Sustainability haunts Community radio, radioandmusic.com, November 2009, by Anita Iyer.
MUMBAI: Community radio is a radio station for, by and of the community. This adage was cemented at the community radio workshop in Mumbai last week.
Held at Juhu in suburban Mumbai, the two day workshop- ‘Community Radio: tuning into diversity’ offered guidelines on setting up, managing and sustaining a community radio station.
Operational community run stations in India like DDS Sangham, Mangalore based Radio Sarang, MVSS from Satara, Radio Bundelkhand, Radio Ujjas of Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghatan, related their success stories which emphasized on community involvement.
The focus on day one was on operational stations who completed one year and sustainability was the key concern for these stations at the forum. Walking the audiences through their stations, they related experiences of trails and triumphs of setting up a station.
DDS Sangham presented a successful model of subscription, where the community of 5000 people contributes Rs. 50 annually for recovering the operational cost of the station.
Apart from the success stories, the workshop touched upon points of procedure of setting up a station, funding, technicalities, advertising avenues, content production, archiving of content etc. CR applicant Naveen Chandra from Bandra based Union park residents association explained the process of applying for license.
Hemant Babu of Nomad transmitters simplified the technicalities in setting up community radio and proclaimed that funding should not be a hurdle for communication. Elaborating on low cost equipment for setting up community radio, he said that a station can be initiated in Rs. 1 lakh as well.
On the technical side, the event also saw presentation by Gram Vaani who exhibited their GRINS technology.
On the second day, Brian Tellis from Radio Active spoke about integration of community radio with mobile technology. He advised Radio Bundelkhand which received 60 calls every week to encourage the concept of mobile technology in the interiors to increase interactivity.
Chhavi Sachdev of audio content and production house Sonologue introduced the audience to concept of carving listeners through social networking site and increasing visibility. Content production being one of the key issues for community radio, Sachdev has flagged off an upcoming online portal – sharewave.in, a platform for stations to share relevant content with attribution.
Online integration was followed by Friji Karhikeyan, developer of an online radio channel- Radio Schizoid. She explained the need for hosting a music enabled website for spreading local music and creating a buzz about community radio.
Attendees from different walks were present at the workshop including radio operators, technical professionals, community radio applicants, license seekers and radio enthusiasts.
Although the workshop touched upon many aspects of community radio, the question of raising finance and sustainability was still left unanswered.