GUWAHATI, June 30 - The All India Radio (AIR) Guwahati will celebrate its 69th establishment day tomorrow. From its inception as the Shillong-Guwahati station of All India Radio on July 1, 1948, the Guwahati station of AIR is currently a full-fledged regional station airing wide-ranging programmes including news bulletins that have been able to retain their appeal even today despite the challenges posed by the boom in the electronic media.
�AIR Guwahati has come a long way since it was established in 1948. The good thing is that it has been able to retain its popularity and credibility. While we have added innovations including internet-enabled ones to enhance our appeal, especially among the tech-savvy young generation, the humble radio still remains the sole source of information to many living in remote areas. Radio news in this digital age has transformed itself to mobile platforms and is the only medium during natural calamities,� SN Pradhan, Director, News, AIR Guwahati, told The Assam Tribune.
The twitter handle of AIR news � airnewsalert � for instance, has crossed over a million followers. It is being updated frequently across the nation and it has been able to attract a huge number of visitors. �Many development and off-beat stories including those from Assam have found place in AIR news� twitter handle. Moreover, as it is interactive, it ensures viewers� participation at the same time,� Manas Pratim Sarma, News Editor, AIR Guwahati, said.
The Regional News Unit of AIR Guwahati was established in 1957, and it has since been among the most popular components of AIR Guwahati. News apart, it is the interactive programmes hosted by AIR Guwahati that have found a secure audience base over the years. Interactive and question-answer programmes on issues ranging from health and agriculture to special-occasion broadcasts have been quite popular and have widened the radio audience base. The live phone-in programmes on current issues such as the NRC updating, election awareness, information sharing on government schemes, etc., have benefited the listeners a lot.
The radio has been having a regular association with the district administrations, enabling the latter to reach out to the grassroots. �I have no hesitation in saying that the radio has been of tremendous help to the administration in establishing a connect with the people, particularly those living in interior areas. We often have to rely on the radio to carry plans and programmes of the government to the beneficiaries. Many places are still without electricity and radio happens to be the only mode to connect with these people,� Rakesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon, said.
LR Bishnoi, Additional DGP (BTAD), Assam, agrees. �Police has been actively taking recourse to the radio for dissemination of information and also for getting feedback through interactive programmes. During the large-scale Bodoland violence, we used the radio constantly to make announcements and to remain in touch with the people by disseminating relevant information. During times of natural disasters also, the radio comes in very handy. The best thing about the radio is you only need two batteries and nothing else,� he said.
Prateek Hajela, State Coordinator, NRC, also acknowledges the radio�s role during the complex NRC updating process. �The radio was an effective mechanism for communication with the public and the public could benefit by getting their doubts cleared,� he said.