There may be a drastic cut in FM western music programmes aired by All India Radio (AIR) in the national capital territory region.
AIR’s expected move comes on the back of findings of a radio listenership survey conducted from January 17-23 in NCR by the broadcaster’s audience research unit and a private agency.
Survey findings reveal that only two of the twelve western music programmes had listenership of more than 1.1%. All the ten other programmes had not more than 1.1% with four programmes recording zero listenership.
“As such, duration of western music programmes may be reduced by replacing those programmes which had 0% or less than 1% listening,” the survey report said.
However, Leeladhar Mandloi, AIR director general, terms the expected move as a ‘rationalizing’ move.
“The dip in listening of western music programmes has been constant since the last few years. Western music programmes were primed at the young generation but the survey findings unfortunately indicate they are not coming on board. In any case, they have alternative platforms in ipads and Youtube,” said Mandloi.
“We are not completely cutting down on western music programmes but we will have to undertake rationalization by replacing their slots with the programmes where listening is maximum. This is what all private broadcasters do.”
The survey covered 742 FM household radio households with 10 random samples from each urban ward in NCR.
“Those western music programmes which have not been accepted will be changed after we receive the final recommendations of a committee led by the additional director general,” added Mandloi.
The radio head stressed that western music would continue in be aired in areas where it has high listening like the Northeast and West Bengal.
Meanwhile, the huge western music archive would continue to be used by the regional centres through the programme exchange system that the pubcaster uses to make content available countrywide.
Western music programmes as compared to Hindi music programmes also face certain constraints as they cannot broadcast the latest in western music because of intellectual property rights issues as the rights lie with international parties.
“This is a very wrong and retrograde move. Western music is western only in name but is universal in appeal. It is very much liked and enjoyed by the people,” fumed Soli Sorabjee, legal luminary and jazz enthusiast. He also expressed his doubts on the sample selection.