(Indian Express):Play it Again- With the launch of Raagam, a first of its kind digital classical music channel by Prasar Bharati, All India Radio is set to open its treasure trove of archival recordings . • All India Radio, after years of having harboured a treasure trove of classical recordings, is likely to “fulfil a long-felt need of Indian classical music lovers” by kick starting Raagam — an exclusive 24-hour internet radio channel, which will represent a mosaic of Hindustani and Carnatic classical music through DTH facility. Apart from being available on allindiaradio.gov.in, Raagam will also be available through the All India Radio Mobile App for Windows, Android and iPhone users. • Obsolete terrestrial transmission by medium wave and short waves was one of the reasons this project was instituted. • “The valves used by these transmitters are not manufactured in agencies all over the world anymore. So the cost of a single valve is as much as the transmitter,” . • Raagam is different from the current mode of broadcast, which will be a refreshing change for people. “Audio live streaming through internet and mobile applications will make sure that it is available wherever you want it in the world and there’s no need to be dependent on radio transmitters,”. • AIR may be a decade too late to the online radio revolution party but this effort by Prasar Bharti, of finally using internet as a medium and creating a combination of technology and keeping the charm and nostalgia of radio alive, may help in making Raagam a premier destination for classical music connoisseurs. While 52 per cent content will be Carnatic classical, 48 per cent of that will belong to Hindustani. • A few years ago, filmmaker Saba Dewan had approached AIR for a famous 1976 recording of Siddheshwari Devi and Rasoolan Bai for a film on the latter. This recording featured a conversation between the two legendary singers, in which they sang their favourite thumris for each other and had a fun conversation punctuated with laughter. • Efforts to digitise these analog recordings resulted in a few CDs that were sold at the kiosk outside AIR for a few years. But Raagam will bring to the fore the recordings as old as the 50s and 60s along with newer recordings by top grade AIR artistes, in turn putting the spotlight on lesser-known artistes too. • “The reach of FM is just 60 km. The best thing, we thought for classical music, is to reach the mobile without the transmitter. Also, India doesn’t have a single dedicated classical music channel. Mysore and Tiruchirappalli, historically, have been operating for Carnatic music. • This is likely to bring about an interesting presence of classical music on radio through the touch of a button. The idea was to reach the diaspora too. The investments in shortwave transmission were massive and the reach was just about 400 km-500 km that ended up gurgled.




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