All India Radio may have to stop all global short wave transmissions — eighty years after it began international broadcasting in 1939. AIR is resisting the move arguing that it will curtail its global reach. There are about 46 short wave transmitters that run both domestic and external services. Out of these, 28 are used for the external services alone. The external services are broadcast to 150 countries in 13 Indian languages and 15 foreign languages.
Barring three transmitters that were recently installed, all the others will have to be shut down over the next six-months.
Reason for suggesting shutdown of short wave transmitters
Prasar Bharati had written to the AIR in May third week asking it to come up with a proposal to phase out the short wave transmitters.
1. A study on short wave transmitters conducted by the Prasar Bharati had revealed that shutting down these transmitters would save the AIR nearly ₹60-70 crore. The majority of the transmitters were nearly 25 years old and obsolete.
2. Short Wave, as a mode of transmission, has very limited audience, which is further dwindling with time. Investments are required in newer ways of broadcasting, like Internet streaming, digital radio and in future satellite radio.
3. Moreover, short wave transmission did not bring in revenue and there was no way to assess the actual size of the audience that tune in to it. Questions were also raised about lack of editorial scrutiny.