Monday, October 28, 2013

Wavescan NWS245

* Theme - 00:00
            "Birthday Serenade" - Willi Glahe
* Opening Announcement - 00:16
            Welcome to "Wavescan", international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of shortwave WRMI
            Program outline
                        1. Tribute to Shortwave WYFR - 6: The Early Years at Hatherly Beach
                        2.  Ancient DX Report 1905
                        3. International DX News
                        4. NASB Report: Brady Murray & Jerry Plummer WWCR
* Tribute to Shortwave WYFR - 6: The Early Years at Hatherly Beach - 00:56
            It was in 1939 that the pioneer shortwave station operated by the radio entrepreneur Walter S. Lemmon was transferred from the city of Boston down south to what is now a beach resort area nearly 25 miles distant.  This is what happened.
            Walter Lemmon at WWBC, the World Wide Broadcasting Corporation in Boston, applied for a Construction Permit for a second shortwave transmitter, and this CP was granted for 20 kW W1XAR at an approved location in Norwood in suburban Boston on February 27, 1939.  Work on the construction of this new transmitter was undertaken by the Chief Engineer, the well known TV pioneer Hollis Baird. 
            In the Spring of this same year 1939, two recently acquired mobile shortwave transmitters were taken to various locations in and around Boston for the purpose of making a series of test broadcasts in order to find a suitable location for a new permanent station.  These two low power portable stations, rated at around 250 watts or less we would guess, were activated simultaneously at several different locations.
            Although it is not known just how many different locations were chosen for these test transmissions, yet it is understood that tests were made from at least three locales; two nearby locations in Norwood in suburban Boston, and another down the coast at Hatherly Beach.  On air requests were made for reception reports for the test transmissions at each of the various locations, though there are no known QSL cards verifying these test broadcasts, due no doubt to the low power of the two transmitters.
            When the series of test transmission was completed, a site in the Boston suburb of Norwood was chosen as the location for a permanent home for the two broadcast transmitters, W1XAL & W1XAR.  The FCC gave approval for this move, though the official document showed the wrong address as 1218 State Highway, apparently one of the previously approved test locations.  However, a subsequent FCC document corrected the address, which was a vacant area a little west of Providence Highway and north of Morse Street.
            The first test broadcasts from the new W1XAR went on the air from Norwood on the same date as the CP was granted, February 27, 1939, and two frequencies were in use, 11730 & 15130 kHz.  One QSL card in the Indianapolis Heritage Collection dated March 19,1939 shows the callsign altered to W1XAR and it verifies reception on 11730 kHz.  This card was issued to a listener in Canada, and the timing would suggest that it verified a transmission from the very temporary site at Norwood. 
            However, it was soon discovered that the new Norwood location was not as good as was previously expected, so the transmitter was closed down and returned to the Boston location at 870 Brookline Avenue.  Thus it was that plans were enacted for relocation to an isolated spot further down the coast.
            Back around the time when World War 1 broke out in Europe, mid 1918, the American army acquired a lease on a total property of more than one hundred acres from several private owners at Hatherly Beach.  This property was located just off the beach area, about one and half miles north of Scituate town, and a spur line was installed as a connection to the nearby railway system operated by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railway.
            During the war era, this property was in use as a storage area for war weapons, and as a testing ground for different forms of ammunition.  In 1921, the total area was returned to its original owners.  
            In 1939 (apparently not 1936 as sometimes listed), Walter Lemmon took out a lease on a forty acre section of what had been the Army Proving Ground, which included the main power plant building and a few smaller buildings.  This isolated location became the home for the new transmitter facility of the mighty WRUW during the era of World War 2.
            On July 21, 1939, the shortwave station in Boston was closed for the purpose of moving the electronic equipment into the newly acquired radio property at Hatherly Beach.  The two shortwave transmitters, still officially under the older callsigns W1XAL and W1XAR, were upgraded to 20 kW each and they were installed in the 20 year old building that previously housed the army power generation equipment.  A new radiation system was installed, a total of seven new antennas. 
            This new radio broadcasting station was activated at this new location a little over a month later on August 25 under the new though temporary callsigns WSLA and WSLR.  Then thirteen days later, the callsigns of these two transmitters were amended again; W1XAL-WSLA became WRUL, and W1XAR-WSLR became WRUW.  Soon afterwards, the station callsign, WRUL, was painted on the large chimney stack on the radio property.
            At the time of the transfer from Boston to Scituate, Walter Lemmon made an appeal for funding due to the heavy cost involved in the move and to the upgrading of the equipment with the two locally made transmitter amplifiers.  During the following year, the federal government did provide a financial grant to the station because of its strategic location and its significant coverage areas towards Europe and Africa.
            In May 1940, WRUL was noted with test broadcasts in co-operation with shortwave station TG2 in Guatemala City; and during the year 1941, WRUL was noted with special programming that was on relay by the BBC London and by FZI Brazzaville in the Congo in Africa.  And sometimes, they were on the air with a program of practice in the usage of Morse Code. 
     Audio Insert
            WRUL & WRUW Identification announcement French & English
            Another special program from WRUL, under the title "Your Friendship Bridge", featured English refugee children giving greetings to their parents in England.  This 15 minute daily program was produced in the studios of mediumwave WMCA in New York and fed by landline to Boston for incorporation into their shortwave programming.  This program relay was also broadcast by the BBC in England.     
            In 1942, WRUL opened an additional studio in the center of New York City, at 630 5th Avenue; and in September 1940, WRUL bought at a remarkably low price the shortwave transmitter W4XB-WBKM-WDJM in Miami Florida.  This 1932 model home brew transmitter was in reality two units at 5 kW each.  (Six years earlier, that is in 1932, Walter Lemmon had requested the FRC, the Federal Radio Commission, to deny a license to mediumwave WIOD in Miami to operate a shortwave relay transmitter.)
            It took Engineer John Hall more than a year to reassemble the pieces of equipment from Florida into a workable transmitter, and test broadcasts began in January 1942.  This composite transmitter is sometimes listed incorrectly, at this stage, under the callsign WRUX. 
            However, all available monitoring observations during this era, as heard in the United States, New Zealand and Australia, give the call as WRUS.  It is understood that the call WRUS was intended to identify; WR for the company cluster of calls, and the final two letters US, to identify the United States.
            This temporary auxiliary unit WRUS at Scituate was on the air with 5 kW on only one channel 6040 kHz, the same channel when it was on the air as WDJM in Florida.  As WRUS, it was sometimes heard as far away as Australia, and it always carried the same programming in parallel relay with the other two transmitters WRUL & WRUW.  This low powered transmitter was retired in early 1943, and the temporary FCC authorization was cancelled in April.
            This temporary WRUS was then replaced by a 50 kW transmitter (a double unit) with the same callsign, and that's our story when we look at the background history of shortwave WYFR on the next occasion.
 Audio Insert
            WYFR Theme music and identification announcement in foreign language
* Ancient DX Report 1905 - 11:09
            The year 1905 saw many remarkable developments in the international wireless scene in many different countries.  Some of these experimental developments turned out to be quite insignificant, whereas as others proved to be highly significant in the further progress of main stream electronic development. 
            In England, the Marconi company obtained a patent for what they called the Directive Horizontal Antenna, the forerunner of what we call the Curtain Antenna today.  The Curtain Antenna is a system of
dipole antennas suspended from a cross wire attached to two strong tall towers.  All Curtain Antennas are active radiators, and on many occasions another Curtain Antenna strung behind the active antenna acts a passive reflector.
            In Germany, Professor Ernst Ruhmer established two way voice communication over a distance of ten miles with the use of a modulated light beam.  This procedure is quite successful, though it requires an exact focus of the light beam, with no visible structure in between.
            At San Francisco in the United States, Major George Squire experimented with the usage of a tree as a transmitting antenna.  This procedure can also be quite successful, though there is a signal loss due to dissipation throughout the structure of the tree.
            Still over in California, 17 year old Francis McCarty gave a successful public demonstration of wireless with his transmitter in the carpenter basement at the Cliff House and the receiver a mile away in the Cycler's Rest store room.  The McCarty demonstration consisted of voiced messages, and he also sang five songs.  Newspaper reporters were present for this occasion.  
            The United States navy conducted a mock sea battle off the continental east coast, with one side using standard procedures for communication and the other side using wireless.  At the conclusion of these mock hostilities, it was declared that the wireless equipped navy won the event.
            The Telimco commercial company in the United States placed an advertisement for the sale of wireless equipment in the magazine, Scientific American on November 25.  It has been suggested that this was the world's first published advertisement for the sale of wireless equipment.  However, this can not be correct, due to the fact that two years earlier, the Clark company placed an advertisement in another magazine, the Western Electrician, on May 23, 1903.  The Clark company was selling complete wireless sets for $50 each.
            Many new wireless stations, both temporary and permanent, were established in many different countries during the year 1905.  In the United States, the Canadian experimenter Reginald Fessenden established a station at Brant Rock, Massachusetts; the American navy established a series of eight wireless stations in eight different states along the Atlantic Coast; Lee de Forest established a 50 kW station on Coney Island, New York and he began work on four stations, Key West Florida, Puerto Rico, Cuba and in the Canal Zone; Marconi completed the installation of a huge wireless station in Nova Scotia Canada and he began work on a new station at Clifden in Ireland; and Mr. H. G. Robinson obtained an experimental license for the purpose of conducting wireless experiments in public halls in Sydney, Australia.
            In the maritime scene, the first distress signal from an American ship was morsed out from the 
"Lightship Nantucket No. 58" which sprang a leak at South Shoals, Massachusetts, and the navy vessel "Azalea" rushed to the rescue, taking off all personnel before it sank.
            The Japanese ship "Shinano Maru" wirelessed a message out regarding the location of Russian ships during the Russo-Japanese War, resulting in the defeat of the Russian navy.  The Italian vessel "Castagna" was wrecked at the beach immediately below the wireless station at Wellfleet on Cape Cod, out from Boston.
            And that's our Ancient DX Report for the year 1905.
* Program Announcement - 15:34
            Allen Graham
* International DX News - 16:24
            Monitoring Times closure after 33 years
            New Spectrum Monitor will begin in January
            NASB Report: Education on shortwave radio
                        Interview: Brady Murray & Jerry Plummer 
            REE Costa Rica closing
            New English schedule for REE Spain
* Music of the World - 25:55
            Venezuelan music, played in Austria: Solo guitar
* Closing Announcement - 26:34
            Thanks for listening to "Wavescan", international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis
            Next week:-
                        1. One Hundred Years of Wireless & Radio in Bulgaria - 10: 
                                    The International Clandestine Scene
                        2. Japan DX Report
            Two QSL cards available - AWR & WRMI
            Wavescan address:-
                        Box 29235
                        Indiana 46229 USA
            Wavescan @
            Jeff White, shortwave WRMI
* Music Outrun - 27:40
* Program Ends - 28:55

Saturday, October 26, 2013

AIR marks platinum jubilee of news b'casts in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi & Gujarati

NSD AIR marks platinum jubilee of news b'casts in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi & Gujarati
Oct 1,  2:09 PM

The News Services Division of All India Radio today launched a year long celebration to mark the platinum jubilee of news broadcasts in Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Gujarati. 14 veteran newscasters in these languages were felicitated to mark the celebrations at a function in New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, Jawhar Sircar described the veteran broadcasters as the unifiers of India. Describing India as multi-dimensional, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic country, Mr Sircar said, AIR is the only broadcaster that practices cultural federalism. The Chief Executive Officer said AIR has immensely contributed to cementing the ideas of India.

Director General News, Mrs Archana Datta said, the contribution of AIR's language bulletins is manifold during war and peace times and national celebrations. She said, radio is a constant companion of the listener.

Our correspondent reports, NSD AIR started news transmission in Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Gujarati on 1st October, 1939. From a modest beginning of 27 news bulletins in 1939-40, AIR is now putting out over 650 bulletins daily for a duration of over 56 hours in about 91 languages and dialects.

Via Jose Jacob DX India Grouo

Friday, October 25, 2013

BBG to examine the efficacy of shortwave radio transmissions

Board Welcomes Weinstein, Streamlines Structure, Announces Leadership Changes

WASHINGTON, DC - As a new member joined its ranks, the Broadcasting Board of Governors today announced a series of restructuring efforts to improve the way the bipartisan board operates.

"The work this agency does is vital, and we must do everything in our power to make sure we as a Board are doing the best we can - not only for our employees, but for the millions of people who depend on the news and information our networks provide," said the Board's chair, Jeff Shell.

Shell introduced and welcomed to the Board Kenneth Weinstein, who was confirmed by the Senate in September and sworn in on October 18.  He also welcomed Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Douglas Frantz, who was designated by Secretary of State John Kerry - a BBG board member - to represent him at today's meeting.

Governors Weinstein and Crocker at the Oct 23 meeting of the BBG
Among the changes that the Board adopted is a simplified structure that includes an Advisory Committee and special committees focused on specific strategic issues.

Two such special committees were immediately established - one dedicated to defining the responsibilities of and initiating a search for a Chief Executive Officer of U.S. international broadcasting and another to examining the efficacy of shortwave radio transmissions.

The Advisory Committee is made up of Governors Shell, Armstrong, Meehan and Weinstein. Governors Shell, Armstrong, McCue, and Weinstein will serve on the Special Committee on the Creation of a CEO, while Governors Armstrong, Crocker, Meehan, and Weinstein now constitute the Special Committee on Shortwave Broadcasting.

With this meeting, the Board began using a consent agenda to adopt items of business that are non-controversial or routine.  From now on, Board members will consider and vote on items of business as a group, though any member can request that an agenda item be considered separately. The use of the consent agenda, as well as a revised Board travel policy that was also adopted, were among the recommendations of the Office of Inspector General in its January 2013 inspection report.

The Board also announced the selection of Paul Kollmer-Dorsey as the agency's General Counsel.  Kollmer-Dorsey joined the BBG as Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel in June 2009.  Prior to joining BBG, he served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Global Relief Technologies and worked for a dozen years in the international satellite communications industry. He earned his law degree from the Stanford School of Law.

And after three years with the BBG and decades of distinguished public and private sector service, International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard Lobo announced his retirement, effective on November 30.   Board members expressed their gratitude for his service and leadership during a period of budgetary challenges.

"The agency and, in fact, the country owes Dick a debt of gratitude for what he did at the IBB," Shell said.  "Dick was instrumental in developing the proposal for establishing a CEO to streamline the agency as well as leadership of the IBB during a challenging period of uncertainty and tightening budgets."

Lobo thanked Shell and the other Board members and read from the letter he had just sent to President Barack Obama:  "The proposed implementation of the plan, which I helped formulate, to create the position of CEO and to subsequently abolish the IBB Director's position creates the ideal time for me to step aside.  After more than five decades in broadcasting, I intend to retire and return to my native state of Florida."

Turning to the latest events affecting U.S. international media, Shell acknowledged the hard work and sacrifice required of BBG employees during the partial government shutdown that ended on Oct. 17. Despite the furloughing of approximately 40 percent of the agency's federal workforce, programs were produced and distributed around the world uninterrupted.

In addition to the administrative challenges of operating during the shutdown, Shell took time to acknowledge how in recent months, journalists across the BBG's broadcast regions have been harassed, threatened, and wrongly detained as a result of their work.

The simple act of reporting on public demonstrations or events has brought physical attacks on a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reporter and a Voice of America (VOA) reporter in Herat province of Afghanistan, the detainment and release of correspondents for RFE/RL in Astana and in Minsk, and the arrest and beating of a VOA correspondent in Angola.

In Iran, officials have continued harassment against VOA and Radio Farda journalists and their families, and in an attempt to intimidate the press and control coverage of elections, Azerbaijan's ruling political party has targeted RFE/RL and VOA broadcasts with complaints of illegal electioneering.

The Board also called for the immediate release of Alhurra TV reporter Bashar Fahmi as well as other journalists being held incommunicado in Syria. Fahmi has not been seen or heard from since he went missing while reporting in Aleppo, Syria in August 2012.

"The people who make up this agency are some of the most dedicated, courageous and selfless people I have ever known," Shell concluded. "No hardship, whether it is a partial government shutdown, or unjust incarceration can stop the good work of our workforce. And for that we thank you."

The Board paused to pay tribute to two distinguished colleagues who recently passed away - Jack Payton, an esteemed and accomplished newsman and senior editor at VOA, and Dave Strawman, recently retired manager of the BBG transmitting station in Tinang, the Philippines.
(VOA/PA) Via

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wavescan NWS242

Wavescan NWS242
* Theme - 00:00
            "Birthday Serenade" - Willi Glahe
* Opening Announcement - 00:13
            Welcome to "Wavescan", international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis, produced in studios of shortwave WRMI
            Program outline
                        1. Tribute to Shortwave WYFR - 5: The Parade of New Callsigns
                        2. International DX News
                        3. HFCC Bratislava Report
                        4.. Philippine DX Report
* Tribute to Shortwave WYFR - 5: The Parade of New Callsigns - 00:48
            Back in the mid 1920s when shortwave broadcasting began to emerge in the United States, the Department of Commerce issued callsigns that looked like what we would call today amateur callsigns, though with a mandatory X included, meaning experimental.  Thus, the early forerunner to shortwave WYFR in New York City was issued the callsign 2XAL on June 1, 1925.
            Then, on October 1, 1928, the subsequent Federal Radio Commission FRC required that all amateur and experimental stations should insert the letter W into these callsigns, and thus 2XAL now at Coytesville New Jersey became W2XAL.  Three years later, when the station was moved into an existing radio TV building in Boston, this call was adjusted to W1XAL.   
            Interestingly, in mid 1936, magazine columnist Charles Morrison in the United States issued a call, stating that the time had come for all American experimental callsigns in use on shortwave to be regularized.  However, another two or three years went by before any significant move in this direction began to take place.
            In many other countries, similar procedures were taking place.  For example, the callsign for the experimental government shortwave station in Australia, VK3LR at Lyndhurst in Victoria, was modified to the more familiar VLR on December 1, 1937.
            We come now to the pivotal year 1939.  Angry political clouds were forming over continental Europe and the shortwave broadcasting scene in many countries around the world was changing to accommodate these events.
            On May 23, 1939, the radio broadcasting scene in the United States was now supervised by the Federal Communications Commission FCC and they issued a mandate requiring that the usage of all experimental shortwave callsigns in the United States should be terminated, and that new four letter callsigns should be adopted.  The mandatory date for the adoption of the new callsigns was September 1 of that same year, 1939.
            Now at this stage, the Boston shortwave station was on the air with two shortwave transmitters, both rated at 20 kW.  These two units were licensed as W1XAL and W1XAR.  The callsign W1XAL identified the original transmitter that was upgraded and moved into Boston some eight years earlier, and the new call W1XAR identified a new transmitter still under installation.  The final letter R would seem to indicate, shall we say, the W1XAL call modified to W1XAR with the letter R standing for Radio. 
            The owner of this international radio broadcasting station in Boston was Walter S. Lemmon, and he decided that the callsigns for his two transmitters should honor his name.  Hence, W1XAL became WSLA, standing for Walter S Lemmon, the 1st transmitter as transmitter A; and W1XAR became WSLR, standing for Walter S. Lemmon, the 2nd transmitter with R for Radio.  The official date for the introduction of these two new callsigns was August 1, 1939.
            However, the Board Members associated with this shortwave radio station considered that the adoption of the two callsigns that identified the owner of the station would be detrimental to its future operation, and they recommended that new callsigns should be adopted that identified its university connection rather than the personal connection.
            Hence it was that two new callsigns were chosen, and these were the more familiar WRUL and WRUW, indicating World Radio University Listeners and World Radio University Worldwide.  Thus:-
                        W1XAL            WSLA              became           WRUL
                        W1XAR           WSLR                                     WRUW
            The date for the change from WSLA/WSLR to WRUL/WRUW was set as September 7, 1939, though one radio listener in the United States heard the new WRUW callsign over transmitter WSLR at Hatherly Beach during the evening of the previous day, September 6.  Thus the temporary interim callsigns WSLA & WSLR were in use officially for a period of 37 days, stretching from August 1 to September 6, 1939. 
            However, it should be remembered that the two transmitters were off the air during the transfer from Boston to Hatherly Beach, Scituate from July 21 to August 25.  Thus the temporary interim callsigns WSLA & WSLR were in use on air for a period of only 13 days, stretching from August 25 to September 6.    
            It can be remembered that all of the other experimental shortwave callsigns in use in the United States were modified around the same era.  For example, the General Electric shortwave station W6XBE in San Francisco California became KGEI; the Westinghouse shortwave station W8XK in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania became WPIT; and the Crosley shortwave station W8XAL in Cincinnati Ohio became WLWO.
            And so the story continues.  When we take the next look at the early fore-runners of the mighty shortwave station WYFR, it will be under the title, "Tribute to Shortwave WYFR: The Early Years at Hatherly Beach".
* Program Announcement - 06:17
            Allen Graham
* International DX News - 07:06
            Cuba: New frequencies for Radio Progresso
                       Audio Insert: Theme music & ID in Spanish
            Poland: Closing shortwave
                          Current schedule
                          Audio insert: Theme music & ID announcement    
* HFCC Bratislava Report - 10:41
            Conference events
            Audio insert: RSI Identification signal & ID announcement
* Philippine DX Report - 23:27
            Henry Umadhay
* Music of the World - 27:16
            Slovakia: Classical music, orchestra & women's choir
* Closing Announcement - 27:29
            Thanks for listening to "Wavescan", international DX program from Adventist World Radio
            Researched and written in Indianapolis
            Next week:-
                        1. 100 Years of Wireless & Radio in Bulgaria - 9: Shortwave QSL Cards
                        2. WRMI insert
                        3. European Perspective
                        4. Bangladesh DX Report
            Two QSL cards available - AWR & WRMI
            Wavescan address:-
                        Box 29235
                        Indiana 46229 USA
            Wavescan @
            Jeff White, shortwave WRMI
* Music Outrun - 28:31
* Program Ends - 28:55

Airwaves as public property

The reader's editor, A.S Panneerselvan, wrote about the PIL on Radio, which
was published in The Hindu, i.e. 21st October 2013.

Reproduced below inline:

Like any other freedom, freedom of expression too is a product of
relentless struggle. In one of my earlier columns, ?From principle to
practice? (January 28, 2013), I looked at three significant high court
judgments upholding this fundamental right. In this column, let me look at
two important judgments delivered by the Supreme Court of India, and its
latest intervention last week that may change the face of Indian
broadcasting in more ways than one.

In 1994, an apex court bench comprising Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy and
Justice S.C. Sen gave a landmark judgment that decidedly shut the door on
prior restraint and prepublication censorship of any publication. In the *R.
Rajagopal versus the State of Tamil Nadu* case, the apex court examined
some of the crucial issues relating to freedom of expression and came up
with an observation that ?there is no law empowering the State or its
officials to prohibit, or to impose a prior restraint upon the
press/media.? But it also cautioned that the observations were ?only the
broad principles. They are neither exhaustive nor all-comprehending; indeed
no such enunciation is possible or advisable.?

Some of the issues examined in this case were: ?Whether a citizen of this
country can prevent another person from writing his life story or
biography? Does such unauthorised writing infringe the citizen?s right to
privacy? Whether the freedom of press guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a)
entitles the press to publish such an unauthorised account of a citizen?s
life and activities and if so to what extent and in what circumstances?
What are the remedies open to a citizen of this country in case of
infringement of his right to privacy and further in case such writing
amounts to defamation? Whether the government can maintain an action for
its defamation? Whether the government has any legal authority to impose
prior restraint on the press to prevent publication of material defamatory
of its officials? Whether the public officials, who apprehend that they or
their colleagues may be defamed, can impose prior restraint upon the press
to prevent such publication? Whether the prison officials can prevent the
publication of the life story of a prisoner on the ground that the prisoner
being incarcerated and thus not being in a position to adopt legal remedies
to protect his rights, they are entitled to act on his behalf??

*Airwaves as public property*

In 1995, another bench of the apex court comprising Justices P.B. Sawant,
S. Mohan and B.P. Jeevan Reddy in the *Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting versus Cricket Association of Bengal* case ruled that ?the
airwaves or frequencies are a public property. Their use has to be
controlled and regulated by a public authority in the interests of the
public and to prevent the invasion of their rights. Since the electronic
media involves the use of the airwaves, this factor creates an inbuilt
restriction on its use as in the case of any other public property. The
right to impart and receive information is a species of the right to
freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the
Constitution. A citizen has a fundamental right to use the best of means of
imparting and receiving information and as such to have an access to
telecasting for the purpose.?

The subsequent, partial opening up of the radio sector to private and
community players is a direct result of this verdict. Vinod Pavarala,
UNESCO Chair on Community Media, University of Hyderabad and former
president of the Community Radio Forum (CRF) of India, points out the
present limitation in the Indian community radio scenario: ?news is not
permitted and politics is proscribed under clause 5 (vi) of the Policy
Guidelines for Community Radio. Many CR stations have had to confine
themselves to the developmental agendas of the NGO concerned or the donor
agency. The irony is that while several CR stations have a model of
?community radio reporters,? they are not expected to produce and broadcast
any news.? The only news that is permitted is All India Radio?s bulletin
without any modification whatsoever.

*Airing news*

This serious limitation may not last long if one goes by the open court
observation by the first bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice
P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The bench has issued notice to the
Union Government on a Public Interest Litigation seeking permission for
private FM and community radio stations to air news.

Prashant Bhushan appearing for the non-governmental organisation, Common
Cause, argued that like TV channels, private radio stations be allowed to
broadcast news as this medium is far more accessible to people and radio
stations can be set up with relatively smaller investments. In a
significant observation the Chief Justice said: ?You rightly mentioned that
radio is accessible to everybody. There is no problem in case of TV
channels. Only TV channels are allowed to broadcast news. Radio channels
have access to every village, nook and corner. We will examine the issue.
We will impose some conditions?. (before granting permission).?

If all the players in the radio sector ? private FM, campus radio and the
community radio ? are permitted to air news and current affairs, then we
may well witness the next level of information revolution in this country.