The real journey has begun and as an India Fellow, I’m finally diving deeper to understand a Community Radio Station (CR station). The whole and sole definition of CR can be summed up as “A radio station of the community, for the community and by the community.” Here, community refers to a group of people having same local ecosystem and similar lifestyles.
Of the community: Out of these three definitive criteria, first one states that community should feel ownership over the CR Station. This gets fulfilled by the NGOs or educational institutions or KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) holding the licenses for CR station.
For the community:The second criteria is supplementary to the first one and ultimately the content created by CR station is for the local community.
By the community: This blog specifically focuses on the third aspect. This means that the community should be fully participating in the content generation of the CR station. The stations often face some challenges in fulfilling this criteria.
From the facts I’ve gone through, our ‘Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini’ used to have 10 minutes of broadcast in its early phase back in 2008. And now we generate enough content to broadcast for 8 hours daily. This took a period of more than 7 years to get the community involved seriously into content generation.
So, the question comes, ‘How did this happen?’ The answer is quite simple. When someone doesn’t come to you, stretch your hand first. That’s exactly what our CR station did. We reached out to the community, not just to a particular age group or area but to everyone, to increase the participation for content generation. From school going kids to 80-year-olds, from farmers to businessmen, from illiterate people to government officials and from politicians to a common man. Literally everyone from the community was approached and involved in the process of content generation. For this, our CR runs various initiatives for everyone mentioned above. This post highlights one of the initiatives taken up by our CR for seeking increased community participation.
“प्रश्न आमचे, उत्तर तुमचे” (“Our Question, Your Answer”)
In this, we give 3 questions each week to 5 schools in the town of Mann. These are mostly about general knowledge or textbook knowledge. The kids look for the answers and then drop a note with their answers written on it. Signing it off with their names, they put it into a box kept at school. The responses are collected and names of all the respondents are announced each Sunday. There are gifts for correct answers which are sponsored by the businessmen from the community. This way kids gain extra knowledge apart from the textbooks and radio gets its content generated by the community. This program is being run since last 2 years and the responses are continuously increasing. More importantly, it has given children the platform to voice their questions to their teachers, learn from the internet and ask their parents or community about these things, increasing the curiosity of the youngsters in these blocks.
Similarly, there are various community participation programs for women, farmers, local artists, government servants, youth and oldies. The true meaning of a CR station can only be fulfilled when the content generation is by the people of the community and yes! We are definitely doing well at this.
By the way, feel free to endorse Nilay for the newly gained Hindi/Marathi typing skills.