AIR targets Rs. 1.26 bn revenue for financial year

NEW DELHI: Indian radio pubcaster, All India Radio (AIR), mopped a record net revenue of Rs. 113.26 crore in the year 2002-03 and has kept a target of Rs. 126 crore (Rs. 1.26 billion) for the current financial year.

In order to achieve the target, AIR is making an all-out effort by contacting various government ministries/departments and big private clients. A number of media plans have also been submitted to various departments, which are in the pipeline, information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today informed the parliamentarians who are members of the Consultative Committee attached to the ministry.

According to Prasad, AIR would completely digitalise the archives by the year-end. The archives are rich with the priceless and rare recordings of maestros like Fyaz Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, legendary poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Josh Malihabadi, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni and many others. It also has voice recordings of leaders of the freedom movement beginning from Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru and others.

The minister said that news is a major unique selling proposition (USP) of AIR, which disseminates news and comments to listeners in India and abroad. From just six stations in 1947, AIR has grown to a network having more than 200 broadcasting centres. News Services Division puts out 360 (except non-daily news bulletins) news bulletins daily from Delhi and its 45 Regional News Units.

Out of these, 84 news bulletins are broadcast on the home services from Delhi, while Regional News Units put out 218 news bulletins daily in 66 languages/dialects, including bulletins broadcast on FM-I and FM-II. In the External Services, AIR broadcasts 65 news bulletins in 26 languages, including Indian and foreign.

Prasad accepted suggestions from the members that included special programmes for dacoit infested areas of Mainpuri and Bhind in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, respectively; inclusion of regional newspapers while compiling major news stories covered; steps against music piracy; effective measures to counter propaganda from across the border; more rural oriented programmes; consideration of revision of remuneration of artist/writers; more programmes to check crimes and drug use; resumption of concerts for invited audiences and exclusive channels for classical music.

Other suggestions included filling up of vacancies in regional stations, especially in the North East and Jammu &Kashmir, setting up of radio clubs and concerted efforts to increase AIR revenue. The Members of Parliament who were present during the meeting included Balram Singh Yadav, Hannan Mollah, E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Abdul Rashid Shaheen, Balkavi Bairagi, Vijay J. Darda, Ajay Maroo, Lalhmingliana, Dr. Ramanaidu Daggubati and Shabana Azmi.

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