Listeners in Kozhikode are going to miss some of their regular programmes on the All India Radio’s Amplitude Modulated (AM) transmission station available at the medium wave frequency of 684 kHz.
This follows the Prasar Bharati’s decision to merge the existing AM station and its Frequency Modulated (FM) service from the city, titled ‘Real FM’, available at 103.6 MHz, from Sunday.
Sources told The Hindu that this would impact the regional services being aired from Kozhikode. The AM station used to broadcast programmes for sectors such as education and agriculture, reflecting the social commitment of the public service broadcaster. The merger may put an end to such shows or reduce their number as the FM station is generally seen as an infotainment platform. A large number of artistes who regularly present programmes may also be rendered jobless. Another affected section will be the hundreds of casual staff, including announcers and news readers, who work on contract basis with the station. Their number will be cut down. Most of the other cities in the country, such as Bengaluru and Chennai, have two AIR FM stations apart from the MW station. There, the MW channel was merged with one of the FM channels and the other FM station was retained. In Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, there is only one FM station each. AM stations use analogue technology, which is now seen as an outdated one with the advent of digital technology. It is difficult to replace some of the old components of the medium wave transmitter. In view of this, the authorities had in 2020 decided to close down the Kozhikode AM station, but the plan was dropped following widespread criticism. Last year, the Prasar Bharati had also tried to convert the FM station as a centre to relay their programmes in Hindi while stopping many Malayalam programmes. This was revoked after MPs from the State raised the issue in Parliament. Now, the move is to slowly phase out the AM station. A similar plan has already been implemented with the Ananthapuri FM Station in Thiruvananthapuram shutting down services. Meanwhile, there is a demand to start a new FM station in Kozhikode as well.