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Need to fine tune community radio programmes: expert


12 February 2013

Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia

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Programmes which talk about relevant issues in a community can also be made interesting for the audience to get a better response, said Pervaiz Alam, BBC's award-winning producer.

Community radio stations in India need to know their audience for a bigger impact on their listeners, suggested Pervaiz Alam, BBC's award-winning producer. Alam was speaking at an exploratory workshop on Science for Women’s Health and Nutrition, conducted by OneWorld in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in New Delhi.

The workshop aimed at sensitising CR stations and other stakeholders about women’s health and nutrition.

Alam said that community radio stations should avoid narration-based programmes to a great extent. “It is a big challenge for the radio stations to make programmes interesting for the listeners. Unfortunately, even 99 per cent of the commercial FM radio stations working in cities do not have an idea about the right kind of programming,” he said.

Dr BP Singh, Head of DST’s National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), said that common people are not able to connect to science which is not understood by them. He rued that most of the television news channels are indulging in one-way bombardment of information.

He emphasised on the need for CR stations in the country to take the cause of the backward communities like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Singh said that the best thing about community radio was that they have a reach of around 10 km and can serve people in the dialects best understood by them.

“Through community radio, we are addressing those sections which are already marginalised,” Singh said. He also talked about various initiatives of his department including the Child Science Congress which according to him works from the taluk level to the national level.

Ujjwala Tirkey, Scientist, Department of Science and Technology, said that her department has taken initiatives to dispel myths, superstitions and misconceptions of the common people through the community radio. She said that CR stations are helpful in improving awareness of women, especially in the resource-poor areas. She said that her department is looking forward to increase the overall utilisation of the health information services. “We are also targeting to reach this information to the women living in urban slum areas,” Tirkey said.

Pamela Philipose, Director, Women’s Features Service, said that programmes have to be relevant to the community and to their lives. “The community will listen to the programmes only if they are relevant to them,” she said.

Dr R Sreedher, media expert and community radio practitioner appreciated the role of community radio in the far flung areas of the country. “Community Radio is encouraging women leaders at the grassroots level,” he said.

 
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