Karachi University's FM radio station still a dream
KARACHI, Oct 12: The FM radio station project of the University of
Karachi, a brainchild of the Department of Mass Communication, is not likely to
see much progress any time soon, it emerged on Thursday.
station obtained a licence in 2006, it has not yet gone on air. The Pakistan
Media Regulatory Authority has served a notice on the KU, warning it to complete
the project soon or lose the licence.
What has been done by the
administration is that they have asked Pemra for time till January 2008, saying
that the building that was supposed to have been completed by now is still under
"January is round the corner, but the project is nowhere
near completion," remarked an expert. The committee set up to look after the
matter includes Prof Inam Bari (project manager), Dr Shamsuddin, Dr Fauzia
Jaffary, Dr Tahir Masood and Prof Mahmood Alvi.
contacted a member of the FM station committee, he said it would take a month to
launch the station. However, after a month, the statement was altered and this
reporter was informed that the station's launch would take two to three more
The station is said to have already had a test transmission.
Interestingly, the building of the Institute of Mass Communication has taken a
far longer time than an ordinary building, more than 15 years. Reports also say
that despite millions of rupees that have been spent on the project, development
work on it has come to a standstill.
"The IMC project was initiated in
1992, when the Dr Feroze Ahmed Trust wanted to donate money to the KU for its
ongoing projects. When the chairperson of the trust, Nadra Feroze, came to know
of it she donated Rs10m for the project," says project manager Prof Inam Bari.
Afterwards the project received Rs500,000 and Rs1 million separately from the
government, he says.
It was in 2005 that the HEC took an interest in the
radio project and approved a grant of Rs10m for it. The equipment has been
bought and is gathering dust waiting for the completion of the IMC building.
"The main problem that we face is that of electricity. The wiring has not been
properly done," says Prof Bari.
There have been quite a few hiccups in
the project. One of the main problems was that of the contractor. "The
contractor of the building delayed the project and stopped working on it. It
took us a lot of time to sort things out," he says. Eventually the university
administration decided to give the project to its engineer. And eventually the
project was divided into bits and has been given to several
An insider says: "There is a slim chance of the completion
of this project. People like Sarwar Naseem who were interested in the project
are no longer here to look after it." Furthermore, the source says there are two
main reasons for the project's inordinate delay. "Water supply and electricity
are the major issues they have to deal with." Moreover, the programmes have not
been chalked out as such, he says. "What they did in the test transmission was
to come up with a hotchpotch of programmes, whereas it needs serious
Despite the fact that students have been trained by Radio
Pakistan to run the FM station, no one knows for sure if the station will be
launched before it gets another notice from Pemra. Apart from mass communication
students, there is hardly a soul, be it teachers or students, who even knows
about the KU's FM station or if its test transmission was ever carried out. The
committee claims that its transmission was received in most parts of