Saturday, 27 September 2014

Teachers’ Day talk over, PM turns on radio

New Delhi, Sept. 25: Narendra Modi’s office today asked All India Radio to make arrangements for the Prime Minister’s first radio talk on October 3 but some listeners could end up with a bonus — an “audiovisual” experience across even private channels.

A government source said the PMO wants “every electronic vehicle”, including national broadcaster Doordarshan and private television and radio channels, apart from all AIR mediums, to carry the Vijaya Dashami-day address to the nation that will be recorded a day earlier.

“Not only has AIR been asked to ensure the grand success of the special transmission, the information and broadcasting ministry has also been asked to issue an advisory to private TV channels and FM radio channels to carry the Prime Minister’s message,” the official said.

“The Prime Minister wants to connect with the masses through every possible medium. Though this would be an audio message of about 20 minutes, channels can play pre-recorded visuals of the Prime Minister along with it. But it won’t be an interactive talk, the Prime Minister will speak on issues concerning various areas of governance.”

Sources said it would be the first time private electronic media would be “advised” to carry a special broadcast that is not part of occasions such as Independence Day and Republic Day.

Earlier this month, on Teachers’ Day, Modi had addressed and interacted with students through a first-of-its-kind video link-up. Then, too, the government had asked schools across the country to make arrangements for the telecast and ensure that students sat through it.

Following protests, the government had clarified that whether schools showed the event or not was “completely voluntary”, but many schools didn’t take chances.

About the October 3 broadcast, called PM on Radio, the government source said the advisory would be issued soon. “We can’t ensure the broadcast is carried by the private electronic media as they are not controlled by the government but we will issue an advisory to news and current affairs channels and private FM radio in a day or two,” the official said.

The highlights of the address would be propagated through various platforms on social media. To get people interested enough to tune in, a cross-media publicity blitz will start from tomorrow.

The radio programme — the first in a series of planned fortnightly broadcasts by Modi, according to AIR sources — wouldn’t have any specific topic. But the PMO has asked AIR officials to prepare a list of topics, including economic development, employment generation, education, women’s safety, foreign policy and people’s participation in governance, following suggestions on the website that the government launched about two months back.

Hundreds of AIR employees across the country will monitor the address to avoid glitches in the live broadcast, which will be translated into 13 regional languages for non-Hindi-speaking states.

“AIR’s home service comprises 413 stations across the country, reaching nearly 92 per cent of the country’s geographical area and 99.19 per cent of the population. It serves a wide spectrum of socio-economic and cultural diversity. The Prime Minister’s broadcast will help strengthen our brand value,” a senior AIR official said.

A journalist at AIR said Modi’s clear diction in Hindi makes him ideal for radio. “He is, perhaps, the first Prime Minister who is using charisma and communication skills to carve out a more personalised leadership role,” the journalist said.


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