Radio Nepal was established on 1 April 1951. Initially, the transmission covered a duration of 4 1/2 hours through a 250 Watt SW transmitter. Over the years, Radio Nepal has strengthened its institutional capacity considerably and diversified itself in terms of programme format, technical efficiency and coverage. Radio Nepal airs programmes on short wave, medium wave and FM frequencies.
Radio Nepal uses a wide range of formats including features, documentaries, docu-dramas, dramas, talk shows, interviews, music shows and live commentaries. Recognizing the citizen's right to be informed under a multi-party democracy, Radio Nepal attempts to provide informative, educational and entertaining programmes. Radio Nepal broadcasts news bulletins at regular intervals (hourly) and bulletins in English three times a day. In addition to the news in Nepali and English, there are bulletins in other languages at various timings. The languages include Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Rai Bantawa, Limbu, Newari, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Urdu, Tharu East and Tharu West, Avadhi, Sherpa, Maithili, Sanskrit, Kham Magar and Doteli.
In February 2004, Equal Access Nepal (programme producer) was established as a non-profit organization, create positive change for large numbers of people in Nepal by providing information and education through radio programmes and outreach activities. Since then, Equal Access has continued to implement numerous ‘communications for development’ projects in Nepal, with programming on a range of thematic areas including education, children and young people (based on life skills), livelihood, peace building, HIV and AIDS and women empowerment.
Equal Access’s approach is to create customized communication strategies and outreach solutions that address the most critical problems affecting people in rural areas. This is done by designing and producing compelling local-language audio and multi-media programmes and combining these with effective outreach. The majority of Nepal's population lacks access to the electricity, telephone, and internet and there are also high levels of print illiteracy. In this context, Equal Access broadcast over 6 hours of social development programmes daily via Nepali language satellite radio service, which reaches over 20 million people via more than 45 local radio FM stations and Radio Nepal, as well as through 1800 listening clubs.
Equal Access manages a multi-sectoral, leadership training and support system for community radio producers and community reporters, NGO outreach partners, educators and other community based leaders.
For its ICDB activity, Radio Nepal aired a special episode of “Sathia Sanga Mann ka Kura,” a regular program it distributes. The ICDB episode featured not only the regular young-adult hosts but also two child guest hosts. The four debated various topics of gender equality. They put out a call for SMS answers to the question: “Do you believe that boys and girls are equal? If yes, why?”
There was a drama that shows two young people in a family, Maili and Madan, who receive different treatment based on their gender. After the drama, the hosts discussed the program and how it relates to real life for them.
To close off the 45-mintue show, the hosts read letters from listeners about their situations at home and shared a success story of a deprived girl who defies the boundaries of her society to get an education.
Approach to Children and Children's Programming
Along with the Sathi Sanga Mann ka Kura, Radio Nepal also broadcasts other programmes related to youth & children - Yuva Sansar (World of youth), Aba Ko Yuva Pusta (Youth of Future) & Bal Batika (Children’s Garden) – and it broadcasts news for children for 5 minutes daily. In addition, this year Radio Nepal is doing a quiz competition with the students of Higher Secondary Schools.
Sathi Sanga Mann Ka Kura was initiated in 2001 and Equal Access Nepal has been producing the show since 2004. It is a weekly 45-minute radio show that has immense popularity and a regular listening audience of 6 million people. The show combines music, drama and youth conversation to convey and discuss important life skill issues. A pool of trained reporters support the program by providing diverse voices and opinions of young people from across the country.
The radio show’s relevance and appeal has spawned a network of over 1000 spontaneously formed youth listening clubs in nearly all the districts of the country. Members of these clubs are playing active roles in engaging their communities and trained youth leaders currently train their fellow youth on how to be role models in peace building and reconciliation.