The Punjabi youth loves its music that is why millions of copies of the albums of Punjabi singers are selling every year in all towns and cities of the state. Recording studios are mushrooming all over the Punjab, especially in the cities of Jalandhar, Phagwara, Mohali and Chandigarh. Thus a new industry is emerging in Punjab. The private and government owned radio stations in Punjab are blaring strains of Punjabi music all over its landscape. I may question the quality of singers. This is one side of the story.
There is an equally big section of the Punjabi youth, which is obsessed with the idea of going abroad. It will not be appropriate to claim that this section of the youth is not interested in Punjabi culture. The countries of their choice are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealad and the United States. All these countries speakvarious strains of English. The other advanced countries, like Germany and Japan are far lower down in priority. In order to venture abroad, the youth has to learn English and the best ways to learn English are to read the English language news-papers and to listen to the news bulletins in English. Punjab’s FM radio station with the longest reach is A.I.R. Chandigarh broadcasting on 107.2 Megahertz in the FM band from its high altitude transmitting location in Kasauli. This is essentially a Vividh Bharati (Mumbai) relay station, which does not as a policy carry the news bulletins in English. The smaller local stations at Patiala and Bathinda also don’t carry the short bulletins in English. But for the propagation of Punjabi culture, both Patiala and Bathinda are in the forefront.
The only full service radio station in Punjab is the primary channel of All India Radio Jalandhar broadcasting on 343.6 meters (873kilohertz) in the medium-wave band with 300 kilowatt radiated power, enough to reach all parts of East Punjab and some areas of West Punjab. But the modern fashion conscious Punjabis listen mostly to the crisp and clear FM stations only, medium-wave and shortwave listening is not their cup of tea.
The first good news for the Punjab based lovers of news bulletins in Punjabi and English came when around June of 2017, a second high powered transmitter installed at the high altitude Kasauli relay station of All India Radio, started relaying the primary service of All India Radio Jalandhar on 100.9Mhz in FM band. This transmitter covers most districts of Punjab, baring the Majha region consisting of the areas of former Lahore division and the Southern districts of Faridkot, Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa and Fazilka. Most of the programs of this Jalandhar based channel are in Punjabi language. The variety includes, music, talks, information, religious music and poetry.
Subsequently on 5th of October, 2017, another high powered (20 kilowatt) FM transmitter located at Fazilka stopped relaying the Urdu Service of All India Radio and switched to the relay of the primary service of All India Radio Jalandhar. This radio transmitter covers the Southern most districts of East Punjab, including Fazilka, Muktsar, Faridkot, Bathinda and Mansa. Some areas in Pakistan too, including parts of former districts of Montgomery (Sahiwal), Lyallpur (Faislabad) and Bahawalpur. As a result now listeners all over the Punjab can listen to all the English language and Punjabi bulletins relayed by Jalandhar. By now with the exception of most parts of the districts of Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Tarntaran and Amritsar, the English and Punjabi Bulletins of All India Radio are available all over the length and breadth of Punjab through the primary channel of All India Radio Jalandhar.
Harjap Singh Aujla