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‘Management’ a tough nut for campus radio stations

18 March 2014

Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia

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“Every station has a unique problem and should be looked at independently,” said Dr Sanjay Mishra, Director, Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA).

New Delhi: Lack of understanding from the management is a big hurdle in running campus radios, agreed representatives of the Community Radio stations at the fourth National Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi. The conference was organized by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in association with One World Foundation India.

Some speakers were of the view that educational organisations promoting various Community Radio Stations are not too keen to serve the community around. Most of the speakers urged that top level management needs to be sensitized towards the requirements of Community Radio.

Speaking during the session, ‘Opportunities and Challenges of Campus CR Stations’, experts said that educational institutes must have a clear vision before setting up a Community Radio as universities exist to empower (people).

Dr Sanjay Mishra, Director, Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) , emphasized on the need for sensitizing top management towards work.  Since, there are no common problems, there cannot be common solutions, he said. “Every station has a unique problem and should be looked at independently. Lack of able leadership is a common challenge,” he said.

Mishra said that government should come forward by funding some of the projects. Talking about CR stations housed within the educational campuses, he said that students are the biggest strength of a Community Radio. He added that Community Radio on campus is the voice of voiceless and urged the stations to define their own community. For media institutes, media students do not form the real community for the radio, Mishra said.

Ajay Kumar from IIT Community Radio, IIT Kanpur, said that communities from both within the campus and outside it are involved in the process of programme making. Jayant Patekar from Punjab University, Chandigarh, said that their Community Radio caters to different communities in the city.

Khursheed Alam from JIMS CR Radio, Delhi, said that their station airs programmes made by the campus students. Sanjay Kumar from Pantnagar Janvani, Pantnagar University, said that their Community Radio was established through an extension programme of the university.

Shakeel Akhtar from Radio Jamia, Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi, said that security of the Community Radio on the campus is one of biggest challenges. He said that in mega cities like Delhi, community participation and content creation is a tough job. “We are running CR under strict rules of government of India. We also face problems in content creation and community participation. For financial support, we charge Rs 50 per student to raise funds for the Community Radio,” he said.

Radio Jamia is serving both the campus and the community, Akhtar said.

Ashok Singh Sunhal from Alwar Ki Awaz, a Community Radio, serving engineering colleges in the city said that orienting medical and engineering students for working for the radio is a big challenge. Mritunjay Singhai from Radio Popcorn, RKDF Engineering College, Bhopal, said that it was difficult for them to explain to the community that they could be served by a Community Radio which works for children.

D Vinoth Rajesh from India’s first campus radio, Anna Community Radio, Anna University, Chennai, shared how the Community Radio trained the community and brought them into the station’s management community and programme management community.

Karthik Panchapakesan from Radio Acharya, Acharya Group of Institutions, Bangalore, said that most of the campus CR stations are located in cities. “The management of these CR stations should have a social responsibility policy for running the Community Radio even before applying for the license,” he said. He also sought independence in deciding about the location of the station. MIB should not dictate us the on location of the CR station in the campus, he said.

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