Thiruvananthapuram: All India Radio's Kochi FM station, the first FM radio in Kerala which introduced a new audio culture in Malayalam rightly blending information and entertainment, is all set to celebrate its silver jubilee.
Still a hot favourite of radio buffs in and around central Kerala, the station began its broadcast on November 1, the state formation day, in 1989.
Though a large number of private players have entered the field, the public broadcaster is far ahead in terms of revenue and popularity, AIR officials said.
The Kochi FM station is now gearing up to mark the jubilee by launching a number of new programmes, Station Director Balakrishnan Koyyal said.
"We are planning to celebrate the silver jubilee by airing a number of new programmes and organising some cultural events for our audience. Their unconditional support and valuable suggestions are our sole strength in this two decades of service," he told PTI.
An audio-history of Kochi, a 'kathaprasangam' series, a 'kavyasandhya', a folk fest, and a seminar on women issues are on the cards to mark the occasion, he said.
A get-together of all the staff of the Kochi station, including retired broadcasters will be held at the AIR campus in Thrikkakara in Kochi on November 1, he said.
He said though private FM stations posed challenges, the Kochi FM could retain its traditional audience and caught the attention of youth through quality content.
"It is natural to face some challenges in the initial days as we were the only players in the field then. We suffered the same challenge during the entry of private TV channels also. But their entry has created a healthy competition in the field which in turn helped to improve the quality of our contents," he said.
Sreekumar Mukhathala, a programme executive of the station, said Kochi FM caters to the interest of all kinds of audience, be it high-profile, downtrodden or youth.
"Private FMs have their limitations. They have to pay more attention to their profit. But as a public broadcaster, we can give more priority to the interests of our audience. It is the main reason behind the success saga of our FM station," he told PTI.
A programme titled 'FM Diary', which began during the time of the launch of the station two decades ago, is still being aired.
In addition to the major programme zone of Ernakulam district, AIR's Kochi FM is available in Pathanamthitta, Palakkad, Idukki, Alappuzha, and major parts of Kottayam, he added.