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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 105

Akashvani, are you listening…

By M Rama Rao – Syndicate Features

In this age of information technology revolution with its dazzling array of gizmos that keep you connected to the whole world 24x7, it must be an odd man who confesses to be a radio addict. This predilection has survived the constant static nuisance in short-wave listening, shifting frequencies and the everyday plethora of gibberish from the mouth of some announcers and programme presenters. Then there are the many ‘pundits’ who pontificate incoherently on Indian and foreign propaganda stations on every subject under the sun with enviable sangfroid.

There are irritating times too when the station you want to listen to just ‘disappears’ from the precise ‘spot’ (frequency) you have marked on the radio set for listening to it. But the most trying is catching up with the fickle moods of our All India Radio, which determinedly sticks to its role of being government’s propaganda arm even though it claims to be an ‘autonomous’ body. It may be an experience not shared by many but often the afternoon programmes of Delhi ‘B’ (called the Rajdhani station) are just not audible on the medium wave frequency.

The fault, however, may be entirely of the cheap radio set’s, not that of AIR authorities whose unflappable composure in the face of a sharp decline in the quality and standards of broadcast of most of AIR programmes, accompanied by an ever increasing number of long transmission breakdowns, merits praise—perhaps a public scrutiny, if anyone is bothered about waste of the tax payers’ money.

It may be wrong to adduce the unscheduled and unexplained bouts of silence by AIR to sheer inefficiency or an act of subterfuge by terrorists and to even think that some armed hobos from a camp in a neighbouring country have overtaken an AIR station to silence it would be absurdity. The frequent spells of silence by an AIR station, presumably due to transmission breakdown or power failures are mysterious all the same. Or for that matter the way news bulletins are faded out on the FM even before the news reader completed the last sentence.

Another ‘interesting’ AIR innovation on FM is letting the listener to ‘enjoy’ multiple channels almost simultaneously with no one who is anyone in the Akashvani Bhavan caring for the listeners. May be they tend to agree with the critics that who listens to radio in these days of satellite and dish TV.

If you don’t believe what we say try tuning into the FM Gold and listen to their news bulletins and spot light programme in English and Hindi. The bulletins begin rather abruptly and end equally abruptly even as the news reader is midway through a long sentence.

If you are keen on listening to the spot light that follows the 9 pm news you will have to be prepared to hear a bit of Urdu news and some instrumental music too before the spotlight discussion comes your way with no introduction whatsoever to the participants and the subject under discussion.

Not surprisingly, therefore the AIR addict is becoming an endangered species.

-Syndicate Features

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