AIR maintains its status as world's largest network

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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) Despite financial and infrastructural constraints, the reach of the All India Radio (AIR) is far greater than other private channels, and it is the world's largest network.

AIR FM channels cover 23 per cent of the area and 31 per cent of the population, whereas private FM channels cover only 3.3 per cent of the area and 9.3 per cent of the population, says a Prasar Bharati report.

Even after the completion of phase two, private FM would cover only 9.0 per cent of the area and 21 per cent of the population.

Moreover, the report says, private FM channels were city centric, so the entire rural areas were deprived of their services, and AIR was the only radio service reaching them.

At present AIR have 23 stations and 361 transmitters, which is the largest network in the world, covering 91.42 per cent of the population.

The Report pointed out that after the advent of the Prasar Bharati, the huge AIR network was increasingly being constrained in terms of critical resources and inputs such as programmes, establishments, latest equipment, maitenanace among others.

These problems have arisen due to limited budget grant and acute staff shortage, as there has not been fresh recruitment for many years.

One constraint has arisen out of the role of AIR as public broadcaster as it has kept away from pure entertainment programming, which brings hefty amount as commercial revenue, the report said.

However, the growth of radio advertising in the current year has been projected to exceed 50 per cent because of two factors--social marketing and retail marketing, it said.

AIR, which started its operations in 1927, broadcasts in 24 languages and 146 dialects. In External Services, it covers 27 languages including 16 foreign and 11 Indian languages .

UNI NAZ HS KN1438

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