Larkana radio station in dire straits
By M.B. Kalhoro
LARKANA: Larkana radio station, established by the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation in 1995, is passing through a crisis and its air time has almost been reduced to half. The problems are multi faceted due to which its performance has taken a nosedive.
Currently, due to a defect developed in its antenna, programmes on FM 101 transmitter can hardly be heard in Larkana, as a result of which it had lost a considerable number of listeners, some of the regular listeners told this correspondent.
The mast of 101 FM had fallen sometimes ago. It was repaired but due to mismatched antenna, it could not give the required output.
Another FM (Frequency Modulation) 93 Megahertz, having a range of 60 kilometres, has gone out of order since April 14 and the PBC headquarters is not ready to repair it, sources in the radio station said.
The station managers have sent a number of reminders to the headquarters for repair but in vain.
The low power transmitter of 10 kilowatts (medium wave) is off air for the last seven months and the director-general of PBC, Murtaza Solangi, had verbally asked to stop its service due to financial constraints, sources said.
The range of the medium wave radio station is up to Bhagnari, parts of Dera Bugti and Jaffarabad (Balochistan) sources said.
A standby power generator is lying idle since February this year and the programmes marking the death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4, went on air through the use of a rental power generator, temporarily acquired from Hyderabad.
Sources privy to the matter said that even the artistes, compares and announcers were not paid remuneration since April 2010, sources said.
One can easily assess the situation from the fact that the station director has proceeded on leave from April 2.
In a cursory view on the timings of the scheduled programme, it is revealed that out of 16 hours programmes covering variety of subjects, now only eight hours transmission (which could hardly be listened in Larkana city) are on air. Due to power loadshedding and no alternate source of electricity, the scheduled programmes are snapped from 9.30am to 12.30 pm, 3.30pm to 6.30pm and 9.30pm to 11.30 pm.
About a week ago, the PBC headquarters has sent a team to assess the damages caused to the transmitters, the radio sources said.
The artists associated with music section, certain compares and even guest producers are disappointed with the prevailing conditions and awaiting a change.
This correspondent repeatedly tried to contact the director-general of the PBC for comments but his cell phone remained switched-off.