Monday, November 29, 2010

AIR goes off the air

Just FYI, in September 2010, All India Radio, Mysore, the first among many firsts in the country, celebrated its Platinum Jubilee (at Jagan Mohan Palace).


There is one radio in almost every room in our house.  I know the value of it from my fancy for it since long.  (Details about my fascination are in this link) An old Radio without FM band is set to AIR (All India Radio) Bangalore on Medium Wave and a cheap one with FM are placed in the kitchen for two options!  There are 2-3 in the living room and one at the bedside.  I switch on the radio in the room where I will be.  The TV (without Cable or Dish connection but only Doordarshan's (DD) two channels) is used selectively.  The radio is my preferred gadget for its various advantages not to speak of the wealth of information and knowledge it provides, besides music and songs.  

I always 'put the radio and ask'!  Direct translation to Kannada - 'radio haakikondu keLu', to actually mean, switch on the radio and listen!

Last week, as usual, when I switched on the radio in the kitchen, I found that AIR's FM 100.6 MHzwas not on the air. I thought the tuning knob must have moved by accident.  Turning it clockwise or anti-clockwise resulted in no signal. I was taken aback. But there was just one channel available.  It was non-AIR.  It was very unusual.

Many thoughts crossed my mind.  Could the transmitters be down?  Was there no standby?  Was there any complete power failure in the studio?  My mind had no other reason to list. That was the limit. I tried AIR Bangalore on 612 kHz Medium Wave, but that was silent too.  Again turned the knob to search for any signal there but no, the entire MW band was silent.  Just like we jab the little kids on their cheeks if they do any mistake, I gave weak jabs to the radios.  Still, there was no sound.  I confirmed that all the radios were in good health and nothing had gone wrong because there was no voltage surge or anything untoward.  So what next? Even the Doordarshan's two TV channels were off.  I was confused to the hilt. Without the radio programmes being heard while we did many things, was indeed weird.  

One day passed with that odd feeling.  The next morning too was the same.  India were playing New Zealand in the Nagpur Test and 74-year old Suresh Saraiya was commentating in his 100th Test Match in his 41st year with All India Radio commentary team.  There was broadcast on the first day which did not coincide with this unusual 'AIR-less phenomenon'.  I was missing the radio commentary on the 2nd and 3rd day of the match.  

 The reason for this 'mouna-acharane' (observing silence) by AIR and DD had been revealed in the paper the following morning. By that time, AIR was back on the air and refilled the temporary void.

It was a rare 3-day strike (country-wide) by Prasar Bharti and All India Radio/DD made to get their demands.  They have announced dates for a second strike in December too!  If that happens at all, I will know why AIR is not on the air.  As listeners, we cannot do much beyond wishing it should not happen. 

I wonder how the staff felt like, outside studios, holding banners and shouting (?) without microphones, photo of those faces behind voices appeared in the press!  It must have been a weird feeling for them too!

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