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24/7 news channel part of plans to modernise AIR

Last Updated : 08 July 2011, 19:30 IST

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AIR will also witness a complete digitisation of its studios, transmissions and connectivity across the country by 2017 according to plans by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. With a view to improving efficiency and broadcast quality, the government will replace old and obsolete equipment besides enhancing AIR’s infrastructure by refurbishing its studios.

For content generation, AIR will organise radio workshops, Akashwani Sangeet Sammalen concerts, Akashwani Annual Awards, Kisan Vani, special poetic symposia and spring music festival concerts.

Special activities like music concerts will also be organised and broadcast. Increased coverage of important international and national events will be undertaken along with news activities like production of flagship programmes. The entertainment programmes will be broadcast on the main channel of the radio.

The ministry also plans to begin e-governance to facilitate faster dissemination of information to media units by providing network based on-line management systems. Investments will be made in e-governance to ensure efficient management of the vast AIR network.

At the time of independence, there were six radio stations located in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow and Tiruchirapalli with 18 transmitters (6 Medium Wave and 12 Short Wave covering 11 per cent population and 2.5 per cent area of the country.

The network has now grown to 237 AIR stations with a total of 380 transmitters (149 MW, 54 SW and 177 FM). The primary grade total coverage is 91.85 per cent by area and 99.18 per cent by population. Coverage by FM signal is about 37 per cent by population and about 25 per cent by area. “In order to provide digital quality radio broadcasts in the country, digitalization of complete network and services is the primary aspiration,” a ministry official said.

As digitalization will enable AIR make its broadcast available on alternate platforms including mobile services, the ministry proposes making 20 channels available through webcasting and podcasting to serve listeners having internet connectivity besides offering content by SMSes, e-mails and also on iPhones on request.
While the reach of the national channel is proposed to be extended to the whole of the country, the external services of the AIR will also be strengthened through digitalisation of shortwave transmitters.

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Published 08 July 2011, 19:30 IST

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