The Radio Pakistan
Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC)
As observed in the case of television, the state maintained a position of monopoly in the radio sector until the2002 liberalisation of the media and PEMRA’s emergence as a broadcasting licences-awarding authority. Sincethen, there has been a steady growth in FM radio stations across the country. According to figures from 2009, there are presently 40 FM radio stations operating in Pakistan. After an initial surge in new radio stations, however, PEMRA’s increasing tariffs for new licences has significantly reduced the pace of applications being submitted. Another visible consequence of this surge in prices has been a gradual control of the radio market bythose actors with sufficient financial and political power, that is, ‘industrialists, large media groups, feudal lords or politicians’.57 In spite of the above liberalisation in the sector, the state-owned PBC still maintains a dominant position, especially with regard to its reach in rural areas. According to the PBC’s own figures, its 69 medium (33), short wave (7) and FM (29) stations cover approximately 80 percent of Pakistan’s territory, or 96.5 percent of the population, and it has a regular audience of 95.5 million listeners.58 Its dominant presence in rural areas is obviously linked to the low technological threshold represented by radio in general, when compared to more expensive, sophisticated and electricity-dependent communication systems such as internet or television. In addition, the PBC has successfully attempted to establish a foothold in those areas by localising its broadcasting activities. It suffices to say that, in addition to the Urdu language, the PBC also broadcasts in 20 regional languages from 33 different cities. Beside its traditional and exclusive field of operations, namely medium and short wave transmissions, Radio Pakistan has become increasingly active in expanding its broadcasting to FM radio waves as well. Is first FM...
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