Anil Srivatsa, former CEO of the IPL team Kings XI Punjab, has been passionate about radio for a long time. So in September this year, he launched Q Radio, India’s first station especially for the LGBT community, where people from the community talk to RJs about the problems they face on a day-to-day basis. There is a special section called In Conversation With, where men and women who have ‘come out’ talk about why they took that decision and how it has affected their lives. Bangalore-based Srivatsa tells us more about Q Radio. Excerpts from the interview:
What made you start Q Radio?
I don’t believe there are any media channels dedicated to the community on a full-time basis in India yet. We hardly acknowledge the LGBT crowd. We are in denial of their existence. Q Radio is the first to do this with radio.
Do you think it was a risk to launch the channel?
If you mean business risk, then yes! Like all businesses, this too has the element of risk. But for the community, I don’t think this was a risk. When you do something socially purposeful for a community, you win loyalty and it extends to those who support the effort, which translates into financial viability.
Was it tough to convince LGBT people to host shows?
Initially, it was hard to get the right team. Now we’re seeing an outpouring of support from the community.
Most shows are in English...
The shows are bilingual, mostly in English, and now Hindi as well. The intent is to appeal to a set of people, influential people, who can identify with this line of communication.
How will a radio station help?
It all depends on how this community wants to use the channel. We want this to be driven by the community and its supporters. We provide a single platform for LGBT groups, to bridge the gap between them and their immediate friends and family. It can also help them gain unconditional acceptance, and assimilate into the mainstream.
Many critics say you are compartmentalising the LGBT community...
Everyone has a right to their opinion; I do not fault them for theirs. What I hope for is to provide a common ground for these exchanges so it can develop into a dialogue, into better understanding.
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From HT Brunch, December 1
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