MUMBAI: With constant innovations up their sleeves, All India Radio is ensuring all its stations move ahead in 2013 with unique strategies. Its Manjeri station in Kerala has gone down the path of change by employing student broadcasters for its programmes.
The station has selected a team of 26 students from across eight higher secondary schools in the Malappuram district. Having a journalism background, the students have been roped in to cover the annual 'All Kerala Youth State Schools Festival' from 14-20 January.
The fest features over 10,000 participants in 232 competitions across sectors like film, drama, music and literature. Having covered the fest every year, AIR aimed to provide more democracy in broadcasting and will witness the team of students participating and covering the live event. The students will host programmes like a one-hour special live from the field everyday at 7:30pm on the event, a special 15min chunk at 9:15pm and two minute slots aired throughout the day to update on news regarding the fest.
Speaking with Radioandmusic.com, All India Radio Manjeri programming head M Balakrishnan said, "This is the first year AIR has taken an initiative like this as we aim to fill up the gaps. The students who are participating at the event and covering it will be able to report better and there will be more genuineness in their stories. Its our initiative to get in more democracy in broadcasting. We have also designated slots throughout the day to focus on dedicated coverage of the event."
Even after the fest, the station is keen to take this initiative forward in the form of training the students in new media and technology, to provide employment in the station.
"All India Radio has witnessed a lot of change recently and we have upgraded our technology, as the transmitters are very good. The only drawback is the lack of manpower. We want the government to post more people here so that our engineering and programming departments are well looked after," he added.
Apart from that, they recently launched a new segment titled 'Human Rights Broadcast' as part of 'Open Radio'. The segment is featured during the daily news bulletin at 6pm. The 15minute bulletin features call-ins after the ninth minute, where callers can talk or share their views about a particular issue affecting them. They have also tied-up with women and child activists to report on any stories in the area.
With All India Radio revamping its stations across all cities, private broadcasters can now witness stiff competition as innovations are the focus now. Even AIR's Manjeri station will witness more such tie-ups with other festivals held in the state.