Sunday, August 26, 2007

Radios are not that cheap

Quick Summary: This post does a very brief comparison of FM and AM radios.

With the rapid fall in prices of consumer electronics and home appliances, I was expecting portable radios to be pretty cheap. But recently found that they aren’t.

Phillips portable radio (AM and FM, not just FM) still costs Rs. 525 onwards, while entry level mobiles are available for an almost similar amount.

Why so?
There’re not many manufacturers who are still selling analog radio. With the advent of FM radio stations and since radios are coming built in with mobiles, mp3 players etc, there’s hardly any market left for Amplitude Modulation. However, reach of FM stations are confined to city limits and AM relays by All India Radio (AIR) stations are still is a major source of news and entertainment in most of the rural areas.
Private FM channels do not have permission to broadcast news and are focused primarily on entertaining youth in metros by playing filmi music and airing shows aimed at urban audience and grabbing commercials from establishments operating in the city.

But conventional AIR stations still operate with general rural public in mind, airing agricultural advice, railway news, medical help lines, devotional and patriotic songs etc.

Hence I feel it may be premature to say FM and AM are at war, since they serve two different categories of people. Nevertheless I wish AM radios become a bit cheaper…