DD to begin narrowcasting tomorrow

MUMBAI: Doordarshan is commencing the broadcast of locally relevant programmes, popularly known as 'narrowcasting', beginning 29 October.

The programmes will be originated and telecast from 12 selected Low Power Transmitters (LPT)s spread across the country, according to the pubcaster. The narrowcasting service at Palakkad in Kerala will be inaugurated tomorrow by the Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, O Rajgopal. The second service from Amalapuram in Andhra Pradesh will be dedicated to the public by the Minister of State for Railways, Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya. Services in Bellary (Karnataka) and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) will commence from 31 October and those at Hissar (Haryana) and Nainital (Uttaranchal) from 1 November, according to an official release.

Ferozepur & Patiala (Punjab), Sagar (MP), Akola (Maharashtra), Hazaribag (Jharkhand) and Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh are the other centers covered in the first of phase of narrowcasting experiment.

At present Doordarshan originates and telecasts its programmes at national, regional and local levels through the National Network, Regional Networks and Programme Generating Facilities (PGF). While the National and Regional language channels run round the clock, the PGF stations originate programmes to a limited area for a short duration of time.

Doordarshan's network of LPTs cover a radius of an average of 15 kms of the area. The programmes produced for narrowcasting will contain segments on agriculture and rural development, education, health etc. They will be half an hour programmes telecast at time suitable to the targeted viewers, says the release.

Originally, the programmes were proposed to be produced by Agricultural Universities or State Departments of Agriculture. The regional DDKs were to provide training to ensure technical and aesthetic quality. A Memorandum of Understanding was circulated to the agricultural universities in the service areas. The project however did not materilise as the agricultural universities were neither equipped nor had funds and trained personnel to take up the production work on their own, says the release.

Subsequently, it was proposed that the production would be taken up by the DDKs using available resources and staff. The programmes would now be produced specifically keeping the targeted area in mind, in collaboration with the agricultural universities and state departments of agriculture. In the meantime, efforts are on to empower the universities to take up production on their own in the days to come.

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