Tamil Nadu sets the pace in community radio
Tamil Nadu has a clear lead over other States with respect to the setting up of community radio stations in the country, with 20 channels operating in the southern State. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are the other States where a number of these stations are operating.
The policy guidelines for setting up of Community Radio Stations (CRS) in India allows setting up of CRS by educational institutions, civil society and voluntary organisations, State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), ICAR institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, registered societies, autonomous bodies and public trusts registered under Societies Act.
So far 913 organisations including universities and colleges have applied for setting up CRS in the country. According to government officials, of these letters of Intent have been issued to 349 (of which 150 organisations have signed Grant of Permission Agreement) while 295 applications have been rejected so far. A total of 269 applications are pending for grant of permission to set up community radio station for want of requisite information from the applicant institutions or clearances from concerned ministries.
Community radios in some areas are doing pioneering work in spreading rights awareness, tackling health and education issues, concerning themselves with community problems and trying to empower the local population with relevant information.
Though community radio engages with specific issues that have social impact, mainstream radio too is witnessing an upward surge with new markets and new technologies making their presence felt. May 2012 will see an India Radio Forum meet playing out in Mumbai. It will be discussing key issues including the future of radio in the country, how it can be used for social change and whether it has become less relevant in the age of social media over the Internet. To make it economically viable, the forum will thrash out questions regarding advertising on the medium. According to the forum, last year radio media gained in media share of total advertisement spends and peaked at 3 per cent. However, retail advertising is yet to take off and that is what the forum intends to do. It will try to push its share of advertising to 7 per cent with Phase 3 of FM auctions around the corner.