After 8 yrs of hiccups, Rae Bareli ready to tune into FM

Eight years after it was planned in Congress president Sonia Gandhi's constituency Rae Barely, an FM radio station of the All India Radio (AIR) became a reality on Monday. It took a Samajwadi Party government in saddle in UP to fructify.

The FM station has come up on 1.8 acres on Amawan Road. In spite of some bonhomie shared by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Congress president outside bitter political battle lines, much less than the 5 acre originally sought was granted.

The matter has been hanging fire since 2005 when the then BSP government dragged its feet on allotment of land. The land was handed over to AIR in March.

After initial misgivings about whether it was possible to set up the project on the small piece of land, a decision was taken that AIR needs to move on from its old style of functioning to more streamlined operations.

It was decided that not only would the FM station come up on the smaller land, there will also be a studio to develop local content.

"With 900 million mobile handsets in the country, FM is future of radio. During phase one, we will have music transmissions from Rainbow, some local news and agriculture programmes. We will later move on to more local content," said a senior official.

Set up at a cost of Rs 25 lakh, the FM station is one of the 153 AIR is setting up across the country to reach out to more people with FM that can be caught on mobile sets.

It will stream FM Rainbow transmission from Lucknow, apart from news and agriculture based programmes in Avadhi language broadcast on 102.8 mHz. The total cost of phase one will be about Rs 90 lakh.

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