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What Happened to the BBC World Service in Kathmandu?

The 103 Megahertz that used to relay BBC World Service in Kathmandu valley is now starting to air the broadcast of Radio Nepal, the station that rented the 103 MHz to the BBC: समय सधै चलि राख्यो, सुई पो त घुमेनन् (Time always kept moving, just that arms -of the clock- didn’t move)! Is that because of technical problem or something other?

This afternoon, when I tuned in to FM 103 that airs BBC World Service in Kathmandu, I was kind of surprised. A song by a female singer in Maithali language talking about equality between men and women was being played. My instinctive thought was that I was listening to a BBC World Service program about world music. I told myself ‘wow, a Nepali song in the BBC!’ I gave more attention to the lyric and thought who the singer might be. As I listened to the song, I also thought ‘wow they are playing the whole song!’ Suddenly my sixth sense worked and I realized something unusual was happening. Within a second or two, I heard a Nepali voice that was announcing the next song. I soon tuned in to FM 100 Megahertz to see what the station was playing. I heard the same voice. Why I checked the 100 MHz? Because the station belonged to Radio Nepal and I knew that BBC had hired the 103 MHz from the state run radio station. After the royal coup of 2005, the government used to interrupt and censor the BBC World Service broadcast with the Radio Nepal broadcast.

Then another thought came to my mind. What happened to the BBC World Service broadcast? There is no royal government and it’s a democracy. I guessed that the station might have faced some technical problem.

It’s 10:59 PM now and FM 103 is still relaying the FM 100 broadcast. A guy was reading gajal:

आशा गर्ने हैन उब्जाउनुपर्छ आटो आफै
देशको विकाश….

Okay, his name is Tirthaman and he was among the three who won consolation prize in a Gandaki zonal wide gazal competition by Damauli, Tanahun based Gandaki Bangmaya Pratisthan. Is that a satire to me? Is he telling me not to be आशे (Aase-the one who expects)? What do I do? I can’t open a BBC World Service like station now, can I?

I love listening to the World Service as it provides me not only news from around. Since it is available on FM transmission (instead of irritating short wave), it’s easy to get the quality broadcast on the go. More than that, I tune in to the World Service for their programs on various issues and analysis. Just yesterday I heard a wonderful program about rift between two communities in Belgium. I never knew before that the country with the capital of European Union was going through heated debates about partisan. It was actually surprising to learn that people of Belgium are so much divided that splitting the country into two zones (mainly based on language spoken by the people on South and North- French and local version of German. I also get varieties of ideas from the World Service coverage for my reporting purpose. Though I hadn’t listened to the World Service for quite some time because my mobile earphone was broken, I had resumed the habit recently after I bought new earphone at the cost of Rs. 1,100. Frustratingly there is no BBC World Service on FM 103 at this point in time and a Radio Nepal report about a Gazal competition is being aired. Continue reading