December 06, 2009

ALL INDIA RADIO - Contribution to Music, Art And Culture

.................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

After listening to a concert at the AIR Chennai auditorium, held under the banner of Prasar Bharati ( All India Radio, Chennai) alongwith AIMA ( an organisation managed by Mridangam vidwan Sri.T.V.Gopalakrishnan) in the AIR auditorium, I was compelled to pen down my thoughts about the contribution of AIR and DD to our Indian culture.

Prasar Bharati needs no introduction, but definitely needs some advertisement, especially in the wake of todays multiplicity of channels, fragmentation of audiences, fragmented taste preferences and influence of the internet. It also deserves that special pat on its back and a kudos mainly because of the yoeman service that AIR and DD have done in the last 50 years to propagate art , culture, music, social causes et all.

All India Radio, Chennai vaanoli nilayam !!! Isn't this a refrain that many of us in the South are so familiar with ? And the signature tune in raga Sivaranjani ?

AIR in general has been a promoter of music and has given a solid platform for performing artists to display their talents. Though one cannot see the face of the artist, many a vidwan , ustad and pandit have etched their remarkable human voice or the voice of their instrument strongly in the minds of the listeners , through the megahertz frequency !

What a pleasure it is to hear our favourite music or musician sitting comfortably in our couch or chair with a radio on the lap or by the side !!

My memories of growing up as a child in Mumbai, are so strongly drawn towards listening to the radio. I used to be woken up with the strains of music from a radio kept on by my mother at my bedside!! Somehow the radio would catch on the frequency from Chennai, Trichy, Vijayawada (not withstanding the "grrrs" and " hisss" intermittently singing along with the artist). We used to wait for the December season concerts to be broadcasted over the radio and then analyse with a frenzy, the concert and the artist amongst ourselves and friends.

With all the onslaught of a variety of TV, Internet and other electronic and digital options fighting for the mind space of the listener , the AIR has with some intermittent shake-ups, has slowly stuck to its knitting and also evolved with a variety of FM options, privatised broadcast and a wide repertoire of programmes.

The auditorium at the Chennai station of AIR is really big and the acoustics quite good. The staff at the stations are quite competent and have a good experience in matters of recording, broadcast, programming etc.

What the government could however do better would be to motivate the employees, not so much with more money , but with equipping them with better technology, training, attention to a few details, more professionalism in work, reacting to competitive forces, better marketing and administrative abilities.

Archives and recordings of old masters could be made public, with innovative product and marketing techniques and thereby the music and art world will stand to benefit better with more listenership and effective learning.


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