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All India Radio under fire for sacking 100 RJs in Kolkata

MUMBAI: Earlier today, news broke out that public radio broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) had sacked around 100 of its casual radio jockeys (RJs), above the age of 35, working with the Kolkata stations of FM Rainbow and FM Gold.

The sacking of the RJs is being opposed by the AIR Broadcasters’ Welfare Association, Kolkata, who have appealed to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) after failing to receive a response from the AIR authorities regarding a rethink of the decision.

However, AIR has come out with a statement that says that the RJs are not being removed, and rather there will be a voice modulation test for RJs aged above 35.

A statement issued reads, “The news item ‘All India Radio Sacks 100 RJs aged above 35’ is apparently based on a news conference held by members of the All India Radio Broadcasters Welfare Association (AIRBWAK), Kolkata. It is a false alarm. Some elements want to indulge in sensation-mongering and spread canards against the benevolent management of Prasar Bharati.”

On the other hand, media reports state that the move to do away with casual RJs/presenters had started in December 2013 with a communiqué from the AIR director general on the age limit for RJs of the two FM channels. This was followed by another circular in March this year on the same issue.

But Prasar Bharati now states that as a gesture of goodwill and recognition of the services of several casual announcers/RJs/anchors who had served AIR with devotion and loyalty, the review panel of Prasar Bharati has decided to subject them to a skill test, entrusting the task to agencies that are neutral. Those currently on the panel of casual RJs as well as those aspiring to join the ranks will take the skill test as and when it is held.

The statement further adds, “AIR has no plans whatsoever to sack anybody. Let all concerned rest assured that AIR has no such designs. It may be added that casual RJs/announcers whose voice quality/texture has begun to wither or those whose performance could impair the professional interests of the organisation may have to go.”

It added that a casual jockey/artist of AIR is engaged temporarily on assignment basis for a certain shift or show, on fee payable as per the rate card. They are not entitled to regularisation of any form.