The Delhi University’s Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC) is creating a “working module” to run community radios in India. DU is planning to propose the module to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as a universal model to be accepted in the form of structured guidelines for such stations.
Project coordinator Saleem Mir said while there are over 170 community radio stations in India, rarely are they found to be operating successfully.
“In the rat race between mainstream FM channels, these radios lose out and so do the communities. Often they find content on other channels to be too general and not related to their needs. On other occasions, mainstream media outlets communicate in a language alien to them,” he said.
The module will be tested at DU’s community radio station and suggestions from experts in the industry will be be sought before it is proposed to the Ministry, Mir said.
Mir said inadequate research had been conducted in the area, despite its importance, and consequently there were no working-models that could be used by the various community radios. Former engineer-in-chief of Doordarshan is also working on the project with CIC.
Mir said while it was difficult to formulate an “universal” module for community centres across the country, the project was looking to understand ways in which community radio stations could benefit from measures such as increased community participation, generating funds, involving listeners and developing content.
The team visited and studied practices at different community radio stations — CMS Radio (Lucknow), Deccan Radio (Hyderabad), Jamia Radio and Apna Radio in Delhi and Gurgaon Ki Awaaz (Gurgaon).
Now, it plans to conduct surveys in the areas where the radio stations operate. The proposal will also include a training module for volunteers and staff at the stations.