Prasar Bharati to invest Rs 1.97 billion on digitisation

NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster Prasar Bharati enterd the digital era by unveiling a swanky studio for All India Radio in the Asia-pacific region's biggest broadcasting studio set up here.


The New Broadcasting House, as its being called, was inugurated by information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy yesterday, who said that approximately Rs 1.97 billion would be spent on the whole digitization process.


The minister also took the opportunity to allay fears of the employees of Prasar Bharati, an autonomous organisation.


The employees union had recently exhorted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to repeal the Prasar Bharati Act as it would fail to take care of the employees' concerns in its present form due to shortage of funds.


The new facility of Prasar Bharati was unveiled in the presence of I&B ministry secretary SK Arora and Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma.


The New Broadcasting House is the first ever fully digital studio set up of All India Radio. Built on a plinth area of 13,895 sqmtrs, it has two blocks -- a five storey studio block and a seven storey administrative block.


The new set up, which will be used by AIR home services, News Services Division and the External Services Division, has 26 fully automated transmission studios. All recording, editing and playback equipment, including mixing consoles and master routers, are in digital mode.


The newsroom is paperless, equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities. Besides 26 transmission studios, the nw facility also houses six dubbing rooms, five control booths, two radio conferencing rooms and one captive earth station.


The digital audio work stations have a provision for 24 hour scheduled programme back up to take care of accidental network failure.


A newsroom automation software system developed by the Dalet company will enable a central server to receive the feed from wire agencies like UNI,


PTI, PTI Bhasha and UNI Varta, faxes and voice dispatches from AIR's country-wide correspondent network and sound-bites from TV and make it available to editors on individual workstations.


And in the studios, instead of reading from paper sheets pinned to cardboards, AIR's newsreaders will now read off the computer monitors, where the story will keep getting updated till the last minute electronically.


All India Radio has seven channels broadcasting from Delhi. The News Services Division puts out daily, 112 national bulletins in 17 Indian languages and 65 external services bulletins in 27 languages.


It's not that AIR only is getting upgraded. A new wing for Doordarshan too was unveiled yesterday by the I&B minister.


Doordarshan Tower B is an eleven storey octagonal structure, flowering out from the sixth floor upwards. It is enveloped by a five storied structure housing studios and ancillary technical areas. The 18,958 sqmtrs technical area is centrally air conditioned and houses four studios of varying sizes.


The largest studio is 600 square metres with height equivalent to a four storey building. Besides various technical facilities for recording and transmission, the building also provides for rehearsal rooms, committee rooms, projection room, large screening area and a film preview theatre.


The total project cost of Doordarshan Bhawan Tower B is Rs 820 million. The Tower C, an eight storey structure with a 600 persons capacity amphitheatre, will be built in future.


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