transistors and radio sets, and focus on FM instead, recommends an IIT-Bombay report while giving a
thumbs down to the digital DRM technology that the public broadcaster is pushing.
With most people accessing radio on their mobiles or car stereos, only a small fraction of listeners
areas use the difficult-
to-buy transistors and radio sets, says the technical audit report on All India Radio's
short wave and medium wave services.
Barely 10 per cent of people, mostly the elderly, in urban localities listen to short wave or
services, Girish Kumar, professor in IIT-
B’s electrical engineering department who headed the
conducting the audit for AIR’s parent body Prasar B
harati, told DNA.
Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) receivers, pegged by AIR as a technology replacement for Soviet-era w
out short and medium wave transmitters, are just too expensive, the report says. Though a DRM tran
can give higher range than others, installing a larger number of FM transmitters can help cover the entire
However, AIR continues to replace short and medium wave transmitters in the country with DRM tran
even though the technology has few takers in India, sources disclosed.
“During the audit, I visited prominent electronic s
tores of Mumbai to buy a transistor. However, no trans
radio set or even a DRM receiver was available there. They are available only in some onl
ine sites. But some
people in rural areas are still using decade-old radio sets or handheld transistors," Kumar said.
“That is why our report had strongly recommended shu
tting down short wave and medium wave services for
AIR and augment the number of FM towers instead.” This
would help in rural areas to
o where mobile phones
with FM services are increasing.
DRM transmitters, Kumar explained, can offer good range but listeners have to buy a receiver that could be
as expensive as Rs.15,000. “Why would people buy a
DRM receiver to listen to radio when they c
an do the
same on their mobile phones or their cars?” he asked.
“Even for the newly installed DRM transmitter in Malad
, there are barely any takers, both because of
expensive receivers and lack of awareness about it,” h
In the 11th Plan, Rs.9.29 billion has been earmarked for AIR to go digital.