PANAJI: Radio Vishwas, a Community Radio Station (CRS) in Nashik-Maharashtra, has bagged two awards at the 8th edition of the National Community Radio Awards instituted by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, says a press release by the Ministry.
Radio Vishwas 90.8 won the first prize in the ‘Sustainability Model Awards’ category and the second prize in the ‘Thematic Awards’ category for its radio programme ‘Education for All’ in the times of COVID-19.
Radio Vishwas is run by the Vishwas Dhyan Prabodhini & Research Institute, Nashik, Maharashtra and has been broadcasting since its launch. The station broadcasts 14 hours daily.
The CRS’ initiative, ‘Shikshan Sarvansathi’ (Education for all) that won award under the Thematic Category was started in June 2020 to provide free education for students from 3rd to 10th grade, during the difficult time of COVID-19.
Audio lectures were aired and made accessible to all the students, who study in Zilla Parishad and Nashik Municipal schools. The programme was broadcast in various languages i.e. Hindi, English, Marathi, Sanskrit.
Speaking to (PIB) about the functioning and the approach of the CRS, Station Director, Dr. Hari Vinayak Kulkarni said the programme received a very positive response. “These are the students who are trapped in poverty and cannot afford smartphones for digital education. ‘Shikshan Sarvaansathi’ project was implemented with the help of 150 teachers who recorded lectures in our studio. The lectures were then aired according to the slots allocated to each subject. The programme received a huge response from the targeted community; approximately 50,000 – 60,000 students of municipal and ZP schools benefited”.
Dr Kulkarni further informed that the lectures were also shared with six community radios in Maharashtra, so that they too could broadcast through their radio channels. “We are glad that we could help students from all over Maharashtra as six community radios approached us to share this content to broadcast in their respective cities”.
Dr Kulkarni also spoke about the initiatives being taken by teachers in distributing FM devices to students. “A group of teachers in Igatpuri taluka of Nashik distributed 451 FM devices (inclusive of USB, Bluetooth, high-end speakers) to students to ensure that they don’t miss out on current syllabus. Teachers are also planning to upload it on YouTube, which can also be used when normal schooling begins.”
Dr. Kulkarni explained how the innovative model of sustainability adopted by the CRS has enabled the station to sustain itself in four key areas: financial, human, technical and content sustainability. Over a period of 10 years, the station has been able to develop a listenership base of approximately 3 lakh people, he said adding “we are very confident that positive steps will be taken and change will occur due to the issues we raise through our programmes”.
Speaking about the various programs being broadcast through the CRS, he said how the programme ‘Shahri Parasbaag’ (Kitchen Garden) helped increase awareness about environment conservation. “The complete process right from seed availability till planting the sapling is provided to our audience in this programme,” he said. ‘Mala Aavadlela Pustak’ (about favourite books to read) and ‘Jaaniv Samajktechi’ (focused on difficulties faced by senior citizens) are programmes targeted to cover wide range of audience.
Community Radio Stations typically focus on the local issues for the benefit of the local community in a radius of 10-15 Kms. These stations are run mostly by the local people who host talk shows, play local music and sing local songs.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had instituted National Community Radio (CR) Awards in the year 2011-12 to encourage innovation and healthy competition amongst Community Radio Stations. These Community Radio stations have played a significant role in communication during COVID-19 pandemic. As on date, there are 327 community radio stations in operation in India across various states.