Wednesday November 22 2006 09:59 IST
BHUBANESWAR:Faced with increasing competition from news channels and a fast dwindling audience, All India Radio seems to have finally woken up to the situation. It has gone back to the drawing board and begun planning a series of initiatives to bring listeners back to its fold.At a two-day conference of the heads of regional news units of AIR of Eastern and North-Eastern Regions held at Puri on November 19 and 20, the directors felt that local content should be given more time-slots in news programmes.Radio is often looked upon as a medium which caters to local populace. It has a wider penetration in rural areas and the most important medium to source information for the masses in the villages and remote areas.Hence, the experts observed that local content should top the priority list, said news editor of AIR Cuttack, Akhil Kumar Mishra. National and international happenings, it was decided, can come next.Once considered a powerful medium, the humble radio set took a backseat ever since cable television made inroads into households. Even in rural areas radio is being considered passe, as more and more villagers are hooked to satellite channels. People even shifted allegiance to DD 1 as it more than made up for their daily dose of entertainment, mostly dominated by local programmes till FM stations came on the scene.Thanks to the popularity of FM service, radio, once again seems to be regaining its pride of place. However, FM's limited reach has confined its popularity to urban pockets. The conference also touched on this point.The participants felt that its reach should be further expanded and FM's sound quality be exploited to air news programmes. The Cuttack FM station has already started airing hourly headlines of two minutes duration from 6 pm to 10 pm.The function which was attended by Director-General of News, AIR, Uma Kanta Mishra and Additional Director-General Akshya Rout discussed incorporating the latest technology in presenting news items, upgradation and innovations. Besides, it focused on cultural and social aspects of news presentations.P K Bandopadhyay, who would succeed the present director general was present.