Director-General of India’s public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR), Fayyaz Sheheryar retired on Tuesday after a five-year stint at that position.
He joined the Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service in 1981 and became AIR’s head in 2014.
Speaking about the challenges facing AIR, he said the government should completely fund the broadcaster to prevent it from becoming revenue driven and to ensure that content is aimed at serving people.
He said public service broadcasters across the world are funded completely by their respective governments.
“Our government has also been very generous as they are paying us the wage bill of those employees who are on deemed deputation, they are also paying us the money for infrastructure development. But then operation and maintenance of a huge network also means a lot,” he told PTI in an interview.
“What if the government takes a decision, you are a corporation, you fend for yourself…there will be a stalemate. It should be completely funded by the government or be allowed to mimic — which is very bad — private sector radio so that it generates revenue as much as it needs to spend,” he said.
He also said that the organisation needs is to rope in fresh talent in content creation.
“We are bringing in people at the ADG level, but who will create content…We should encourage in-house talent, give them promotions, waive off DoPT rules as a special measure and have professionals at the helm of affairs,” he said.
Sheheryar described digital radio as a “game changer” for AIR. AIR has already installed two short wave and 34 medium wave DRM transmitters across the country.
“The problem is that we are the world”s largest middle class population and we have a sizable population which is below poverty line… the digital radio receiver costs Rs 15,000. No indian is able to buy that,” he said.―Asia Radio Today