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Wednesday,March 29, 2006
New Delhi (UNI): Contrary to the general perception that radio was dying a slow death with the expansion of TV, there has been a steady rise in listenership over the past eight years. The number of radio listeners has gone up by nine per cent since 1997, according to the annual report of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. As many as 56 per cent of the people in urban and rural areas were patronising the medium in 2004-2005, which was an increase of two per cent (54) over the preceding year. The percentage of radio listeners was 53 in 2001-2003, 51 in 2001-2002 and 2000-2001, 50 in 1998-99 and 47 in 1997-98.
Moreover, in view of the superior quality of FM broadcasts, the All India Radio has undertaken to expand its FM network to achieve about 50 per cent population coverage after the completion of the Tenth Plan. A special plan to expand radio coverage in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and north-east was under implementation. In Srinagar, a 300 KW MW transmitter has been installed in place of the existing 200 KW, and at Kathua, the 6 KW transmitter has been replaced by one of 10 KW. Besides, relay stations have been set up Naushera, Kupwara, Rajouri, Diskit, Khalsi, Nyoma, Drass, Tiesuru and Padum. At Kargi, a 200 KW MW transmitter has been installed. Also, a new stereo studio set up for Leh with music, drama, talk, transmission studios along with dubbing and editing facilities has been planned. In the North-east, analogue system in Itanagar, Guwahati and Shillong have been upgraded to digital system under the special package costing Rs 24.80 crore. Besides a 10 KW FM transmitter have been installed at Kohima, Itanagar and Port Blair.
The AIR has undertaken a massive digitalisation programme covering both production and transmission at other centres too. Computer based recording, editing and playback system has been provided at 141 stations. The existing analogue uplink and downlink facilities are also being upgraded to digital system. New digital uplink stations have been set at Ranchi, Raipur, Jallandhar, Almora and Kolkata. Existing uplinks have been upgraded to digital at Guwahati, Shillong, Itanagar, Lucknow, Srinagar, Patna, Jaipur, Cuttack, Shimla, Thiruvananth puram, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Bhopal. Upgradation of the existing uplinks at Delhi and Mumbai is also in progress and would be completed in this year.