Saturday, March 31, 2012

International Reply Coupons

According to "Stamp Magazine" from 18 February 2012 Post Offices in the UK no longer sell International Reply Coupons.These were once the universal "currency" of DXers chasing QSLs. (via BDXC-UK)
An International Reply Coupon (IRC) is a device by which a person in one member country of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) can prepay the return airmail postage cost of a letter of a specific maximum weight from a different UPU member country. At the time of writing and in theory at least, IRCs are exchangeable in all countries with the exception of Taiwan. UPU member countries may decide not to sell IRCs, (notably the Netherlands and Sweden, amongst others) but their exchange is compulsory in all countries. (More details at and the UPU website Via Mike Terry in dxld)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I&B Ministry seeks Rs 1,574 cr for Prasar Bharati

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has sought funds worth nearly Rs 1,574 crore from the Centre this year for national broadcaster Prasar Bharati, according to a document presented in the Parliament today. The Ministry, in its 'Detailed demand for grants', has sought Rs 240 crore as general grants-in-aid for Prasar Bharati, while another Rs 53.7 crore has been sought as grants for creation of capital assets by Prasar Bharati. Another Rs 1,280 crore has been sought as grants-in-aid (salaries) for Prasar Bharati.
Among other key demands for grants include a demand of over Rs 84 crore for promotion of films-related activity. The I&B Ministry has also sought Rs 4.38 crore to run its Electronic Media Monitoring Centre, besides funds worth Rs 13.5 crore to meet the financial requirements of Film and Television Institute of India.
( via Business Standard 29/3)

Times Internet in talks with All India Radio to bring IPL commentary on radio channel

 Times Internet (TIL), the internet and mobile venture of Times Group, said on Wednesday that it was in talks with All India Radio ( AIR) for broadcasting commentary of all Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. 

TIL has offered to share revenues equally with the government's radio channel in the tie-up, chief executive officer Rishi Khiani said. TIL is aiming to seal the agreement before the fifth season of the IPL, a T20 format of cricket, which begins on April 4. 

A TIL-led consortium paid Rs 261.6 crore last year to acquire IPL's global internet, mobile and radio rights, as well as television rights in some territories for four years. TIL also partnered with Google last year to stream IPL matches on Indiatimes and Youtube. 

Around 72 million people in India watched the fourth season of the IPL online, spending on an average one hour and 15 minutes everyday. For the fifth season, online viewers will get an improved viewing experience on a revamped website with new technology. 

The new look of the website will feature high-definition streaming of the matches, which will adapt to slow data speeds and bandwidth availability and offer buffer-free viewing. 

An interactive score card will show important highlights such as wickets and runs scored. 

With the digital video recording feature, viewers will be able to go back to any point in the match and watch important developments. The video-on-demand feature will offer highlight packages such as fours, sixes and face-offs between players occurred during the match. Sponsors will be able to integrate their advertisements to specialise this page. 

TIL is creating content to host on the website and has also tied up with seven teams to offer their merchandise on the portal. The company will introduce new pages on news, latest tweets from players, fun facts, player information and interviews, merchandise, statistics, match schedule by team, date and venue. 

Users will be allowed to use their own cheerleaders who will appear on the page to cheer on key moments during live streaming of the match. 

Times Internet will also introduce IPL Battleground where viewers can participate in live discussions and support their teams. 

TIL will spend around $7 million on marketing this IPL season online and has created applications for Android platform, the iPhone and iPad. 

Coke, Samsung, Maruti Suzuki, HUL, Hero, Citi Bank, Ebay, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Karbonn Mobiles will sponsor the online broadcast of the 51-day tournament this year.
( via The Economic Times 29/3)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DW: User of the week

If you are a devoted DW user and would like to be presented as DW's next "User of the Week" on 
myDW? Then please simply fill in their short form on the following link and you will be notified if you choose by DW as their "User of the Week".

DW and you - Contest results

Countless users took part in the 'DW and you!' contest  – and DW would like to take the time to thank each and every one for bringing DW to every part of the world.
Winners of an iPad:

Barbara B.-F., Italy
Hany A., Egypt
Siham M., Morocco
Winners of a Nokia Smartphone: 

Alexandre K. M., Brazil
Ana Teresa P. C., Mexico
Belkis C., Venezuela
Emilio Carlos E., Mosambique
Enrique I. Z., Peru
Erda T., Indonesia
Eseenam Amevi B., Togo
Hao L., China
Issa Ibrahim N., Tanzania
Jesus Agustín G. M., Mexico
José Miguel M., Argentina
Juan C., Mexico
Ksenia S., Ukraine
Martha P., Dominican Republic Republik
Nataliya K., Ukraine
Pratika U., India
Stu M., New Zealand
Sumitra S., USA
Wu K., China
Mr. Xue F., China
Deutsche Welle congratulates you!
All winners will be informed by e-mail.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The SLBC staff pay their last respect to the late veteran announcer Mrs. Rajeshwary Shanmugam.

The body of the late popular SLBC announcer and artiste Mrs. Rajeshwary Shanmugam was kept at the SLBC premises this morning for the staff to pay their last respects to her. The parliamentarian A.H.M.Azwar said that the late Mrs. Rajeshwary performed her duties in cooperation and in a friendly manner with all the other staff. He said it is exemplary to the future generation. The parliamentarian said that her drama programmes were very attractive. The Chairman of the SLBC Mr. Hudson Samarasinghe said that the later Mrs. Rajeshwary Shanmugam had a great love towards the SLBC and she voluntarily taught Tamil language to the Sinhala announcers. He said he was also one of the persons who learnt Tamil from her. Mr. Samarasinghe said that she spent most of her time in the SLBC. 

The Senior Media Personnel A.M.Ameen said that the late Mrs. Shanmugam earned a reputation as an announcer and a drama producer for over a period of 30 years. Mrs. Sumana Nellampitiya said that the late Mrs. Shanmugam made a great service as a teacher to the announcers of the Tamil Service. The veteran announcer Abdul Hameed and several other announcers and artiste also spoke at this function. At present the body of the late Mrs. Shanmugam is being kept at the National Art Gallery in Colombo. The funeral will be held at the Borella cemetery this evening. (Written by sanath to

Friday, March 23, 2012


The world Amateur Radio Day is celebrated every year on 18th April to commemorate the formation of International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) on this day in 1925 at Paris. The QARL celebrates the event every year on 18th April or the nearest Sunday by conducting Ham fair. This year the programme will be held on Sunday, the 22nd April.
The formation of QARL HEART (Ham Emergency And Rescue Team) will be announced on 18th April, 2012. A special issue of 'QARL News' will also be published on this occasion. You are requested to contribute articles and advertisements well in advance. On behalf of the QARL, we invite you along with your family and friends to participate in the program and make it a grand success. Looking forward for a memorable eye-ball. Please visit (Rajesh.R.K. Nair, VU2IDB, Treasurer,QARL)

BBC's top executive Thompson to step down

British Broadcasting Corporation's director-general Mark Thompson will step down later this year

British Broadcasting Corporation's director-general Mark Thompson will step down later this year after eight years at the helm of the world's largest public broadcaster.
Thompson, the BBC's longest-serving director-general since the 1970s, will relinquish his post following the London Olympic Games in July and August that the commercial-free network will broadcast, officially stepping away some time in the autumn, the company reported yesterday, citing an internal letter.

The BBC has been cutting jobs and consolidating offices to grapple with a reduced budget. The company, which is funded by fees from UK television viewers, said in October that it will cut 2,000 jobs and move offices and production outside its London base in an effort to reduce costs after its funding was frozen. The BBC has undergone spending cuts of more than £1 billion (Dh5.82 billion) since 2008.

Cost cutting plans
Chris Patten, the chairman of the trust that sets BBC strategy and budgets, said in September that the radio and TV broadcaster may have to eliminate some foreign news bureaus. The company agreed in July to share its right to broadcast the Formula One auto-racing series with British Sky Broadcasting Group to save money. Thompson took the job in May 2004, leaving his position as CEO at Channel 4 television, a separate UK public broadcaster. His predecessor, Greg Dyke, stepped down after the BBC's editorial policy was censured for a broadcast report that said intelligence justifying Britain's involvement in the Iraq war had been exaggerated. The report was found to be faulty after an investigation by the UK House of Lords, and the BBC was criticised for having a defective editorial system. ( 23/03)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Govt eyes Rs. 1,500 cr revenue from FM radio auction

The Phase-III license would extend FM radio services to about 227 new cities, in addition to the present 86 cities, and would result in coverage of all cities with a population of one lakh and above through private FM channels The government on Tuesday said it expects to garner Rs. 1,500 crore in revenue from the auction of FM Radio Phase III license, for providing services in 227 cities, in addition to 86 cities covered currently. "Total revenue expectation from three phases of (Phase III) FM radio auction is Rs. 1,500 crore.

They (Finance Ministry) have given estimates for first phase, which is Rs. 500 crore," Information and Broadcasting secretary Uday Kumar Verma told reporters on the sidelines of the CASBAA India Forum 2012.  "The auction will be conducted in phases. We will complete first phase by the end of this year," Verma said. The Phase I and Phase II auctions led to total revenue accrual of about Rs. 1,733 crore up to 31 May 2011 by way of one time entry fee, migration fee and annual fee among others.

The Phase-III license would extend FM radio services to about 227 new cities, in addition to the present 86 cities, and would result in coverage of all cities with a population of one lakh and above through private FM channels. In its budget proposals for 2012-13, the government said last week that it had estimated to raise non-tax revenue of Rs. 1,600 crore from auction of FM phase III license, but this auction have not materialised so far in this financial year, ending 31 March 2012. [ 21/03]

FM radio Phase 3 licences auction may be postponed again

The auctioning of new FM radio licences has hit another wrong frequency. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources say the Phase 3 auctions may now only begin by end of August.
For radio stations keen on tuning into newer towns, this comes as another setback to their expansion plans.
According to an I&B Ministry source, a new post of Joint Secretary is being created to handle digitisation and FM phase 3 licensing. "This has been agreed by the Department of Expenditure and is going to Cabinet for approval," said the source.
Already, the FM radio expansion plan has run into many delays. The Union Cabinet had approved the proposal for granting new FM radio licences to private players in July 2011, and said the process would be completed before the end of this fiscal. Later, it got postponed to April 2012.


The repeated delay of the auction process has turned many radio players wary of the entire process.
Mr Harrish Bhatia, CEO, MY FM, says: "For the last six years, we have been waiting for Phase 3, while the Government has not moved an inch. I don't know where we are heading, there are far too many ambiguities."
Radio One, a joint venture between Mid Day Multimedia and BBC Worldwide, had been hoping to expand into three more cities – Hyderabad, Chandigarh and either Allahabad or Kochi – through phase 3 auction.
Currently they are present in seven cities.
It was banking on increasing its ad revenue through expansions.
"Three per cent of total media advertising revenue comes from radio. The auction could mean taking this figure to 7-8 per cent," said Mr Vineet Singh Hukmani, MD, Radio One.
92.7 Big FM, which is present across 45 cities, is another interested player.
"Whichever cities we missed in phase 2 will be targeted this time round. Ahmadabad, Pune, Jaipur and southern markets, is what we are eyeing," said Mr Rabe T. Iyer, Business Head, 92.7 Big FM.
According to estimates put out by a FICCI-KPMG, Media and Entertainment report 2012, the radio industry is expected to grow at 16 per cent CAGR till Phase 3 stations start operations. Post Phase 3, the industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent.
Correspondingly, radio's share of media ad spends is expected to increase from around four per cent currently to five per cent in 2016.
The report puts the expected post bidding capital requirement of the industry at Rs 750-1,100 crore and pegs the Government earning from the auction at Rs 1,683 crore.
Once Phase 3 kicks in, FM services are expected to reach another 227 new cities, in addition to the present 86 cities.  Keywords: FM radio licencesHarrish Bhatia92.7 Big FMFICCI-KPMGMedia and Entertainment report 2012Radio One [Business Line 21/03] (Jaisakthivel, ADXC, Tirunelveli,

Bye Bye to AIR’s Radio Networking on SW

-Jose Jacob, VU2JOS            
This weekend, All India Radio will end the broadcasts of its Home Service news service on SW which was used as feeder to its different stations. These broadcasts have a long history.
The Home Service News Services started in 1936, long before the Satellite era when different AIR stations had to depend on the SW frequencies and P&T lines for relay of news, national programs, running commentaries etc. originating from New Delhi, the station from nation's capital
In those days each AIR station had a separate Receiving Station with good communication receivers and antennas located away from their studio / transmitter   to pick up these broadcasts.  I had visited the Receiving Station of AIR Pune in early 1980s which was located in some rural area. There I remember seeing were racks of bulky valve communication receivers along with some big impressive antennas.
. In its prime time, several frequencies from Delhi and Aligarh were in use simultaneously. One service had a South beam, another East beam and another one was omni directional broadcasting news etc. in languages of the particular area. There were even Slow speed news in English and Hindi meant for small newspapers which was continued till around mid 1990s. Mostly 50 kW transmitters were in use from Delhi while Aligarh used 250 kW for these services. The local stations used to relay the news bulletins of the local language and other programs of the national program, commentaries etc. I remember very clearly that those days when our local station used to announce that news from Delhi follows, we could suddenly hear lot of band noise along with the news.
In the mid 1980s, Indian satellites (INSAT series) were launched and in 1985 all AIR stations were provided with satellite receiver terminals used for Radio Networking. From then onwards we could hear excellent quality of audio for news and other relays from Delhi. However, the SW broadcasts continued in parallel as standby link. Currently the AIR Home News Service is broadcast in 19 languages on SW from Delhi. Each language has normally 3 bulletins per day viz in the morning, noon and evening 10 minutes each.  There were several news bulletins in English and Hindi daily. Some years back, a few of these bulletins were regionalized. It was prepared and broadcast from the Regional News Unit of the station located in state capital and fed to Delhi and then rebroadcast via Satellite and SW.
At first upto 3 SW frequencies were in use for each beam. Later when Radio Networking became full fledged, in the mid 1990s, it was brought down to 2 frequencies each and later only one frequency each.
     The News Services division is located at the Broadcasting House in Parliament street, New Delhi. The new studio complex with latest technologies was started a couple of years in the adjacent building.
How the latest technologies made old things obsolete is a wonder. The Receiving stations of AIR has now gone into history books. Now a days we can find portable digital receivers in the racks of AIR control rooms. AIR News Services has the web site
However, the Delhi transmitters meant for the Radio Networking became aged but was not replaced. We could find them with poor or no audio, spurious signals and even wandering away from their original frequencies.
Now better sense has prevailed and at last AIR has decided to end these services from March 26, 2012 when 6x50 kW SW transmitters located at Kingsway, New Delhi is scheduled to be shut down.
I had the opportunity to visit these transmitters along with fellow Delhi Dxers Alokesh Gupta and C.K.Raman some years back during the AIR DRM show case programs.
Here is their time wise schedule (Target areas given in Brackets) for the last week of broadcasts.
Times in UTC – Frequencies in kHz.
0025-0440 : 4860   (North India)
0030-0040 : 7370
0125-0205 0215-0310 (Sun 0355) : 15135 (East India)
0125-0340 (Sun 0355) : 11830 (South India)
0215-0320 0330-0340 (Sun 0355) : 7235 (North India)
0700-0800 Nepali: 11850 (Nepal)
0700-0930 : 15260  (South India)
0730-0930 : 15185 (East India)
0730-1030: 6190  (North India)
1000-1100 English: 15260  (Sri Lanka)
1115-1140 : 11710, 15185 (East India)
1215-1315 Burmese: 11710 (Myanmar)
1215-1330 Tibetan : 9575 (Tibet)
1215-1430 : 6030 (North India)
1220-1310 : 6085 (North India)
1220-1841: 5015 (North India)
1220-1330 HS, 1330-1430 Nepali (Nepal), 1430-1930 Urdu (Pakistan) : 4860
1330-1630/1700/1730v, 1730-1740 : 6085 (North India) , 9575 (East India), 9835 (South India)
1. Besides News Services, the Regional Services from Delhi on 4860, 5015 and 6190 is also being dropped from A-12 season.
2. All the 6 transmitters are scheduled to be simultaneously operating at around 1330-1430 on 4860,5015,6030,6085,9575,9835 . However lately all of them are not heard.
3. Languages are given for External Services.
4. External Services will continue from other transmitters / sites from next day on same frequencies.
5. The final broadcast of different transmitters is scheduled on 24 March 2012 as follows:
1215-1430 : 6030 (North India)
1730-1740 : 6085 (North India), 9575 (East India), 9835 (South India)
1220-1841: 5015 (North India)
1430-1930 Urdu  : 4860 (Pakistan)
25 March 2012:
0030-0040 : 7370
However as it is officially scheduled to shut down on Monday 26 March 2012 at 0100 UTC ie 6.30 am IST look out also on Sunday 25 March 2012.
6. Other 2x100 kW transmitters will be still operating from there
7.Two new 100 kW DRM compatible SW transmitters will be installed at Kingsway this year.
Useful links:

(Via Jose Jacob, VU2JOS, National Institute of Amateur radio, Raj Bhavan Raod, Hyderabad 500082, India. Email;


Monday, March 19, 2012

National Conference on Community Radio

National Conference on Community Radio Prospects and Challenges held on 16&17 March 2012 at Department of Communication, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India. Dr. R. Sreedher, 
Director, CEMCA-COL, New Delhi delevered the keynote address. For see more event photos click here

Trust in the BBC at an all time high: Thompson

Trust in the BBC is at an all-time high – and the gap between trust in it and trust in other news providers is wider than it's ever been. When the readers of Britain's newspapers are asked to name the news outlet they trust most, in almost all cases the majority chose the BBC – not just over newspapers in general, but over the newspaper they themselves read. And this despite the fact that in recent years the BBC has been through one media storm after another, all lovingly documented by many of those same newspapers.
These remarks were made by BBC DG Mark Thompson at the Royal Television Society. His speech was called 'The BBC in 2012 and beyond'. "We listen carefully to the audiences of all of these and other BBC services and their reliance on them and their passion about them are exactly the same as in the case of Music and Local Radio. The simple truth is that approval for the BBC and its services are higher today than at any time since records began."
He offered three explanations. The first is that the public have maintained a sense of proportion about the BBC. They have typically seen failings – like the competitions, the Queen documentary and The Russell Brand Show – for what they are, namely serious but isolated mistakes in what are usually very dependable services with high standards and values.
"Second, in recent years I believe we've got better at reacting quickly and publicly to shortcomings, apologising promptly when it's clear we've got things wrong, but sticking resolutely to our guns when, as with Jerry Springer - The Opera, the DEC Gaza appeal or the appearance of Nick Griffin on Question Time, we believe we're right.
"Now this second point is often disputed. We were heavily criticised, for example, for being too slow to respond to The Russell Brand Show. Yet within four days of the story breaking in the Mail On Sunday, we'd completed an investigation into what had happened, two senior editorial leaders had left the BBC, one presenter had resigned while the other was suspended, and we'd announced how we intended to ensure there would be no repetition of such a failure. Compare those four 'slow' days with the long years of phone-hacking.
"When things go wrong at the BBC, the public can hear us admit it and can see us striving to put things right."
The third point is that the modern BBC does everything possible to report on itself objectively. Although Sky News' coverage of phone-hacking has been excellent and latterly the Times has also made real efforts to report the story properly, no other British media outlet has come close to us when reporting on themselves.
"The BBC's reach and influence in news, together with our privileged funding, mean that we should be held to a higher standard than others. But I believe that the fact that we try so hard not to let ourselves off the hook helps to account for the fact that, at a moment when trust in so many British institutions has been falling sharply, trust in the BBC has actually risen."

He aded that in his time as DG, he has tried to do four things:
One: to help focus the BBC on a rather traditional, even classical view of its mission and the kind of programmes and services the public expect from it. "We laid it out in Putting Quality First: the best journalism in the world, outstanding children's content, investment in outstanding British drama and comedy, a strategic commitment to knowledge and culture of every kind and to those big moments that bring people – and the whole country – together. More important than listing it though, is that I've tried to bring this view of the BBC's purpose to life and to shift investment towards these five key priorities and towards quality and originality."
Two: to recognise that if you want the what of the BBC, that unchanging purpose, to survive and thrive, the how – the way you express that purpose – has to undergo a revolution. "Thus my total commitment to digital in all its myriad guises. To sum it up in a single, rather startling number, in my time at the helm the amount of data the BBC streams over the web each month has increased by 13,000%.
"Three: to realise that the BBC should be a BBC for the whole of the UK and, in some of what it does, for the whole world, and to act on that realisation in how we invest, where we find our talent, where we make and broadcast. For me, this has never been a piece of political correctness, but a creative and competitive opportunity, a chance to enrich and broaden the content and the appeal of BBC.
"Four: to open up the BBC and its privileges and advantages to others. When we started talking about partnerships, most people rolled their eyes because their – sometimes justified – folk memory of the BBC was of the partner from hell. Well every week now we're proving how much we've changed with literally hundreds of partnerships that stretch across broadcasting, technology, the arts, sport and many other fields.
"2012 is the year when these four central goals come to fruition.
First and most importantly, the public will want every aspect of the great public events of the year to be brought to them with the depth and quality they've expected from the BBC since its earliest days. We will do everything we can to make sure we meet that expectation.
The same will be true of all of the associated programming and particularly of the way – within and around the London 2012 Festival – the BBC shows off this country's amazing cultural and creative strengths to audiences here and around the world.
"With our London season and with the colossal contribution we'll make to celebrating music within the Cultural Olympiad – from Music Nation a few days ago to the Olympic Proms to Radio 1's Hackney Weekend – the BBC is this year mounting the largest festival of music and arts in its history."
But 2012, he noted, will also see a dramatic leap forward in BBC's digital capability. "For the first time, we will broadcast live from every venue from the start to the finish of each day's action. At peak we will be offering 24 simultaneous HD streams on the BBC website – compared with just 6 from Beijing. We're looking at distributing those across a wide range of platforms - including to Youview and other connected TVs as well as, of course, via iPlayer to PCs, tablets, smart-phones and other digital devices.
"Digital means new advances in quality. We'll broadcast the Games in HD as well as SD of course, but we'll be collaborating in trials both of 3D and Super Hi-Vision. But it also means dramatic advances in choice and depth.
"Our website will automatically assemble on demand a detailed web-page devoted to every one of the thousands of athletes who will be taking part. Someone once described our connected TV plans as the Red Button on speed, and that's pretty apt: we're building on the familiar experience of pressing the Red Button to access more information or an alternative video stream to deliver what will be the richest interactive experience any broadcaster has ever offered.
"Like iPlayer, Youview has taken time to get right. But like iPlayer, I believe that Youview will launch at the right time with, I hope, significant numbers of boxes available in time for the Olympics. We've often been told that Youview would miss the boat, that by the time it was ready, its thunder would have been stolen. That hasn't happened. Youview is based on a radically different philosophy than most of the existing connected TV standards, with simplicity, ease-of-use and a determination to make the user-experience as TV-like as possible.
"The BBC backed digital terrestrial broadcasting when it looked like a no-hoper. There are now 20 million households using Freeview plus more than a million using Freesat. I believe that a connected TV standard backed by all the public broadcasters and internet service providers serving more than half of this country's broadband homes and which offers consumers a simple, low-cost way of powering their TV with power and choice of the internet will prove a compelling proposition.
"And there's more to come. The BBC's iPlayer is the most successful and most intensively used catch-up service in the world but it's true that, after that seven day public service window, a large proportion of what the BBC makes and broadcast is never seen or heard of again. On television, despite all of our existing forms of public service archival and commercial windowing, the overwhelming majority of what the BBC commissions and broadcasts becomes unavailable when that iPlayer window expires.
"We want to change that and have started to talk to our partners, including the independent sector and PACT, about a proposal which we will formally submit to the BBC Trust later this year which – for reasons which escape me – we call Project Barcelona.
"The idea behind Barcelona is simple. It is that, for as much of our content as possible, in addition to the existing iPlayer window, another download-to-own window would open soon after transmission – so that if you wanted to purchase a digital copy of a programme to own and keep, you could pay what would generally be a relatively modest charge for doing so.
"This is not a second licence-fee by stealth or any reduction in the current public service offering from the BBC - it's the exact analogy of going into a High Street shop to buy a DVD or, before that, a VHS cassette. For decades the British public have understood the distinction between watching Dad's Army on BBC One and then going out to buy a permanent copy of it. Barcelona is the digital equivalent of doing the second.
"The window would be non-exclusive. The BBC would open up one digital shop, but the expectation would be that all this content would also be made available for other existing providers to sell if they wish and that producers could exploit this download-to-own window in any way they wanted. But the important point is that the window would be open-ended – in other words, the programmes would be available permanently.
"Our ambition would ultimately be to let our audiences have access to all of our programmes on this basis and, over time, to load more and more of our archive into the window."
He said that if Barcelona gains the support of the UK's producers and, of course, the approval of the BBC Trust, it potentially adds an important new source of revenue for producers and rights holders. It could also mark an important step in broadcast's journey from being a transitory medium into a growing body of outstanding and valuable content which is always available and which persists forever.
Freeview, Freesat, DAB, Youview, iPlayer, Radioplayer and Barcelona are really all part of one strategy and one big idea – which is that free access to high quality content matters more now than ever and that the BBC must constantly seek new ways of keeping that door open, not just for itself, but for the industry and every household in the country.
"People thought that digital fragmentation would mean the BBC would deliver less value to the public. Actually digital means we can deliver more – another reason why approval for the BBC has risen the further into the digital revolution we go.
"We're also determined that the great events of 2012 should be not just seen but should be celebrated across the entire UK. This is the year when our new broadcast centre in Salford and our drama village in Cardiff come fully on stream, both on time and on budget. We'll hit all our commitments on out of London spend, but, more importantly, I believe we will broaden the talent base of the BBC and the perspectives and creativity we can bring to our audiences. It's inevitably been a disruptive process, but I believe that a BBC which is visibly stimulating and the creative sector in cities across the UK will be a stronger BBC.
"Finally, 2012 is a watershed year for our partnership agenda. We're celebrating Shakespeare across the BBC with content of every kind including new TV versions of four of the English histories – I've seen the first, Richard II, and believe it's a breakthrough in bringing Shakespeare to the screen. But our season is part of a much larger national project involving the RSC, the Globe, the British Museum and professional, amateur and school drama companies all fully engaged. Meanwhile, in partnership with the BBC, Arts Council England is launching The Space – an entirely new digital environment which aims to connect artists and artworks of every kind with the public. It's part of a wider collaboration with the Arts Council to leverage the BBC's critical mass of expertise in technology – and our access to mass audiences – to build digital capacity and impact across the cultural sector."
The dark side of 2012: Public space is disputed and in many ways – though none is as troubling as the multiple threats that freedom of speech and good journalism face around the world.
"Of all the developments of my time as Director-General of the BBC these have been the most negative and the most disturbing. This, if you like, is the dark side of 2012.
"The economic pressures that face print journalism in almost all developed countries are an important and complex topic in themselves, one that I don't propose to cover in detail this evening – except to say that I recognise that a free-to-air public broadcaster like the BBC needs to think carefully about its boundaries, especially in digital environments, given the scale of the challenge facing our colleagues in print.
"But what affects us all is the growing threat to journalists in many parts of the world. I talked about 'blackest moments' at the start. The real blackest moments have all been about BBC journalists in peril: the death of colleagues in Somalia and Afghanistan, for instance, or the long months of Alan Johnson's captivity in Gaza.
"There was a real sense of shock and pain a few weeks ago when we heard the news of the death of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik and those other journalists who were injured in Homs. Many of our correspondents had worked alongside Marie over the years. They admired her as a brilliant reporter and loved her as a friend.
"A few have suggested that, in the age of user generated content, the risks of deploying professional journalists to conflicts like Syria outweigh the benefits – why not simply broadcast the smart phone footage posted by activists?

"At the BBC, we do make use of such footage, though we always carefully explain to the public what it is. But we believe that there is no substitute for eye-witness journalism carried out by professionals on the ground. We constantly review safety – and are doing so again in the light of events in Homs – but, when we believe the risks can be identified and managed, we will deploy BBC teams to Syria and to other dangerous places because we believe it is the only way of bringing the truth of what is happening there to the world.
"But you don't have to be reporting on the frontline to experience threats and intimidation. As we made clear last month, the BBC's Persian Service has been made the subject of a sustained attack by the Iranian authorities. Unable to get directly at members of the Persian team themselves – because the whole of the Persian Service is based outside Iran, much of it in London – elements within the regime have taken to the tactic of arresting and intimidating relatives of team-members who still live inside the country. Arrest without charge, solitary confinement, threats and inducements to persuade their relations either to leave the Service or to inform on it secretly to Iranian intelligence: this is how the Iranian Government is trying to undermine the BBC Persian Service.
"Its crime? Well, the Iranian equivalent of Ofcom put it best when they compiled a report about the BBC's new service a few months after launch. In summary, the report acknowledged that the Persian Service seemed to be making every effort to be truthful and fair-minded. That, they said, is why it is so insidious.
"It now looks as if those who seek to disrupt or block BBC Persian may be widening their tactics. There was a day recently when there was a simultaneous attempt to jam two different satellite feeds of BBC Persian into Iran, to disrupt the Service's London phone-lines by the use of multiple automatic calls, and a sophisticated cyber-attack on the BBC. It is difficult, and may prove impossible, to confirm the source of these attacks, though attempted jamming of BBC services into Iran is nothing new and we regard the coincidence of these different attacks as self-evidently suspicious.
"The cyber-attack on the BBC is not the first we have experienced. For millions of Iranians, BBC Persian is a precious source of reliable information about what is happening in the world and in their own country. I don't want to go into any more detail about these incidents except to say that we are taking every step we can, as we always do, to ensure that this vital service continues to reach the people who need it.
The road to 2016: The other immediate challenge facing the BBC is coming to terms with the licence fee settlement of 2010.
Thompson said: "It's certainly challenging for all of us – though, given what the country is going through, that doesn't feel inappropriate. The national broadcaster needs to stay in step with the nation.
"And the settlement is allowing us to plan the BBC's future with more certainty and confidence than anyone in commercial media. We presented our proposals to the BBC Trust last autumn and they in turn asked the public what they made of them. As I've already noted, the level of proposed cuts and productivity targets for Local Radio proved controversial – as did some of the plans for English regional current affairs on television. In both cases, we plan to go back to the Trust with amended proposals.
"But it's worth noting that, taken together, these proposals in their entirety amount to less that £20 million in a total proposed package of £700 million of changes – the other £680 million, representing 20% of the BBC's annual budget by 2016, are being accepted more or less in full and without further debate. I believe that's true at least in part because we had spent the best part of a year discussing them with thousands of our colleagues inside the BBC as well as with external partners and our audience.
"The plans won't be easy to implement. Over the past eight years we've already taken nearly a billion of costs per year out of the system in productivity gains. Overheads are a fraction of what they once were and the cost of the production of many key genres is already well under the market.
"Further efficiencies are getting harder to identify. By 2016, the opportunity of additional productivity gains without damaging quality will be limited at best.
"Of course if the ideological opponents of the BBC conclude that an overt campaign to cut the scope of BBC services is a non-starter because of public support, they'll be forced to base their campaign for a smaller BBC on efficiencies. So expect a return of some of the old chestnuts. Couldn't the BBC live on a much smaller licence-fee if only it fired its senior managers and top stars?
"Starting soon after I got this job, we've reduced senior manager numbers by a third and have taken more aggressive and more rapid steps than any other public organisation to reduce our senior management paybill – and I've not doubt the BBC Trust and BBC management will continue to bear down on these costs.
"But let's get things in proportion. The pay-bill for the BBC's entire complement of senior managers represents less than 2% of the BBC's costs. Even if you stripped out every single senior manager and tried to run it without programme editors or channel controllers or anyone else, you would have achieved less than 10% of the BBC's immediate savings challenge – and there would be nobody left to organise the achievement of the remaining 90%.
"And the public still expect the best entertainment and the best stars on the BBC. Delivering that means confronting some market realities. Here too though we've made progress in containing and, where we can, reducing costs.
"And the BBC is changing in other ways. We're far more open than we once were, routinely publishing all sorts of information, including senior pay, expenses and registers of interest. As a result, the quarterly disclosures are usually a non-event, but the more important point is that the openness is always the right answer for the BBC. It doesn't damage, but strengthens us.
"We're living at an intrinsically cross-disciplinary moment where, around the world, the media organisations which find ways of bringing different talents and skills together – radio and TV and digital media, content creativity and technology, local, national and global journalism – are the ones who will succeed."
[ 19/03]

I&B Ministry's FY'13 budget is Rs 27.37 bn

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry's total plan and non-plan budget for 2012-13 has risen marginally to Rs 27.37 billion compared to Rs 26.44 billion last year and the revised estimates of Rs 26.05 billion. The allocation for the Ministry includes an outlay of Rs 935.5 million for projects in the north eastern part of the country including Sikkim. The allocation under the head 'Secretarial-Social Services' has been doubled to Rs 1.27 billion as against the revised estimates for last year of Rs 639.8 million and the 2011-12 allocation of Rs 754.5 million. This will also be spent towards the centenary celebration of Indian cinema, the National Film Heritage Mission, the proposed National Centre for 
Animation and Gaming, and anti-piracy activities.

With the government reiterating that it will adhere to the sunset date for switching off analogue, this allocation could help create the infrastructure and also awareness about the benefits of digitisation. The allocation for Press Information Services which includes grants to the Press Council of India has been lowered to Rs 588.9 million from last year's Rs 592.4 million and the revised estimates of Rs 543.4 million, to meet the expenses for the Press Information Bureau, the Press Council of India, and for running the non-aligned countries news pool.

The allocation to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre has been marginally reduced to Rs 43.8 million from the revised estimates of Rs 42.8 million in 2011-12 (as against the Rs 45 million allocated in the budget last year). The EMMC was set up for monitoring television and radio channels for violation of programme and advertising codes. The allocation for advertising and visual publicity has been raised to Rs 1.66 billion as against the allocation last year of Rs 1.23 million, following the increase in the advertising rates of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity.

Meanwhile, for the third year in a row, the government has not announced any investment in the National Film Development Corporation.The grant-in-aid to Prasar Bharati in the budgetary allocation of the Ministry has been increased to Rs 15.74 billion as against Rs 14.84 billion in 2011-12 and the revised allocation of Rs 15.74 billion. However, there is increase in the Ministry's investment in Prasar Bharati: with Rs 4.01 billion in the plan outlay and an additional Rs 4 billion in the non-plan outlay as against last year's total investment of Rs 3.8 billion which was revised later in the year to Rs 2.76 billion.

Prasar Bharati sources told said this had been done to meet the extra expenditure on salaries which has fallen on the shoulders of the Government since all Prasar Bharati employees who were in employment as on 5 October 2007 have been given deemed deputation status. While the grant-in-aid is to cover the gap in resources for meeting revenue expenditure, the investment is to finance the capital expenditure of the pubcaster.

However, despite the reference in his speech to the centenary of Indian cinema, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has announced a drastic cut in the budget for the film sector in the Ministry. The budget for the film sector for 2012-13 is Rs 841.1 million as against the allocation of Rs 1.37 billion and revised estimates of Rs 1.34 billion. There is an additional outlay of Rs 66.7 million towards certification of cinematographic films. [ 19/03]
(Jaisakthivel, ADXC, Tirunelveli,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Three landmark editions of Media Network online

Jonathan Marks, who over the past few years has digitized hundreds of Media Network radio shows, has just put three landmark editions of the show online:

  1. The 1000th edition of Media Network was broadcast at the start of March 2000. We used the programme to share some of the behind the scene stories and celebrate anecodotes with our contributors. I (Andy) took part in this edition, explaining how I got involved with the programme. And there are plenty of memories from the loyal audience too. Enjoy!
  2. The penultimate edition of Media Network contained extracts from WRUL/WNYW with Lou Josephs, and the Prague story 1945/1968. We were celebrating the strength of the documentaries.
  3. The final Media Network audio show of all was broadcast in October 2000 just before we went back to winter time. It was really a thank you to the audience for sharing so much time with us over two decades. We certainly had worked out the pace of the programme by that time - and we believe it's strength was that it was a true listener participation show. This final programme contains a rather comprehensive survey of the media events surrounding the Falklands Malvinas conflict of April 1982. Remember Radio Atlantico del Sur? We also looked at black propaganda stations in Asia, notably those along the Soviet-Chinese border.
Also just added is the very first edition of DX Jukebox that was presented by Jonathan on 7 August 1980 - just 48 hours after he arrived in the Netherlands. As Jonathan puts it, the programme morphed into Media Network.
To hear/download these shows again in studio quality MP3 visit the Media Network Vintage Vault.
by Andy Sennitt.