In a world being shaken up by knowledge explosion, it is ironical to find millions of people victimized of hunger, illiteracy, ignorance, gaps in communication and the resultant powerlessness. Information Technology including radio in the form of Community Radio Station, now allowed by Government of India to Universities / Institutes / NGOS, promises unlimited opportunities to the disadvantaged millions in our country to realize their potentials and attain a brighter future. Community Radio Station can be used for agriculture and farming, improved health and sanitation, combating HIV/AIDS, enhancing the empowerment of women, educating the people from various fields and communities and reversing the loss of environmental resources. This can start a mass moment for use of media for community development. The achievement of these objectives is vital to bridge the growing gap between the less developed societies and the industrialized world.
Starting a radio station has for many years been completely out of reach for the general public. Agricultural and other Universities/ Krishi Vigyan Kendras/Colleges/ Institutes/ NGOs in India have won a rare opportunity to apply for an extremely valuable radio station for free. The recent guidelines of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting have allowed recognised Universities, KVKs, colleges, residential schools and NGOs to set up ‘community radio’.These stations can broadcast educational programmes, debates, social and cultural programmes. Limited commercial has been allowed. The main objective of granting the license is to impart the education through FM Radio to the students living within the campus and also in the adjoining areas. The radio station can also be used by the institutions / NGOs to develop the community. As per existing Regulations, the community radio can be set up only by reccognised institutes/ colleges/ University/NGOs. There are a few other restrictions on the type of hardware to be used as well as content to be broadcast.
Initiative of Ministry of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture has taken an initiative and has sought proposals from SAUs /KVKs /NGOs working in agricultural domain for funding setting up Community Radio Station under the scheme “Support to state extension programs for extension reforms”. The department is providing funds for setting up CRS and is also supporting content creation for a period of three years. Ministry of Agriculture has recognized that CRS would make a major contribution to agricultural extension by utilizing reach of radio transmitter and disseminating information and knowledge produced locally and having relevance for specific area.
The present report provides features of the community radio in India and the way to set up the same.
Features of CRS allowed by the Government
Why you need CRS: Type of Programmes
Hardware / Software
A radio station has basically three components. These are:
An antenna mounted on a high pole or a tower is used to send signal in a large area. In case of FM broadcasts (allowed for CRS), the signal travels in the line-of-sight. As such, a higher antenna has advantage of higher coverage. The first stage for starting a radio station is obtaining a suitable location. A room of about 400 sq. ft. area is to be identified in one of the existing buildings or specially build for the radio station. This room will have to be divided into two sections by a suitable partition with glass window. The smaller partition is for the equipment meant for recording and transmission. The slightly bigger portion becomes the studio. It will have a microphone, simple chairs and a table for the participants to sit and talk with. The Microphone can be installed on the table or fixed on an adjustable stand. For proper maintenance of the equipments the room should be air-conditioned.Keeping in view the condition of power supply in Indian environment, a UPS is recommended. Typical on-air studio system, Community FM Transmission System and automatic broadcast system are shown below. The Automated broadcast system allows scheduling of playlist for auto operation of the radio station.
The owner of the radio station will decide how sophisticated or elaborate equipments the radio station will have. It can be simple analog studio using cassette decks and CD players or a sophisticated Hard Disk Based digital system. It is advisable to have twin FM transmitter in (1 + 1) mode. A PC based recording system and at least two CD / Cassette Decks for recording and playback are desirable. For outdoor recordings portable cassette players with recording facility, can be used. Microphone attachments instead of in-built microphones naturally give better clarity in recordings. For good reception, a tower of 30 meter height is required. If a multi storeyed building is available, a tower on the roof top can be used to mount the antenna.
This kind of hardware does not need extensive maintenance. The transmitter in the dual mode should work during its life without any problem. All the equipment is under warrantee for a period of one year. A few volunteers may be provided thorough training to run and operate it. Similarly training is required for programme production and announcement etc.
Programming is key to successful utilization of the CRS. You can get some canned programmes from WDF or can get some tailormade programmes made for your organization. See the type of programmes at radio WDF. Training in programme production and Radio presentation, use of scheduling software is also required. The college / NGO has also to be provided training for initiation of operation of a radio station. World Development Foundation runs frequent training programmes.WDF can help you in these areas. Pl see the section Express Learning
Every organization needs special solution. Don't get lured by cheaper solutions nor run for tendering. You are going to run a radio station. First learn and then have an informed decision. Remember that even after 7 years of start of Govt policy, only about 50 CRSs have become operational and hardly a dozen of them are running regularly. There must be a reason.
Steps involved in implementation
Very briefly, the steps involved in executing a CRS project are as follows: Your consultant should advise and assist you in all these respects. If he is a turn key service provider (like WDF), then he should be able to take up all these activities. Check his competence and abilities by visiting his place or installations
Community Radio Station has great potential for education and social development. It is easy to set up, operate and run it after training. It is most economical tool to reach the masses and have a quick communication. It can also be used in conjunction with Phone / Mobile and Internet system to make it two way interactive system. However, you need professional advice, training and guidance.
For further details, contact wdfindia