The capital city-based popular FM Jongphi 103.6 MHz has been shut down without even so much as an announcement to lament the sad event, which would affect many fans.
Just when everyone thought that radio communication with all the new technology was going strong and climbing the stars, FM shut down forever without even so much as an announcement of the whys and the wherefores from the authorities.
One learnt of the sad event when RJ Bobby of the station told his listeners yesterday, “We wished to say we will return again tomorrow, but tomorrow is uncertain”, and that it was his final time at the studio.
The station had garnered quite a fan following all around with its stock of English, Hindi and local Khasi and Pnar fare dished out by a whole talented lot of accomplished radio jockeys. It was particularly useful for travellers and the rural people in the Khasi Hills districts where farmers looked forward to the songs and entertainment as well as to keep up-to-date through the snippets of news and information streamed out.
While no official communication is available as to the reasons for its shutting down, it is unofficially learnt that the authorities claimed that the FM radio station is encroaching into ‘primary channels’ of the Shillong Radio and therefore it is being merged into the Akashvani Shillong’s medium wave channel as a single feed. The FM Jongphi launched on October 2, 2010 will not exist anymore.
For many it was a surprise as it went counter to the announcements made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself who, barely four months ago had virtually inaugurated 91 new 100W FM (Frequency Modulation) transmitters via video conferencing, including FM Transmitters for Community Radio Stations (CRSs) in Meghalaya’s Nongstoiñ and Williamnagar.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma was also present at the virtual inauguration. So the question being asked is why no FM transmitter for Shillong, which is the capital city of the state and where FM radio has already been functioning for many year now and has become a marker for the fans and listeners.
The Chief Minister has then tweeted that he was proud of that moment and had said that Meghalaya was privileged that Meghalaya is one of the states covered through the launch which is a major in radio connectivity in the country covering an additional 2 crore people in 18 States and 2 UTs. So was the Prime Minister who had then said, “In a way, it provides a glimpse of the diversity and colours of India”.
But now that FM Radio diversity will not have the unique colour of Shillong, which fed the ears and fulfilled the needs of the undying love of western songs and Khasi-Pnar music of the denizens of the city and districts of the place famously, known as the rock capital of India.
It may be mentioned that discontent is brewing in southern states on the move to shut down regional channels as Rainbow FM-Kannada-Kamanabillu (101.3) was merged with medium wave station.
The iconic AIR is itself in news, especially in Karnataka, over the issue of change in programme content. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is accused of suspending regional channels one by one.
Similarly, it was reported that All India Radio’s Ananthapuri FM, available at 101.9 MHz in Thiruvananthapuram, was closed down without any notice, as per directions from the Prasar Bharati.