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    Indian network 93.5 Red FM is back with its Thappa campaign to celebrate the best of Bengaluru.

    The campaign is a people’s choice award, where listeners from vote for their favourite places and services in their city and the most voted nominee is honoured with Red FM’s ‘Thappa’

    It is a four-week long activity that takes place across the 27 cities where the station broadcasts. 

    This is the fifth year of the campaign and the station has introduced eight new categories that will create an impact.

    These include Book stores, Tattoo Parlours, Bakeries, Micro-Breweries, Best Thaali/ Best Meals, Fitness centers, Best Biryani and Juice Junctions.

    Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM said: “It is our constant endeavor to engage and strengthen our connect with our listeners. The attitude of the people of Bengaluru, who chased big dreams in small ways and became the pride of the city is recognized by the listeners themselves, since it happens through a voting mechanism.” 


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    Indian network Radio City has announced a strategic expansion of its digital presence with the launch of will see best of terrestrial and web radio shows and will serve as the e-face of Radio City's 39 stations.

    The network’s long-running properties like Love Guru, Gig City, Joke Studio, Babber Sher and Radio City will supplement the 43 web-stations across multiple genres such as Bollywood, International, Indie, Devotional, Regional and non-film music on the platform.

    In order to appeal to a wider audience, Radio City's online content will be spread across 8 languages - Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Gujarati English and Malayalam.

    Rachna Kanwar, COO, Digital, Jagran New Media says: " will be an integral part of our mobile-first approach. Our new digital strategy will also see us adding more content, across languages to our existing digital bounty, in order to make the platform more relevant to listeners across different geographies." 

    " solidifies our position as the forerunner in the digital space while helping us retain us the numero uno spot across social media platforms. We are happy to provide our listeners with an all new digital experience which is a perfect blend of entertaining music and engaging content," said Abraham Thomas, CEO, Radio City 91.1 FM.

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    India’s international music station Indigo 91.9, Bangalore brought world music along with radio presenters from around the world to its listeners on World Music Day.

    On June 21, RJs from Indigo connected with the biggest radio presenters from around the globe as they celebrated all things music.

    Throughout the day, Indigo RJs Nathan, Lester and Shagufta conversed with well-known presenters including USA's Ryan Seacrest, Australia's Joel Carnige, Canada's Blair Henatyzen and many more from across countries like UK, New Zealand, Malaysia, Switzerland and others.

    Listeners also got a chance to hear the top songs trending in these countries. 

    The station also attempted to create the largest digitally sourced karaoke video, aiming at 919 entries, few of which were picked to be featured in the video.

    A final compilation was posted on Indigo 91.9’s social media handles, showcasing them singing to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’


    Speaking on the occasion, Satyanarayana Murthy, CEO remarked: “While music is at the core of our programming, we are also high on creating aspirational experiences for our large audience base. We have set a trend with our digital amplification and innovative content creation, which has helped us create so many firsts. For this World Music Day, we were keen to bring world music closer to our listeners and what better way than to have radio presenters talk about the music in their respective countries. Our engagement on digital is trendsetting and the high number of karaoke videos we received from fans bear testimony to that. It is an exciting journey and we are keen to generate more aspirational and experiential content for our listeners and fans”.

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    India’s Big FM network has refreshed its programming in Hyderabad to offer bilingual content.

    The station will now play Telugu as well as Hindi hits from the early 80s to early 2000 and has also made a few changes in its line-up.

    Early morning show ‘Subharambam’ will air from 5 am to 7 am, followed by breakfast show ‘Salaam Telangana’ hosted by RJ Shekhar Basha from 7 am to 11 am.

    Mid-morning show ‘Retro Talkies’ with RJ Swapan will air from 11 am to 2 pm and popular RJs Krish and Grace will host the afternoon show ‘Big Pop Corn’.

    An original satirical series called ‘Billa Ranga’, which as a feature for five years will now be expanded into a full-fledged series between 5 pm and 7 pm. It revolves around everyday conversations between two fictional characters based on the latest happenings in the city.

    Speaking on the re-launch, a spokesperson said"Our strategy is to strengthen our position as the most heard radio station in a multi-faceted dominant market like Hyderabad by ensuring a good mix of Hindi and Telugu music on a single frequency. This, along with localized shows and innovative formats will work as a major differentiator for the network. This transformation into a bilingual format will consolidate our diverse listener base in the city in a way that will bring immense value and benefit to our advertisers and stakeholders." 

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    India’s Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry is reportedly thinking of corporatising public broadcasting agency Prasar Bharti.

    The move is apparently aimed to reduce its reliance on public funds and to give it more financial and decision-making independence.

    In January, Hindustan Times had reported that a panel of secretaries had made a presentation to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in which they recommended turning Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) into corporate entities and doing away with Prasar Bharati as a state property.

    The ministry had asked Prasar Bharati for its feedback on the proposal.

    Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body set up by an act of Parliament and runs AIR, which has 416 stations, and Doordarshan, which operates 23 TV channels. 

    While all of its expenses are paid for by the central government, ad revenues have been steadily declining over the years.

    The ministry has allocated $464.71 million (Rs 29.96 billion) to Prasar Bharti in the year 2017-18, up from $429 million (Rs 27.66 billion) last year – when its accumulated loss was $327 million (Rs 21 billion).

    Earlier this month, media professional Shashi Shekhar Vempati was appointed as the CEO of Prasar Bharti – the first time that a person who is not from the Indian Administrative Service has been selected to run the organisation.

    Vempati is trying to modernise the public broadcaster, starting by upgrading its digital presence.

    The broadcaster’s website is being updated, content is being monetized and its IT system is being overhauled.

    Earlier in 2014, another committee had recommended structural reforms in Prasar Bharti to diversify its funding sources, opening doors to private investment and outsourcing content creation to external producers to attract quality, but not much happened on the ground.

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    ndian network 92.7 Big FM has refreshed its positioning to offer bilingual content in Bengaluru - the capital of the southern state of Karnataka.

    It will now play adult contemporary music in Kannada and Hindi.

    The day begins with local Kannada music at 5 am, followed by the breakfast show Big Coffee hosted by RJ Shruti at 7 am. RJ Rohit hosts the afternoon show Nayaka.

    The station plays evergreen Bollywood songs from 4 pm to 12 am on some of its syndicated national shows.

    A spokesperson from the station said: “Bengaluru is the melting pot of diverse cultures. The revamp of the station is our endeavour to offer fresh and engaging content that will perfectly coincide with the vibrant vibe of the city.”

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  • 07/06/17--11:34: Radio in the digital age


    Article by Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM, India 

    The radio industry is a very small part of the broadcasting universe. At 2300 odd crores of rupees, we comprise of about 5% of the broadcasting sector in India.

    Although the reach and impact of radio in India includes the public service broadcaster and community radio when I say 'radio'; it is considerably greater than its rupee value. Its modest market share is probably the reason why the path to digitization of radio is so poorly defined. Radio should be as much a part of our master plan for the 'Digital India Vision 2020'.

    It talks about digital infrastructure as a must-have utility for every citizen. If we go by available research data on media habits it is alarming to note that the consumption habits of audiences are changing almost every quarter. Once Digital India is implemented, there is no doubt that media consumption patterns in the country will go through a huge, dramatic change.

    Our current situation

    As a media market, we have the best of both worlds: multiplicity of genres as well as diversity of languages. Radio is a powerful medium that gains from these advantages. It is not only interactive, but is also very local in nature and is free of costs, unlike C&S television. There are many technologies we need to experiment with to realize the vision of Digital Radio in India, while remaining true to radio's fundamental character as an interactive, free-of-cost, local medium.

    All said and done, radio is growing at steady speed. Today it is the second fastest growing sector after internet in India. While Digital is growing exponentially, private FM radio in India is growing at a formidable 14.5%, and that is primarily because of FM expansion in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, although the ad-pie continues to be only 4%. This is not very encouraging as internationally, in countries like US, the radio ad pie is about 14 %. However, we hope to see it grow to 7% in India by 2020.

    Barriers faced by the radio industry

    The unfortunate thing is that the world has gone digital while we are still talking analogue FM technology with a horizon spanning over 15 years. What I mean is, in this digital age, one of the biggest drivers for broadcast media is technological advancement, which could drive both content and revenue.

    For instance, the public service broadcaster, All India Radio, has introduced Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmitters. These are now capable of transmitting signals in analogue, digital or even simulcast mode (that is, a mix of both analogue & digital). This progressive technology has replaced 37 obsolete Medium Wave and Short Wave transmitters of AIR. However, private FM broadcasters are still operating on analogue FM technology and paying a huge license fee for it.

    Though the trend of AIR shifting to DRM is encouraging, the challenges faced by terrestrial radio from streaming platforms (web and mobile) cannot be ignored. The digital audio entertainment sector is fast changing. The likes of Saavn and Gaana are establishing themselves and have become a major competitor to the radio industry today. While they are seamlessly interactive, they also offer on demand services etc. They are luring audiences away from broadcast radio, just as Netflix and its competitors are taking away mass audiences from television and cinema.

    In a nutshell, listeners want to take control of their music, and thus the penetration of broadband internet makes it easier for them. Consumers have become platform agnostic; content is king and customer convenience is paramount.

    So, the challenge is not one Private FM player competing with another player; the challenge is the battle of FM players against the ever-changing technology around it. The listeners here have far more options to listen to their kind of music rather than FM radio – there are web radio, podcasts, audio-on-demand etc.

    iHeartRadio is another such global example that provides an all-in-one listening experience, bringing a variety of content to the listener, be it music, news, talk radio, sports or comedy. Along with aggregating most US radio stations, iHeartRadio then distributes this content over the internet through web or mobile, whichever medium is desired by the digitized listener. Now this is something we need to experiment with in India, and adapt to our conditions.

    In India, another challenge is that high end smart phones have done away with FM tuners altogether. Decision makers in the mobile industry view internet radio as the way forward. Their logic is simple: data brings in money while FM radio is free. This is an area of concern. The importance of terrestrial radio has to be properly understood beyond its rupee value.

    Besides regular programming and the entertainment that it provides, it has always played the age-old role in disaster management. When the telephone system is down and neither the television nor the internet works, FM radio is usually the only medium of communication available during emergencies, broadcasting useful news and information. We have seen this during the Chennai floods; during cyclones in Orissa; the Mumbai floods of 2005: all occasions when FM radio proved its worth time and again.                                                                                                                                      

    I should point out here that India is one of the very few countries in the world wherein news is not allowed on private radio stations. This has had a very damaging effect both on the growth of radio as well as its impact. Local news is the lifeline of radio broadcasting. The government expects us to use FM radio for disseminating information during emergencies. I want to stress on the point that, in the absence of any kind of news-gathering experience, the ability of private and community radio broadcasters to disseminate news during disasters would be limited.

    Another challenge for us is the ability of digital media – and social media – to reach out to the retail market to generate revenue, much more efficiently than the traditional radio industry. The bottleneck here is the lack of proper measurement systems in terrestrial radio. There is no proper data available on the radio industry, especially when compared to digital, and that makes the business self-limiting.

    In an ideal scenario, all strata of society should consume digital radio as a mass medium. However, in the current situation, the cost of digital receivers (upward of Rs. 13,000 per receiver) becomes an entry barrier for most listeners. In this context, the DAB transition in Norway is worth citing. Norway has switched from FM to DAB radio, through the 'pop-your-phone' route. With a simple dongle, every smart phone becomes a digital radio! I think we should consider learning from their experiment.

    It's not just the cost of digital receivers: the switchover cost to digital broadcast technologies like DRM is exorbitant for broadcasters as well. I doubt if radio operators can support such investments at present. The issues therefore are clearly about availability, access, and the cost of digital radio for both listeners and broadcasters. Because of this, the progress of DAB is quite sluggish in India.

    Consumer electronics companies have been reluctant from the beginning to invest in this technology. This does not help matters, as they refuse to mass-produce compatible receivers. This unfortunately makes the term 'digital radio' in India mean radio-like services such as audio streaming via wireless broadband, rather than digital terrestrial radio.

    The way forward

    One can't rule out the potential of digital audio streaming and aggregators like iHeartradio, NPR, BBC, and other podcast platforms. It is mainly through this yardstick that we can suggest some measures for the radio landscape in this country to be ready for the future.

    First and foremost, we need relevant information on radio digitization from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Though All India Radio has been experimenting with DRM for quite some time, we know next to nothing about the impact of DRM implementation and its implications.

    This should be followed by a study on the current scenario of DAB receivers in India. And, further to that, a roadmap to expand the availability of cheaper digital radio sets in the country. This should include digital car receivers as well.

    The current cost of digital receivers is a huge concern. We have the classic example of the high cost of World Space receivers, which was too big a challenge for a price-sensitive market like India. The DAB platform today needs to advance beyond the clock-plus-radio image and continue to provide solutions such as dongles and adapters. We now need to explore compatibility of DAB with other devices like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast etc.

    The long journey could even begin with bringing DAB in tune with DTH Set Top Boxes, and providing sops to manufacturers of mobile phones to enable handsets with DAB receivers. We should, in fact, look at a phased transition to DAB, with internet radio as an add-on digital feed for existing FM radio operators.

    The advantage of radio is that it is free. Data costs money. In the interest of reaching out to a larger audience, perhaps TRAI should ask mobile operators to allow radio streaming for free. This will mean larger coverage and higher acceptance of the medium.

    Of course, this would also mean that the government should step in and give us clarity on music royalties on digital audio. As FM broadcasters pay huge royalties to audio music companies, the government should intervene to allow non-interactive digital music rights to FM operators at a nominal add-on cost.  That is the only way to make the business viable. This will ensure that radio transmission in the country is seamless, uninterrupted, and thus dependable.

    The crux of the matter is that the internet has grown by leaps and bounds while FM radio in India has been the last among broadcasters to "negotiate" digitization.  It has become a chicken and egg situation now. Will broadcasters invest in digital technology before we have widespread availability of digital receivers, or vice versa?  That clarity can only come from the government.

    Radio is a medium that is portable, effortless, affordable, wide-spread yet influential and engaging. India has successfully implemented digital migration for television. It's now the radio industry's turn.

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    Indian network Big FM is back with the second season of its ‘Birthday Game', offering prizes worth $10835 (Rs 700,00) every day.

    The latest edition will air from July 17 to 28, during the breakfast show between 8am and 10 am across 61 cities.

    The presenters begin the game by requesting listeners to send in messages with their names and birth dates.

    They will then spin a wheel to pick out a date, followed by the month.

    A total of 10 winners will be selected each day, who also stand a chance to double their prize if they call the RJ within an hour of their name being declared. 

    Commenting on the new edition, a spokesperson from the company said: "Birthday Game will not just deliver entertainment but will also elevate the exhilaration of listeners whether they win the game or not.”

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    The Telecom Authority of India (TRAI) has floated a consultation paper on issues related to digital radio broadcasting in India.

    Currently, terrestrial radio coverage in the ocuntry is available in Frequency Modulation (FM) mode and Amplitude Modulation (AM) mode (Short Wave and Medium Wave).

    TRAI has noted that while All India Radio (AIR) is active in implementation of digital radio in MW and SW bands, there appears to be no clarity in the current policy guidelines regarding “provisioning of digital radio service in FM band” for private broadcasters.

    AIR has 420 stations (AM & FM) that cover almost 92 per cent of the country by area and more than 99.20 per cent of the country’s population.

    Private radio broadcasters operate 293 radio stations only in the FM frequency band (88-108 MHz).

    According to the regulator, the consultation paper – which it has issued suo moto, aims to develop an ecosystem to encourage existing private FM broadcasters to evaluate digital radio broadcasting.

    FM primarily uses analogue transmission, which can provide only one channel per frequency, limiting services provided by existing FM channels to their listeners.

    “Analogue terrestrial radio broadcasting when compared with digital mode is inefficient and suffers with operational restrictions. Digital radio technologies can overcome problems faced in analogue transmission with exciting new capabilities and promises fast growth,” the regulator said in a statement.

    It also highlighted that with digital broadcasting, broadcasters will be able to air three-four programmes/channels on a single frequency compared to analogue mode which allows broadcast of only one programme per frequency.

    Digital radio broadcasting has been around for some time now and countries across the world are moving towards it by drawing the roadmap for switchover to digitisation.

    The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommendations have described four major standards for broadcast of digital radio which are DAB, ISDB-TSB, HD Radio and DRM.

    India’s government took the first step for transitioning AIR’s analogue services to digital mode in three phases 2010.

    AIR adopted the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard for low frequency band (MW and SW) and has recently concluded phase-I of digitisation of its network with deployment of 37 DRM transmitters throughout the country.

    The questions raised by TRAI in its paper are:

    • Is there a need to encourage or facilitate introduction of digital radio transmission at present? If so, what measures do you suggest and in which market?
    • Is there a need to frame a roadmap for migration to digital radio broadcasting for private FM broadcasters? If yes, which approach, mentioned in para 4.7, should be adopted? Please give your suggestions with justification.
    • Should the date for digital switch over for radio broadcasting in India need to be declared? If yes, please suggest the date with suitable justification. If no, please give reason to support your view.
    • Is present licensing framework or regulatory framework is restrictive for migration to digital radio broadcasting? Please explain with justification.
    • Should single digital radio technology be adopted for entire country or choice of technology should be left to radio broadcasters? Support your reply with Justification.
    • In case a single digital radio broadcast technology is to be adopted for the entire country, which technology should be adopted for private FM radio broadcasting? Please give your suggestions with detailed justification.
    • How issues of interference and allocation of appropriate spectrum allocation can be settled in case the option to choose technology is left to radio broadcasters?
    • Should the permission for operating FM channel be delinked from technology used for radio broadcasting? If yes, please provide a detailed framework with justification.
    • Should the existing operational FM radio channels be permitted to migrate to digital broadcasting within assigned radio frequency? If yes, should there be any additional charges as number of available channels in digital broadcasting will increase? Please provide a detailed framework for migration with justification.
    • Should the future auction of remaining FM channels of Phase-III be done delinking it from technology adopted for radio broadcasting? Please give your suggestions with detailed justification.
    • In case future auction of remaining FM channels of Phase-III is done delinking it from technology, should the present auction process be continued? If no, what should be the alternate auction process? Please give your suggestions with detailed justification.
    • What modifications need to be done in FM radio policy to use allocated FM radio channels in technology neutral manner for Radio broadcasting?
    • What measures should be taken to reduce the prices of digital radio receivers and develop ecosystem for migration to digital radio broadcasting?

    Stakeholders have been asked to respond to the various questions raised by TRAI by September 4 with counter-comments if any by September 18.


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    A group of Community Radios operating in different states of India will meet on August 2 and 3 at Prasar Bharati Training Centre, Bhubaneswar, Odisha to share their experiences.

    They will aim to build a strong perspective for bringing social change by helping people assert their rights and reducing their vulnerabilities.

    The event is being organised by Radio Namaskar - the first Community Radio of Odisha, whose objective is to make common people better informed and more active participants of the community development process.

    It will also feature an exhibition of best practices of Community Radios from different states, which will be open to the public.

    A book capturing these best practices and the learnings and experiences of the Community Radios will also be released at the event.

    Community Radio Stations typically broadcast in FM band with low power transmitters restricting its coverage to the local community within approximately 10 KM.

    There are 206 operational CRS at present in India.

    Photo: Radio Namaskar

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    Indian network Radio City 91.1 FM has relaunched its flagship show Love Guru in a new time band in Delhi.

    The show, which has been on air for 15 years, will now air Monday to Friday at 9 pm.

    It addresses relationship issues, offering relationship counselling and advice and will now feature a new segment called Love Guru Diaries which takes listeners down memory lane by revisiting callers from the last few years and reconnecting with them.

    Another segment lets listeners dedicate messages for their loved ones on Love Guru Love Line

    A fresh jingle has also been designed to celebrate the fifteen years of Love Guru on Radio City 91.1 FM in Delhi.

    Kartik Kalla, EVP and National Head, Programming, Marketing Audacity, Radio City says: “After a successful stint of 15 years as a late night show, we now reposition Love Guru as a complete package with a new jingle in the prime time band.”

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    Indian network MY FM, the radio division of the Dainik Bhaskar Group, recently took its radio reality show ‘Paiso Ka Ped’ (Tree of Money) to Nashik.

    MY FM 104.2 FM had launched in the city in January this year.

    The month-long campaign, which was broadcast live on the station, gave a chance to listeners to win from an actual money-tree placed in a local mall.

    It saw more than 5000 registrations, followed by an audition where top 20 finalists were selected.

    The contestants had to hold a specially fabricated tree made with coins and currency notes and whoever managed to hold it for the longest duration would be the winner.

    After 73 hours, the winner Abhishek Lahare, an Engineering student walked away with prize money of $4667 (Rs 300,000).

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    Indian network Radio City 91.1 FM has announced Cine Awards 2017, an award initiative to felicitate regional film fraternity in the country.

    Radio City Cine Awards 2017 Tamil is a listener choice award that will let fans choose their favourite Tamil film artists and technicians. 

    The selection process will determine nominees and winners based on public voting on the airwaves, through SMS and on social media.

    There are 10 different categories including Favourite Actor, Favourite Actress, Favourite Director, Favourite Lyrics, Favourite music composer, Favourite Singer male, Favourite singer female, favourite comedian, Favourite Cinematographer and Favourite Movie.

    Voting for nomination starts from July 24 and public voting to choose the winners starts from July 31.

    This will culminate into a grand award night on air where winners will be announced and felicitated.

    Abraham Thomas, CEO, Radio City 91.1FM said: "Very few award platforms aim to empower the consumer and recognize talent based on public opinion. We will soon launch this initiative for our Kannada, Telugu, Marathi Gujarati, Bhojpuri and other audience." 

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    Mumbai University’s FM radio service 'Mumbai University Students Transmission' (MUST) 107.8 FM, which was launched by India’s then President Pratibha Patil in 2008, has been off air for the last few months.

    The reason behind this is a damaged transmitter, whichdeveloped trouble three months ago, and efforts to make it operational have been stuck in red tape.

    According to a Right to Information (RTI) query, the FM service was set up by incurring a cost of $35,680 (Rs 2.3 million) and has had recurring expenses of $18,616 (Rs 1.2 million) per year even as the service remains non-functional.  

    Community radio broadcasting was opened up for academic institutions in India through a policy introduced in December, 2002, which was expanded in 2006 to include NGOs as well.

    Anna University, Chennai’s Anna FM was the first to go on air in 2004 and now there are more than 30 campus radio services in operation.

    MUST Radio was a mix of information and entertainment, broadcasting community-related programmes as well as public lectures and discussions dealing with students’ issues.

    The channel had claimed a listenership between 70,000 and 100,000, within a five mile radius of the university campus.

    Over the years, 1500 students have benefited from its internship program, including popular local AIR presenters like Amit Dwiwedi, Roshni Shinde, Amit Jadhav and Sharmeen.

    Repairing its damaged transmitter is expected to cost $930 (₹60,000).

    Pankaj Athawale, coordinator of the channel, told The Hindu: “In the first week of March, the transmitter, which is around 11 years old, conked off. The entire administration of the MU has collapsed. Procedures and practices followed by the administration and accounts departments of the MU function are ad hoc and red tape is the sole cause of the current predicament. I have conveyed to the audit department officials of MU and told them that all the apparent systems in place in the university are only on paper.”

    Athawale, who has been on contract since 2008, said work at the university was carried out using age-old procedures, without proper documentation, and on orders passed on by clerks and accountants.

    He told the publication:“Things have come to such a pass that vendors have refused to provide technical and operational support till their long-pending dues are cleared by the MU. A year ago, we tried tendering for the transmitter, but somewhere along the MU-prescribed process, the documents got lost or buried in bureaucratic red tape.”

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    India’s HT Media stations Fever FM, Mumbai and Radio Nasha, Delhi have increased their ad rates.

    Networks in the country have been hiking their ad prices over the last few months following the auctions of the second batch of Phase 3 of FM licensing.

    The rates on Fever and Nasha have been increased by 25 percent and the channel ascribes it to its leadership position in both cities.

    Fever 104 FM is the leading CHR station in Mumbai with 16.2 percent share and a TSL of over 360 minutes according to RAM 2017 figures.

    Radio Nasha, Delhi, which was launched on April 2016 as a retro station and features a number of celebrity hosts like Anil Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Amit Kumar and Salim Khan, has 12.4 percent share, 252 minutes TSL and over 6.6 million cumes in the RAM figures.

    Harshad Jain, CEO – Radio and Entertainment, HT Media, said: “The increase is keeping into account the continued growth in listenership and our constant endeavour of keeping advertising inventory under control.”

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    India’s Ishq 104.8 FM has launched Gaydio, the country’s first LGBTQ show.

    Ishq is a romantic music channel that broadcasts in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

    Owned by the India Today group, it was launched in 2007 as Meow FM – the country’s first talk-based station or women, relaunched as Oye FM – a film music format station in 2010 and as Ishq FM in September 2016.

    Hosted by well-known LGBTQ activist Harish Iyer, Gaydio aims to disclose people’s narrative about the struggles of coming out of the closet and also showcase experiences and anecdotes of individuals who have taken a step in this direction.

    Iyer had shot to fame after his mother posted India’s first gay matrimonial advertisement in a local Mumbai publication in 2015.

    The show, which airs on Sundays at noon, wants to act as a platform to bring out different voices and spread the message that it’s time for people to reveal themselves.

    Speaking about the show, Iyer says: “My intent is to keep it as inclusive and personal as possible. Radio is a very personal medium. The fact that it is a sound only medium makes it a more universal and a more accessible medium. I am sure initiatives like these would give the listener a better understanding of gender and sexuality. This show would focus on the lives of LGBTQ people and understand that we are all the same and that #LoveIsLove without tags.”

    Ishq FM’s National Head – Operations Shivangini Jajoria said: “With Gaydio we want to reinstitute the fact that Love is not conditional to sexuality. We as a station finally want to hear the unheard voices of the nation.’’

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    Indian network Big FM has expanded its footprint in the North East region of the country with the launch of four new stations.

    The frequencies acquired by the network during the FM Phase 3 auctions were 92.7 in Agartala, Itanagar, Aizwal and 98.3 in Shillong.

    With these new launches, Big FM now broadcasts in 61 cities, making it the largest radio network in the country.

    The music format in the four markets includes Hindi CHR in Itanagar, Hindi and Bengali CHR  in Agartala, timeless English and Khasi songs in Shillong and English and Mizo songs from the golden era in Aizwal.

    The network will also air local content along with its national syndicated shows.

    A spokesperson from the company said: "The north-east region comprises a varied mix of audiences that enjoy regional, Hindi and English music.  Based on this cultural diversity we aim to cater to listeners with differential music and our national and award-winning shows. Also, now with our network across five markets we will have the largest presence in this region."

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    India’s Music Broadcast Limited (MBL), which runs Radio City FM network, has reported higher than expected EBITDA margin in its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

    According to the results, its revenue grew by 12 percent from Rs 628 million in Q1 FY17 to Rs 703 million in Q1 FY18.

    EBITDA grew by 16 percent from Rs 191 million to Rs 222 million and Cash PAT was up by 42 percent from Rs 121 million to Rs 172 million.

    It has operationalised 11 new stations acquired in Phase III, with utilisation levels of 25-35%  and increased its market share by about 2% in Q1FY18 in terms of volume compared to Q1FY17.

    In a release, MBL said that according to AZ Research, Radio City had 52.5 million listeners in 23 cities.

    Commenting on the results Apurva Purohit, Director, said: “The performance of the company for the quarter has been better than expectation. We have been able to deliver margins of 32% and show growth of 16%; despite additional operating cost of the new stations. This is because of rate hike in the legacy stations as well as better than expected utilization in the new markets. Our strategy of profitable growth and not bidding high costs for acquisition in Phase III along with maintaining lowest cost per million is delivering results. Going ahead in the future I see better utilization in our new stations supported by increased utilization and price hike in our legacy stations. We are confident on maintaining our current level of EBITDA Margins and achieve our long-term goal of profitable leadership.”

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    Indian network Radio City has announced the launch of Season 9 of its singing talent hunt ‘Radio City Super Singer’.

    This year, the contest will air in 39 cities across 12 states and provide promising singers a platform to showcase their talent.

    The current season of the show is expected to reach over 52.5 million listeners. 

    The auditions for Radio City Super Singer are already underway and will close on August 11.

    Participants can register by calling, on and on the station’s social media platforms.

    Five shortlisted candidates from each city will get a chance to compete for the crown at the grand finale on August 19.

    The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $1570 (Rs. 100,000) and a chance to be featured live on Radio City. 

    Kartik Kalla, EVP & National Head – Programming, Marketing & AudaCITY, Radio City 91.1FM said: "The show has produced some exceptional talent and served as a launch pad for many budding artist to make it big in the industry."

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    India’s Red FM network has announced the dates for its new music and comedy property 'MusiCom'.

    This format will give the audience a chance to catch well-known fusion band Indian Ocean along with rising stars of satirical humour – Aisi Taisi Democracy.

    After Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Kolkata, the event will take place on August 12 in Bangalore. 

    Indian Ocean is one of the most widely respected bands in India, with a career spanning over two decades.  They were the first Indian band on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and have also  composed music for many Bollywood movies.

    Aisi Taisi Democracy comprises of Sanjay Rajoura, a stand-up comedian and social-satirist, writer and lyricist Varun Grover, and Indian Ocean's Vocalist and Bassist Rahul Ram.

    Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM, said: " Music and Comedy go hand in hand where entertainment is concerned. Just like Aisi Taisi Democracy ours is also a satirical brand. It made perfect sense to kickstart MusiCom with these artists."

    Rahul Ram, who is the common link between both Indian Ocean as well as Aisi Taisi Democracy added: "Since I am a part of both I will practically be on stage for the entire show. I'm sweating it but I'm loving it."

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