Children

How Visakhapatnam-based School Radio has thrived to create a digital space for children to produce audio content

From giving voice to the friendly house sparrows to producing stories of changemakers of sustainable development, Visakhapatnam-based School Radio has, over the years, created a digital space where the youth and children can create meaningful audio content and be active participants in community development.

What started as a State-wide initiative in Andhra Pradesh six years ago has today reached across 20 States and four countries. School Radio was founded by Aruna Katragadda and her husband Udaya Kumar in 2015 on February 13, to mark World Radio Day. “The main idea was to encourage children and youth to participate, discuss and voice effectively. We work with the age group of nine to 29 years in areas like sustainable development and producing stories of changemakers who can inspire and motivate them,” says Aruna Katragadda, whose brainchild, School Radio, is part of the team of 19 women entrepreneurs handpicked for the Women Startup Programme at Indian Institute of Management, Visakhapatnam (IIM-V). “The objective is to not only spread awareness on an issue, but also to involve them in finding solutions,” she adds.

How Visakhapatnam-based School Radio has thrived to create a digital space for children to produce audio content

School Radio has partnered with a team of storytellers, voice artistes, radio professionals and sector specialists who provide online training through video conferencing platforms like Zoom. The training sessions span across three days wherein the participants are taught how to prepare a script, record stories and edit them. Each radio episode has a duration of 15 to 30 minutes.

The content that students produce is published as an audio file or a compilation on the School Radio website. Prior to the pandemic the workshops would be held in schools and where the School Radio team offered training to students and teachers, apart from their online workshops.

The pandemic made them go completely online. “We took it as an opportunity to expand our reach and get these voices heard through the medium of online radio,” says Aruna. Today, School Radio has expanded to States like Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala with programmes in eight languages, also engaging with children and young adults in countries like the US, Bangladesh, UK, China and Oman.

School Radio has so far trained 4,200 students till date. They also have 2.35 lakh listeners across the globe. “But that is not our priority,” Aruna clarifies. “Our focus is to involve as many children as possible in content creation,” she adds.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 5:31:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/how-visakhapatnam-based-school-radio-has-thrived-to-create-a-digital-space-for-children-to-produce-audio-content/article34190262.ece

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