The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Junior jamboree signals on AIR
- Kids in control of radio waves for International Children’s Day of Broadcasting

Kids will rule the AIR waves, for all of 11 hours on Calcutta A, this Sunday. And why not' It is, after all, International Children’s Day of Broadcasting. So, all aspects of transmission, from announcing to anchoring to interviewing, will be of and by the children, 70 of them to be precise.

“Unicef has directed that on December 8, broadcasters are to explore the world as seen by children and provide them a forum to express their opinions and aspirations,” said AIR station director Asim Kumar Rej. The UN body for children, which partly funds the junior jamboree in radio stations across the country, has even laid down guidelines for the show.

From Thursday morning, the recording studios at Akashvani Bhavan were abuzz with activity. And shuttling from control room to duty room were little feet filling big shoes. First up was an interview of state youth services minister Mohd Salim. Across the table in the studio were Abhirup Roy and Sayoni Goswami, armed with a sheaf of papers. “We spent last evening preparing the questions,” the duo chirped.

The edginess of first-timers was apparent (though 14-year-old Abhirup claimed to have been on Sishu Mahal “when I was a child”). No wonder “antarjatik” kept popping up as “antarik”, till the word was deleted from the script. And “yubakalyan mantri”, in the first take, was blurted out as “mukhyamantri”, prompting the minister to call for the rest of his portfolio being kept under wraps “to avoid complication”.

A few minor glitches apart, the recording went off well, with AIR staffers watching the proceedings from behind the glass pane. “They are doing quite well. The first time I went on air I had a lockjaw,” laughed transmission executive Jayita Verma Sarkar, while deftly handling the buttons on the Studer tape-recorder and the announcer’s console.

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