Kerala’s first campus-based community radio service at Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies in Thiruvalla (MACFAST) will be on the air on Sunday.
‘Radio Macfast-90.4’ will be the first community radio service (CRS) in Central Travancore, the second in the State and the 46th in the country.
MACFAST has successfully conducted test broadcasts from its 50 watt power transmitter that almost covers an aerial distance of 20 kilometres, says Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, the college principal, who promoted the novel project. “Radio Macfast with its wide range of diverse and interesting programmes is going to be a trendsetter in the CRS segment,” said Fr Mulamoottil.
According to him, community radio focuses on low cost and low return pattern of operation, aimed at educating and entertaining the community using its own idiom and language, in contrast to the private FM Radio, which is primarily driven by entertainment and business considerations. “Ultimately it will strengthen democratic institutions and practices, giving common people access to information”.
The mainstream media is unable to cater to the information needs of the community as it is primarily market-driven and run with a profit motive, he says. The question of CRS as an alternative media becomes relevant here. It must have space in terms of localisation of content, participation and involvement of the community, narrowing the differences between the broadcaster and the audience.
The students at the college will also get a chance to fine tune their talents through Radio Macfast, says Ms Anju Jacob, MBA student who has been selected as a radio jockey.
MBA students manage the marketing aspects of the CRS and almost the entire show will be run by MACFAST students under the guidance of experts.
True to its tagline “Naattukarku koottayi”, Radio Macfast-90.4 will be a partner and friend of the local populace in all their endeavours, says Fr Mulamoottil.
Fr Mulamootil said the main focus of Radio Macfast would be on issues relating to regional news updates of socially relevant issues, women empowerment, agriculture, education, health, environment and rural development, imparting value education among children and youth, besides entertainment programmes.
He said MACFAST would also set up a chain of rural radio clubs in Central Travancore region so as to ensure maximum public participation and involvement in the radio programmes.
Moran Mor Baselius Cleemis Catholicos, Major Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram will launch Radio Macfast at a function to be held at the college auditorium at 3 pm on Sunday. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvalla, Thomas Mar Coorilos, will preside over the launching ceremony.