and track targets. It is difficult to track this missile as its on-board electronic counter-measures jam signals from the enemy radars.
As an anti-aircraft missile it can be fired after receiving a signal from the far away target through its on board manoeuvres based on radio frequency.
Director General (MSS) VG Sekaran said that the continuous success of Astra development trials is a confirmation of the maturity of DRDO in air-to-air missile design and implementation.
Astra Project Director S Venugopal said the air-launch trials of Astra are going on as scheduled with the support of Air Force and will meet all performance requirements of the IAF.
The air launch of Astra was perfect in all respect and is a culmination of years of effort by a very dedicated and competent team of the missile complex at Hyderabad, CEMILAC and Indian Air Force.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) carried out the modification in Su-30 along with IAF specialists, and many Indian industries have an important and enabling role in the production of reliable avionics, propulsion system, materials, airframe and software passing stringent airworthiness requirements for the missile.
The Astra missiles have undergone rigorous testing on Su30 in the captive mode for avionics integration and seeker evaluation in 2013. The project has thus reached the final stage of testing and evaluation, and the Mk-II variant with higher range capability is also planned to be tested by the end of 2014.

Kingdom of sound By NAHLA NAINAR

AIR staff with 1947 Audio Recorder discs in the archive room. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

The archive of All India Radio Tiruchirappalli is a treasure trove of sound clips from 1930s to the present.

There’s no better place to see the march of recording technology than the archive room of All India Radio Tiruchirappalli. Tucked away in a corner of the ground floor of the vast AIR building, the archive is a treasure trove of sound clips from 1930s to the present.
Keeping pace with the conversion from analogue to digital format, the archives too are gradually getting transferred from magnetic tapes to computerised sound clips. A. Rajaram, Library Information Assistant, has been overseeing the conversion of 1,114 magnetic tapes (of 15- and 30-minute duration) into .wma (Windows Media Audio) files.
“Each of these tapes comes with a handwritten note on the content which has to be catalogued as well,” he says, showing visitors around the room. “So far we have managed to save 405 music recordings, 333 Tamil talks (non-musical content), 26 radio plays, and assorted folk music and feature programmes in digital format,” says Rajaram of the process that lasted over a year. “We have 8,000 such tapes in total, so there’s still more work to be done,” he adds.
The archive room, which has to maintain a temperature of 18-20 degrees Celsius to prevent the magnetic tapes from getting damaged, is also a sort of mini-museum of sound recording technology, as it’s still possible to see long-out-of-circulation machines being kept here for the conversion work.
The magnetic tapes, manufactured exclusively for AIR stations by the Hindustan Photo Film Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Ooty, have to be first fixed on a turntable console before being converted to digital files with the help of specialist software, a time-consuming process that needs staff to be familiar with old and new technology.
“Preserving classical music recordings is the most difficult, because each sound clip has to have additional information about the ragas, talas, and even the accompanying musicians,” says Rajaram, pulling out detailed tabulated sheets.
Digitalisation has changed the role of the archive too, as archivists now have to deal with cue sheets that give the details of the recordings on a computer database, rather than physical tapes. Among the gems in this collection are the speech made by Rajaji in Tiruchi ahead of the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha, and recordings by the greats of Carnatic vocal and instrumental music, from K.P. Sundarambal, Thiruvavaduthurai T. N. Rajarathnam Pillai to Sheik Chinnamoulana and Embar Raghavachariar among others. Speeches by prominent personalities are also available here.
The station also maintains a separate library of printed material in Tamil, English and Hindi.
“What we have here is very valuable,” says Rajaram, who has been working here for the past 18 years. “We don’t destroy any sound clip, because someone may appreciate listening to them many years later.”

All India Radio Tiruchi-Ruling the airwaves BY NAHLA NAINAR

M. Jothimani, Assistant Director, Programme Head, and Shantha Srinivasan, Senior Announcer seen at one of AIR Tiruchi's recording studios. Photo:B.Velankanni Raj

In its 75th year, All India Radio Tiruchi continues to mark many milestones

There is a palpable sense of excitement among senior executives of the All India Radio, Tiruchi as the station gets ready to conclude its year-long celebration of its platinum jubilee this week.
The station, one of six pioneering stations in pre-Independent India, and the second in the erstwhile Madras State after Chennai, has been recording not just the pulse of the people, but also has been an important link between the public and the government for the past 75 years.
Its establishment in May 16, 1939 with a 5 KW medium wave transmitter from a rented premises in Tiruchi’s Williams Road, was marked by a message from C. Rajagopalachari, the then Chief Minister of Madras State and Lionel Fielden, the first Controller of Broadcasting.
The station today functions from its own building on the Bharathidasan Salai, and is equipped with a 100 KW high power transmitter that caters to 10 districts – Tiruchi, Peramabalur, Ariyalur, Karur, Salem, Namakkal, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Pudukottai. From April 14 this year, the entire process of programming has been converted from analogue to digital format.
“We are switching over to digital technology, but we are still a public service broadcaster,” says M. Vasuki, Deputy Director General, AIR Tiruchi. “Since we are not in this for revenue, or advertising, our role will remain strong and crucial for the country,” she adds.
AIR Tiruchi has three channels – the youth-oriented FM Rainbow (5 a.m. to midnight), news and information-heavy Primary (5.45 a.m. to 2.45 p.m.; 5.30 p.m. to 11.05 p.m.), and the 24-hour Carnatic music Ragam DTH (produced in collaboration with AIR Bangalore) – to cover topics ranging from agriculture and education to women’s issues, culture and literary appreciation.
It is among the rare radio stations to devote at least two hours of programming every day to agriculture, a key occupation in the Cauvery delta districts.
“We try to highlight inspiring success stories in farming, so that listeners from other areas too can pick up these ideas,” says B. Saravanan, Programme Executive. “At least 70% of our programming is done outside the studio to keep the broadcasts relevant and interesting.”
The station has also played a crucial role in the preservation of Carnatic music (especially the Tamil stream), and folk arts of the state. Aspiring singers and musicians must first pass through a rigorous audition system before they are permitted to go on air. As many as 150 such graded artistes belong to the AIR Tiruchi zone.
“It is an honour for our station that some of the most sought-after names in the field of performing arts have specially requested to record in our studios,” says M. Jothimani, Assistant Director and Programme Head.
“We also have a valuable archive of sound clips that showcases our national and state history down the ages,” she adds. See related story.
The recent boom in commercial FM radio has not been lost on the state broadcaster, says programme executive R. Venkateswaran. “We are modifying ourselves according to the taste of the people, but even in FM, we aim at info-tainment.”
“The habit of listening to the radio will never really go away,” says Mrs. Jothimani. “The devices may have changed, but there will always be a listener.”
The curtains will fall on the platinum jubilee celebrations with a cultural evening in Tiruchi on June 25.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Government committed to communicating with people across media platforms: Javadekar

NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar today promised a stable policy regime with transparency and time-bound mechanism and said efforts would be streamlined so as to make the process of clearances speedy and transparent.
He said while addressing the “CEOs Roundtable on Media & Entertainment” by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that the government has always promoted the Media & Entertainment fraternity as partners in growth and would remain a facilitator to encourage the growth of the industry and provide a roadmap in the interests of the people.
Javadekar said the potential of the Indian M&E industry is untapped and endorsed the CII vision of taking the Indian M&E industry to $100 billion by the end of this decade. He said the government will be “partner in progress” with the growth of the M&E industry.
Reacting to suggestions from stakeholders, Javadekar said the policies of this government would be people-centric and would aim at meeting the aspirations of the common citizens. He added that providing information, entertainment and knowledge to the citizens would be the priority of the Ministry. Innovative approaches would be encouraged so as to ensure quality information.
“This government is about communication and consensus. We will create a process in which decisions will be taken in four weeks which was taking four months earlier,” he said with reference to decisions pertaining to the broadcast sector.
The Minister was categorical that the ongoing digitisation will not be abandoned, Radio phase III licensing will be processed faster, news allowed in FM radio, current DAVP rates will be relooked and self regulation advocated for print medium.
The Minister also emphasised on the need for expanding the reach of Community Radio and aimed at opening up of 1000 Community Radio Stations in near future.
Referring to the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘Speed, Skill and Scale’, the Minister urged the media industry to strive to attain new heights.  
Praising new-age technologies, he described how the social media platforms had changed the dimensions of news reporting.
While recognising the importance of the Freedom of Speech and Expression he emphasised on the need for responsible journalism. Javadekar assured the stakeholders that their suggestions on various policy issues would be looked into in a time-bound manner.
Earlier, I&B secretary Bimal Julka assured the media that the Ministry would work as a facilitator for the industry and would work towards single-window clearances ‘with no multiple grills’ for better transparency and accountability. He said the phase III FM Radio auctions will be completed by December 2014. Julka also made a request to the M&E industry to present budget proposals to his Ministry by 23 June to be presented to the Finance Ministry.  
40 top CEOs of the M&E sector interacted with the Minister and were confident that pending decisions will not be further delayed by the new government. Issues related to broadcast, films, DTH, cable, radio, print, news broadcast were briefed by industry leaders at the CII roundtable.
 “We believe that the soft power of Indian M&E sector can bring innumerable benefits to the Indian economy. The M&E industry provides direct employment to around 10 million people and has the potential to double the number. This sector also is on the cusp of achieving the same global success that the Indian IT industry has achieved,” said CII president Ajay Shriram.
CII Media and Entertainment Committee and group CEO, Viacom 18 Media, Sudhanshu Vats said accountability, clarity and foresight from M&E stakeholders will take the sector to new heights.
In his opening address CII DG Chandrajit Banerjee said that an innovative push from the government in an enabling regulatory infrastructure and policy reforms will create a world class knowledge driven entertainment in India.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Prasar Bharati CEO Sole Indian panelist in International Media summit: The future of journalism and the role of international broadcasters

The media's digital future has long become a reality. As journalists write blogs and bloggers post journalistic content, the lines between commentary and traditional journalistic reporting have been blurred.
Monday, June 30, 2014, 11.00 a.m.
The media's digital future has long become a reality. As journalists write blogs and bloggers post journalistic content, the lines between commentary and traditional journalistic reporting have been blurred. While new media outlets take an ever firmer hold across the world, conversations have grown concerning quality, credibility and authenticity. The globalization of media has also left its mark on foreign broadcasters, who have had to adapt not only their communication structures but also theirself-image in the midst of this sea change.

What will information services look like in the future? How can international broadcasters contribute to global diversity? Who can smoothly navigate the flood of information? Will conventional media be able to retain their stake or has the time come to revise the very way we think about "news"?
Döpfner, Dr. Mathias
Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer SE, Germany
Jarvis, Jeff
Journalist and Professor, City University of New York, United States
Limbourg, Peter
Director General, Deutsche Welle, Germany
Sircar, Jawhar
Chief Executive Officer, Prasar Bharati, India

Souag, Dr. Mostefa
Acting Director General, Al Jazeera Media Network , Qatar

I&B minister Javadekar to work on establishing the primacy of DD and AIR

MUMBAI: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar was on his first visit to the Doordarshan studio in Worli, Mumbai. And high on his agenda, as he says, is to establish the primacy of Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR). Accompanied by Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar and Mumbai Doordarshan director Mukesh Sharma, the new minister visited the studios, and met with the staff—producers as well as technicians—and told them his goal. “I want to see DD and AIR become the first choice of the viewers and listeners. They should be able to compete with the private TV channels and FM radio stations and win the hearts of Indians,” he said. Javadekar will depend on public feedbacks to revive the popularity of DD and AIR. On the I&B ministry website, he will soon start a ‘Minister’s corner’, inviting suggestions from anyone on how to improve the performance of Prasar Bharati. The minister agreed that there is need for investing in infrastructure and better equipment. “We will look into the budgetary allocations. Also, the hiring of employees, which had stopped, will be reviewed,” Javadekar said, while addressing a press meet after visiting the Doordarshan Sahyadri office in the city for the first time since taking charge of the ministry. To’s query about giving autonomy to Prasar Bhatrati and accepting other recommendations of the Sam Pitroda Committee, the minister said that Sircar won’t have any complaints. However, he added that the ministry will keenly take note of the performance and look for results. Moving away from the area of public broadcasting, Javadekar said that while he has no intention of stopping private FM players from airing news, it should be reliable. “I don’t see any reason why they (private FM) have to use AIR news. They can use other reliable news sources like PTI or UNI and present it like print publications do,” he said. When asked about the ministry’s take on the paid news menace, Javadekar said that while the matter related to paid news during elections is sub judice in the Supreme Court, there is also another form of paid news, private treaties. “As the matter of paid news is in the SC, I would not like to comment. But, we have got reports and have a view, which we will announce soon,” he said. He further added, “I am very concerned about paid news. Candidates resort to paid news because there is a limit on the amount which they can spend. Earlier, they used to give advertisements and sponsored articles, but they cannot do so now. We want to do away with this menace once and for all. The purity of journalism should be there. News should look like news, an advertisement like an advertisement.” He also added that while he believes in the freedom of the media, media has to be responsible and exercise caution. “I feel the media also has to address the issue of paid news in a serious manner,” he added. Javadekar also announced that the ministry is taking new initiatives towards crowdsourcing. He said that soon government ads will not “look like government ads”. “We spend money on advertising, so why not present the ad in a manner which touches the viewer? So we decided to adopt crowdsourcing. We will invite ideas from the public, and the winners will be awarded. The best idea will be used as a DAVP ad,” he said. He informed that the project has already got off with the Centre’s “desertification programme” where 700 people sent in entries.