Campus connect: Bridging gaps through Pune’s community radios
Radio FTII, with frequency 90.4, travels from community to community explaining the marvels of this platform and how, without having to go through cumbersome formalities, they can avail this platform to communicate their issues, find solutions and also demonstrate their artistic prowess.pune Updated: Aug 04, 2017 18:44 IST
In a world replete with means of communication, the true essence to connect with the community on issues of collective and individual importance is at the verge of becoming obsolete, say individuals who are attempting to bridge this communication gap through the social tool of community radio.
“Radio is a powerful medium and when we take it a step further, make it for the people and by the people, that is, democratic in its true sense, it becomes even more powerful and impactful. That is what community radio is all about,” said Sonal Inamdar, a radio-programming assistant at Radio FTII, one of the few community radio platforms in Pune.
Talking to Hindustan Times, she shared the grass root level work that a community radio is capable of doing and how it can actually change individual lives as well as that of the entire community. “It is a tool of empowerment. We hold training facilities for individuals of different communities through our tie-ups with NGOs. Training them in handling technical equipments here, to actually going on air to share their experiences, or perform, all of this is a huge boost to many,” says Inamdar.
A 43-year old Neeta Tupare is one such beneficiary, who made her journey from the Sinhagad slums to Radio FTII, becoming a key member of the team. She expressed that this is not just an work for her, but it has empowered her in every possible way.
She says, “Before this, I was running a small canteen, but through this medium the kind confidence I have gained and have successfully shared with other women of my community is a great achievement for me, and I truly feel empowered.”
In 2010, she came to Radio FTII as a volunteer for a women empowerment workshop, and was exposed to the world of radio, with all its technicalities. “Being an average listener, we don’t usually know the kind of work that goes behind producing a programme. Also, I did not know how to operate a computer, they helped me with everything. From scripting, to editing, to scheduling, all of that was taught to me here,” says Tupare, who joined as a Class 9 pass, and recently completed her BA from Yashwantrao Chavan Open University, scoring 62%.
“All these students who are highly educated and polished come here for internships. But, it’s kind of nice, how sir (Sanjay Tambekar, head, Radio FTII) asks me to teach them all the technicalities of producing a show!” she says.
Radio FTII, with frequency 90.4, travels from community to community explaining the marvels of this platform and how, without having to go through cumbersome formalities, they can avail this platform to communicate their issues, find solutions and also demonstrate their artistic prowess. Their signature programme, 'Project Axshay Xshayavar Vijay', is a campaign project of 16-episodes on Tuberculosis (TB) bringing together experts discussing symptoms, care and importance of regular medication for TB to various government aids for TB patients, through broadcasting their health awareness campaign messages on air.
Manish Pandey, is another beneficiary listener who through the programme series came to know about the government services available for TB and started availing the same. Having battled the social stigma surrounding the disease, through the support of the community radio, he continues his treatment with a positive attitude, said Radio FTII team.
Another prominent community radio broadcasting in Marathi, English and Hindi, is Pune University’ radio station ‘Vidyavani’. Launched in 2005, the station airs programmes related to health, civic issues, education by catering to students of 650 colleges that are affiliated with the university.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, director Anand Deshmukh says, “Such a platform is not commercial, that means we do not put commercial advertisements at all. It is for the people, and so such a social cause comes with it’s challenges, one being that of the range. Our on-air station has 50-watts power of the transmitter with the height of 300 feet which does affect the broadcasting range. But, with our attempts to expand and reach out to more people, we are hoping to increase our range to 30 to 40 kilometers.”
“Also, with the introduction of the internet radio station, we are also reaching out to the overseas listeners,” he adds.
Caption: Neeta Tupare, who as emerged as a community hero at Radio FTII