Deutsche Welle Radio seeks private FM partners

MUMBAI: Deutsche Welle Radio, the audio wing of the German public service broadcaster, plans to strike a partnership with one of the FM players in Mumbai.

The German radio station, available to Indian listeners as a 50 minute Hindi block every day on short wave, chiefly airs programmes on international news, scientific developments, current and youth affairs. The last segment is one which the channel plans to share with one of the private radio stations, possibly Radio Mirchi, if a deal can be struck between the two, says DW distribution head, Asia/Australia Angelika Newel.

Private FM players in the city have thus far stuck to music and game shows to woo in the listeners, as news and current affairs have been kept out of the ambit of private radio stations. Newel, currently in Mumbai to attend the Scat trade show, says she has met with private FM players to discuss the possibility of its youth focussed shows being aired on one of the stations.

DW Radio, which has a small but loyal following of around 60,000 listeners in the country, is the older sibling of Deutsche Welle TV that has been airing for nearly a decade in the country. While the public service station concentrates on international news and current affairs programmes, it has kept its focus low on increasing penetration in the country, and concentrates instead on targeting the 'opionion makers' as well as German tourists frequenting over key 100 hotels in Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala and major metros, says Newel.

DW Radio has been available in Hindi since 1964, airing shows on politics, economics, culture, education, sports and science, apart from a regular audience feedback show as well as contests between 3.15 and 4 pm with a repeat between 8.45 pm and 9.30 pm on SW 22 m - 13,605 kHz, 41 m - 7225 kHz, 49 m - 6170 kHz. Apart from its regular shows, DW Radio also has a long running fortnightly slot for a Sanskrit show, conducted by Indologist Dr Friedman Schandler.

Radio Mirchi officials, when contacted, say that while they have been contacted by DW, no decision has been taken as yet. While music remains the mainstay of the channel, Mirchi has pioneered the spate of contests currently on air on most radio stations. The issue of content sharing with other radio stations will be evaluated at a later stage, say Mirchi officials, once its metro grid (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai in addition to Mumbai) and the eastern grid (Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, in addition to Kolkata) are in place.

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