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VoA to tie up with private FM broadcasters for wider presence

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 25, 2000
Washington-based Voice of America is entering into strategic tie-ups with newly-licensed FM operators in an attempt to strengthen its presence in the Indian metros

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
NEW DELHI, October 25

Washington-based International broadcaster Voice of America (VoA) is entering into strategic tie-ups with newly-licensed FM operators in the country in an attempt to strengthen its presence in the Indian metros.

Currently, foreign broadcasters do not have a direct reach to the large FM audience in India. Even the few dozen Indian firms who have been given licenses to run private FM stations are not allowed to air news or current affairs. Brian L. Armstead, representative of the international relations department of VoA, said, "One route to the Indian market, for us is to work towards strategic partnerships with key private FM players in India."

With India privatising commercial radio, programmers are faced with the onerous task of finding suitable programmes for their stations, 24 hours a day, round the year. Undaunted, the international broadcaster claims to have tailor-made solutions which include a variety of feature programmes in Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, English and a 24-hour English music channel.

VoA is also planning to tie up with cable operators. "We've suggested to cable operators to play our audio for their video channels - to create low-cost advertising or a community bulletin board service," said Armstead. Outlining the purpose for this effort, he added, "India has been underserved by us in the past. We are trying to correct that and, at the same time, increase awareness for our brand."

Armstead said that the company plans to tap medium wave solutions to reach out to rural Indian audiences. Such plans are at a rudimentary stage currently. He acknowledged that other foreign broadcasters, the BBC for instance, have greater presence in India and attributed this to their larger resources on ground.

VoA is very optimistic about the entry of private entrepreneurs into broadcasting which till recently was controlled by the Government. Armstead asserts that he has had a number of fruitful meetings with broadcasters in the country and is hopeful of returning to Washington with important strategic affiliations.

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