Be it a music lesson or a management lecture, classroom fundas will soon crackle on the right frequency. With the Centre inviting applications from academic institutions for setting up small power FM radio stations on-campus, the academic institutions are gearing up to kick off a new mode of communication.
Be it Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, or premier B-school Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC), academic institutes have welcomed the government move. As per the circular issued by the information and broadcasting ministry, any academic institute approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) can apply for a licence to broadcast its programmes on 87.5 to 100 mega Hertz. Funds will also be made available by the government, but the institutes will be barred from airing any sponsored programmes.
“We have received the circular and are planning to set up a radio station at Visva-Bharati. As of now, we have decided to use the station to air programmes by Sangeet Bhaban and our journalism department. We would also like to use the FM facility for our rural reconstruction and literacy projects,” says vice chancellor Sujit Basu.
Though Jadavpur University (JU) and IIMC are yet to take a final decision on the programmes they want to air, both institutes are keen to explore the option of setting up a radio station to benefit the student community.
“We are aware of the directive, but haven’t received the circular. We will take a decision once we have a clear understanding of the cost-benefit analysis,” says B. N. Srivastava, dean, external relations, IIMC. The circular has reached the JU campus, but it will require the “approval of the executive council” before the authorities can ride the airwaves, explains Rajat Bandyopadhyay, JU registrar.
The technology providers, meanwhile, are keen that the campuses go radio ga-ga. Robin Ghosh, managing director, Infocom, insists there is a sound revenue model for sustaining the radio stations, and the company is in a position to provide an integrated turnkey solution.
“The initial investment will be around Rs 18 lakh, for which funds will be available from the government. The monthly operational cost will be around Rs 25,000 and by levying proper user charges and selling the digital content in CDs, the institutes can recover the running cost,” assures Ghosh.