A seemingly routine strike call by All India Radio and Doordarshan employees unions silenced Akashvani nationwide on Tuesday.
Doordarshan fared a little better and managed to link some of its regional channels to DD National ensuring viewers all over India got to see Mahesh Bhatt’s film Daddy.
A Delhi-based listener said, “I thought perhaps state mourning had been declared because all I heard was some instrumental recital on AIR FM.” The non-FM channels, meanwhile, were silent.
Two DD channels, however, were completely paralysed and ran only the SMPTE colour bars, which television engineers use as a test pattern. “I’ve spoken to the Kolkata police commissioner and the Bhubaneshwar police asking for protection for our employees who do want to work,” director general Doordarshan, Aruna Sharma said.
DD, she said, had prepared enough material for all its channels to pre-load on satellites to be able to broadcast on all channels till the 48-hour strike ended. “DD National, DD News and DD Sports were live through the day, and there were no problems with Urdu, Kashir, and Bharati” Sharma said.
Viewers of all four channels in DD’s South bouquet, DD North East and DD Punjabi had to make do with the film telecast feed lifted from DD National.
There was no word on whether AIR would fare better on Wednesday. Director general of All India Radio, Noreen Naqvi was not reachable.
The National federation of Akashvani and Doordarshan Employees, an umbrella body of 21 unions, said the strike was a resounding success.