Come the New Year and there is boon in store for the Punjabis the world over in the form of a 24-hour news channel in their own mother tongue, Punjab Today. The channel on the Thaicom would be digital from day one. This new channel is the brainchild of Mr Jugal K. Jain the Chairman and Managing Director of the STV.
Punjab Today will the second in line of a series of channels which Mr Jain is planning to launch in next six months. Punjab Today is scheduled start its operations in first week of January with test broadcast beginning sometime in December. It will be followed by channel on Jammu and Kashmir in Urdu and another in Hindi for Haryana and Himachal Pradesh shortly thereafter.
Explaining the rationale behind this move, Mr. Jain, a thorough Punjabi at heart, was very forthright with his answer. "Future today belongs to regional news channels. There is very little coverage of Punjab on any of the existing channels (including those in Punjabi), whereas it is the most progressive State and leads in the country in per capita income against all odds."
He thought of Punjabi news channel seeing the success of Asianet. It started as a news TV on the lines of radio. And today it is the most successful news channel down South. The overwhelming response Sun TV has got is the shining example Mr Jain quotes advocating more regional channels. Starting on a humble note Sun is a big group today and has advertisement bookings for next six months.
Mr Jain has a firm revenue model in mind wherein he is committed to reach over 15 million Punjabis in over 100 countries. "Ultimate aim is to reach every Punjabi household around the globe with lokan dian khabran lokan tak," he says with aplomb.
Prof. Avinash Singh, senior journalist and a former Special Correspondent of the Hindustan Times who knows the State like the back of his hand. will head the channel operations. Mr. Upinder Nayar will be heading the operations in Punjab Today.
Punjab Today would show 85 per cent of news related to the State with international and national stories being given 10 per cent coverage. Rest of the emphasis would be on areas like Udham Singh Nagar, Haryana, Himachal, J & K and other places where Punjabis have a presence.
Channel would also feature regular industrial, agriculture, financial, development and sports news programmes. Adding to it will be special current affairs shows for all ages and youth in particular.
Weekly quiz and Rozgar samachar will be the other highlights alongside special human interest and investigative stories.
The channel is currently on the look out for news anchors, news coordinators and news writers for New Delhi while it is looking for cameramen, bureau members, correspondents and some senior journalists for various district and tehsil headquarters in Punjab. STV Enterprises has also tied up with AIYAES Institute of New Media and Communication for training anchors in Punjabi.
STV has its own set of state-of-the-art studios and other infrastructure in a posh area of South Delhi besides sufficient space in Jalandhar, which ultimately is going to become the headquarters. The company has been providing equipment support to a number of other channels for last many years besides producing sports news for some of them.