DD, AIR to get new director generals

NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) may soon get full-fledged director-generals (DG), if everything goes well with the selection process which is currently underway.

The board of Prasar Bharati, which looks after the functioning of DD and AIR, is slated to deliberate on the candidates who were interviewed on 16 and 17 December.


Though full details are not forthcoming, Prasar Bharati sources said that about 21 candidates appeared yesterday for the DG's post before the interview panel that included some board members, Prasar Bharati CEO K.S. Sarma and additional secretary in the I&B ministry, Vijay Singh.

A similar panel met up with over 15 candidates desirous of taking over as the DG of AIR. "The full board, which also happens to be the selection panel, would discuss the likely shortlisted candidates," a source said.

Interestingly, the post of DG of DD, arguably India's biggest broadcaster with infrastructure in remote places, but under-utilised, is open to only serving bureaucrats of joint secretary and above levels (which means that the selected candidate would be on deputation to Prasar Bharati). Although the No. 1 post in AIR had been thrown open to people from the corporate world too.

Both DD and AIR have not had full-fledged DGs for almost a decade as the responsibilities were handed on an ad hoc basis to ministerial people. For a large part of last and this year, Sarma doubled up as the DG of AIR. The last full-fledged DG that DD got was S.Y. Quraishi, who was there for about an year before being shunted out some months back, after reportedly, falling out with the present I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over the issue of re-launch of the DD News channel.

Meanwhile, the Prasar Bharati board that will meet tomorrow (18 December) would also discuss DD News, apart from other items on the agenda.

With DD News (that has managed to capture the overall eyeballs since launch on 3 November) Prasar Bharati feels that the news channel should not only keep up the tempo, but also strive for betterment.

According to TAM data, DD News has been fairing well, lying just behind Aaj Tak in market shares even in cable and satellite homes. DD News is a channel that is distributed terrestrially and via satellite and has the advantage of a government diktat to cable operators that it has to be shown on prime band.

Prasar Bharati is also contemplating unleashing a media campaign regarding DD News for print and outdoor medium. Ad agency, JWT India, has been mandated to come up with the creatives and, according to sources, some work of the agency is being reviewed by Prasar Bharati officials for a final okay.

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