Chennai

Community radio: giving a localised touch

Participants at the State level workshop-cum-consultation on women, children and community radio in Loyola College  

People Studies, Loyola College and UNICEF, jointly organised a two-day State level workshop-cum-consultation on women, children and community radio in Loyola College, Nungambakkam, from August 10. Representatives from as many as 20 community radio stations and five to-be-launched stations from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry participated. Minister for Social Welfare, B. Valarmathi, inaugurated the workshop.

The workshop was undertaken to bring the community radio stations together to share their experiences in developing innovative programmes and discuss the strategies for sustainability with the participation of the people.

The participants shared the success stories of their programmes with special focus on women and children. Jamila of Anna FM explained how their programme, ‘Magalir Neram,’ created an awareness on health and hygiene among women. “Women enthusiastically call up to get advice from doctors or experts available in the radio station,” she said. The station conducted survey on the health condition in the community it caters to and found that many of them do not have the basic knowledge of cause, symptom and treatment for common diseases. They tailor-made the programme accordingly and now 10 women members from the community are designing and presenting programmes on related subjects. “Participatory development is a success,” she said, as many women have taken to self-employment after their programmes. The programmes also focus on children and transgenders.

On the first day, there was a special programme with underprivileged children anchored by TV artist Maggie, which was aired the next day in Loyola FM. Alex Parimalam, Co-convener of the event, said that the event was aimed at providing a platform for mutual learning. In the two-day event, the participants identified common issues and ways to solve them. They also focussed their discussion on topics on which programmes could be presented, challenges of running the stations and on how to make the initiative more meaningful by understanding the needs and talents of the community as well as by participating them in communication.

The success stories would help them realise the power to communicate and the confidence to bring in change through the alternate media.

A speaker said that the concept of public broadcasting received a fillip when community radio was brought in to give radio a more localised touch creating it as a tool for change. Community radios can serve local communities, more precisely, the marginalised sections among them. B. Rabi Bernard, MP (Rajya Sabha) was the guest of honour for the valedictory function.

Most of the community radio stations are managed by educational institutions and some by non-government organisations. The reach of these radios vary from 10 kilometres to 50 kilometres. The programmes are prepared with the involvement of the students and community members on the issues relevant to the community.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 5:46:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Community-radio-giving-a-localised-touch/article12708293.ece

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