Three Day Community Radio Awareness Workshop

Hyderabad, March.3 (Maxim News): A 3 day community radio awareness workshop organized by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) in partnership with Seeking Modern Applications For Real Transformation (SMART), kicked off on Tuesday.

Community Radio, is a flagship program of the Government of India. It is a very powerful medium to reach out to un-reached and marginalized communities. Archana Kapoor, Founder of SMART said that the purpose of the workshop is to sensitize organizations about the concept of Community Radio, its application process, need, purpose and programming. Besides, this the experience sharing sessions of community radio practitioners and discussions on operational and sustainability issues help demystify the issues of sustainability, community participation and more. The workshop is being attended by 45 representatives of the non-governmental organizations and educational institutions and Krishi Vigyan Kendras from across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Archana Kapoor said that the community radio is a less expensive medium to provide information and entertainment to the marginalized people. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting hosts 8 such workshops each year the focus is now on aspirational districts.

Ms Rukmini Vemraju a community media expert, and consultant with SMART said that the Community Radio is a very powerful tool for empowerment of underserved communities. It is different from commercial stations as it ensures participation of the community, it gives access to all and encourages a two communication, where listeners become producers.

Ms Esther Kar, former DG, PIB in her session on sustainability session talked about the various aspects of sustainability in the context of a community radio. She said that for a community radio to be effective, we need to look at sustainability from the perspective of community, content, human resources, culture and finance. She shared with the group the efforts of the government, the subsidies being provided and advertising support given. She talked about the guidelines, and the rates of advertising set up the government.

Praveen Kumar Mondal from BECIL took the technical training and also accompanied the participants to the radio station visit and explained details of equipment on location.

Operating community radio stations from Bangalore and Telangana participated in the experience sharing session. They shared their stories of change, their success and the challenges faced by them in their starting years. Radio Active from Bangalore talked about discovering new communities of interest, Dr. Devendarappa from Krishi CRS, Dharwad shared their experience of engaging with farmers both online and offline and their success in increasing productivity. Creating a community of listeners is as crusial as creating a bank of programs.

Siva Sankara from Namma Dhwani talked about the ups and downs in running a station and how perseverance and participation can bring in new life in the station. Radio Charminar, which was also the partner station in hosting this workshop talked about need based programming. Radio Pragnya, Hyderabad and Radio Mewat, Haryana, also contributed to the discussion by highlighting the need to outreach activities. Representing the wide landscape of the CR sector these stations motivated the participants to join the small family of 280 stations by setting up their own stations.

The group was then divided into 6 groups and each of the group was given the task of setting up dummy stations. They were asked to give a name, identify the community, produce content and share their own financial resources. These groups have been asked to present their stations and content to the group tomorrow.

The participants are very enthusiastic and are committed to start their radio stations. (Maxim News)

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