In an era when private FM radio stations permeate the airwaves, All India Radio’s special Marathi news bulletin – that first broadcast on October 1, 1939 – has entered its platinum jubilee year. After the then British government decided to start regional news bulletins in Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu, MB Nagarkar, Anant Joshi and Mr Wagh were the first three announcers of the Marathi national bulletin. Since the first day the timings of these bulletins have remained unchanged -- 8.30 am, 1.30 pm and 8.05 pm.
At the start of his career in the late 1950s, renowned Marathi actor Shrikant Moghe had worked with AIR Delhi’s Marathi newsdepartment as an announcer. He was there from 1957 to 1961. “At that time radio was the only medium of mass communication, and working with AIR was quite a glamorous job. When I started broadcasting Marathi news from Delhi, here in my home state people started treating me like I was next only to the President of India!” he recalled for MiD DAY.
Interestingly, Moghe landed the job by accident. “I had gone to Delhi AIR to apply in Theatre and Drama department, having a background in theatre. But as my voice apparently has a certain charm, I got the job of a news announcer,” he chuckled.
AIR arranged a cultural function in Delhi yesterday to celebrateplatinum jubilee of all four regional language news departments started in 1939. “I recently got the invitation to the function from AIR. But due to age and other professional assignments, I couldn’t make it,” Moghe added. Late Nandkumar Karkhanis was another among the list of famous announcer of AIR Marathi national bulletin. His wife Sharmila Karkhanis, who had also worked with General News Department of AIR Delhi, shared her memories with this newspaper.
“The announcer’s job was a tough as many a time a news would break just before the bulletin. In such a situation, the announcer has to translate the news to Marathi while on air. I still remember Nandkumar was preparing for the news bulletin, and moments before the broadcast the editor rushed to the studio and gave him a single line of news about the demise of Jaiprakash Narayan. From that one line he developed a whole report, which was broadcast in the same bulletin,” she said.