Indira Joseph Venniyoor
|Died|| (aged 94)|
E. M. J. Venniyoor
(m. 1954; died 1984)
Indira Joseph Venniyoor (born Indira Poduval; 1925/1926 – 29 December 2020) was an Indian radio broadcaster and Travancore Radio's first English-language news broadcaster. She was a broadcaster with All India Radio until her retirement in 1984.
Venniyoor was born in the state of Travancore (in modern-day Kerala, India) into the Ambady house, a high caste Hindu family. Her father Vasudeva Poduval was a superintendent of archaeology with the state of Travancore and later the director of the archaeological museum. She moved with her family to Thiruvananthapuram at the age of 17. Recalling her childhood, she would later say that her family would host visitors like the Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich, American art historian Stella Kramrisch, and other English speakers at home, instilling in her a love for the language.
Venniyoor (then Poduval) graduated around the time when C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, Dewan of the state of Travancore, was establishing Travancore Radio with a dedicated low-power broadcasting studio. She submitted her application to the then–chief minister of Travancore–Cochin, Paravoor T. K. Narayana Pillai, and was selected for the job. When the station started broadcasting in 1949, she began as the announcer, and was its first English-language news broadcaster. As per the proceedings in the then legislature of the State of Travancore and Cochin, she was paid 69 rupees (then equivalent to US$14.50) for her job as a news broadcaster in 1949.[a] When Travancore Radio became a part of All India Radio (AIR) in Trivandrum on 1 April 1950, she went on to broadcast from the Bhakti Vilas palace, where the AIR station shifted to from its earlier location at the Vazhuthakatte MLA Quarters building.
Her signature starting note, "This is Trivandrum. You will now hear the news read by Indira Poduval", was a characteristic of her daily 7 pm radio broadcasts. With radio still out of reach from the homes of many of the common people, people would throng the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium where the news would be broadcast on public speakers. She cited English broadcasters from All India Radio Delhi, Melville de Mellow, and Roshan Menon as her inspiration. She continued working with All India Radio until her retirement as a program executive in 1984.
She was a noted connoisseur of music and the performing arts, and was known to have encouraged emerging artists during her time at All India Radio.
Venniyoor met her future husband, art critic and author E. M. J. Venniyoor, when he was a program assistant at All India Radio when they produced the show Rasagolam together. They married in 1954 and had three sons. Recalling the marriage of an upper-caste Hindu to a Christian, she would say, "He was adept at English; and that's what drew us close." Her husband died in 1984 when he was a station director with All India Radio in Bombay.
- Menon, Ravi. ""Call us Indira and Francesca"; how 'Moby Dick' united two souls separated by seas". Mathrubhumi. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
- updusr5; മാര്ച്ച്, 01; 2020 (1 March 2020). "This is tvm. You will now hear the news read by Indira Poduval : ആള് ഇന്ത്യാ റേഡിയോയിലെ പ്രസിദ്ധമായ ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് വാര്ത്താപ്രക്ഷേപണം". Kerala Women (in Malayalam). Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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- "Veteran broadcaster Indira Joseph Venniyoor passes away". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 30 December 2020. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 30 December 2020.CS1 maint: others (link)
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- "Travancore Radio's first English newscaster Indira Joseph no more". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 16 January 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
- "ആള് ഇന്ത്യാ റേഡിയോയിലെ പെണ്ശബ്ദം -ഇന്ദിരാപൊതുവാള്". Nanaonline. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.