Sharma gets last laugh
'Lantern post' station celebrates 12 years
Stabroek News
June 8, 2004

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Chandra Narine Sharma, owner of Channel Six was laughing last night as his television station celebrated 12 years of existence.

Sharma told the media, at the official launching of the new CNS 6 offices, that he started his television station on June 7, 1992 and was then known as Channel 12. He recalled that fellow media houses also called it the `lantern post station' since he had no broadcast tower and was using a lamp post.

Sharma said he suffered some ridicule even as he had started airing death announcements, birthday greetings and live call-in programmes when no other station was doing these things.

He said many laughed and condemned what he was doing but several stations soon picked it up. Sharma added his station was the first to have live coverage of Parliament sittings and the first to show Indian programmes.

This too was met with criticism, according to him but he stayed focused. Cinema owners have taken him to court for showing bootlegged films which they say hurt their ticket sales.

Meanwhile, Sharma said the government should grant television station owners duty-free concessions on equipment. After spending over $70M for his new studio Sharma is calling for the concessions, which he said would reduce the burden on local broadcasters.

He said that the cost of importing equipment is high, adding that he has plans to purchase a satellite dish and a transmitter.

Changes are to be implemented in the programming schedule that will see new overseas programmes being included alongside local productions.

According to him, the television station has plans to reach Guyanese across the country but the government is yet to give approval. Though CNS 6 is reaching homes as far as Essequibo, signals are yet to reach Berbice and Bartica.

Sharma told reporters yesterday that he had applied to the government to expand services across the country but permission has yet to be granted. He says the process is being stonewalled because of the current political impasse.