March 17, 2007 : This is FM Radio Banasthali on 90.4 MHz
By Girija Devi
The FM Radio Station at Banasthali Vidyapith (an all Women’s University), was started in January 2005 as a campus radio for the students. The transmission reaches 50 villages in and around Banasthali. within a radius of 10-15 kms. The FM radio station broadcasts for 4 hours daily currently (2 hrs in the morning and 2 hrs in the evening) and focuses on topics of education, health, environment, agriculture, rural and community development. The staff of the Radio station is drawn from the University Faculty and student volunteer anchors. The outdoor recordings are part of the extension activities of the University. In collaboration with UNICEF, Jaipur a pilot Community Radio project has been initiated in Tonk district in 2006 linked to the communities living in the 50 villages surrounding Banasthali.
Gramshakti is the UNICEF Integrated Village Planning project in Tonk district wherein 6 NGO partners are implementing participatory village microplanning and development of community village development plans. In Niwai block (where the community radio project is being operationalised) under the guidance of NGO partner CDECS community development plans have been completed in the 50 villages which fall in the vicinity of the Banasthali Radio transmission zone. The Village Youth Volunteers (VYVs) of the Gramsahkti project will act as community links and facilitators. Currently the radio station broadcasts for four hours a day - 8-10 am and 6-8 pm which will be extended. The VYVs from Niwai block have been associated with the Community radio project from its inception in 2006.
Around 100 VYVs were given training in how to undertake a community needs assessment on audience preferences for radio programmes. This survey was conducted in January 07 in 35 villages over a period of fifteen days covering 3062 households. The survey has revealed that 60.5% of the people have access to radio and almost 78% of the population listened to radio at home - regular male listeners was 86.6% as compared to 13.4% of female listeners.
The VYVs who participated in the audience survey in January were contacted and invited to the training “Workshop on Radio Programme Production for VYVs”. In this training workshop they were exposed to basics of the medium of radio , radio programmes formats, production in studio and in the field, how to write scripts, presentation of radio interactive programmes-like interviews, discussions, anchoring, phone-ins , skits, dramas and music based ones.
A core group of resource persons from AIR, Pink City FM radio, eminent senior artistes and scriptwriters conversant with the local culture and dialects took the VYVs through the practical assignments on scriptwriting, audio recordings, and feedback sessions. The studio of Radio Banasthali was used for recordings and hands-on training. VYVs also practiced recording interviews with community members.
The next steps envisaged in the project is to increase the transmission time to have more community programmes reflecting the local isssues and problems of the villagers, VYVs to form radio listeners clubs in the Information Posts being set up in the 50 villages and phone-in interactions.
As aptly summed up by Lali Meena, VYV from Mundiya village “Radio can be a powerful voice of the voiceless in the village only when community radio will be heard by many ,if it talks the language of the local people in the local idiom”.