“Television gives everyone an image, but the Radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains” ~ Peggy Noonam
Community radio plays a vital role in the communications of a country. Community radio mainly serves a definite community and is a form of public-service broadcasting. It reflects the culture, ideology and thoughts, norms and values of a particular community. Community radio as the media of citizens of a particular community has become popular and new opportunity for both the media practitioner and grassroots people.
Community radio can facilitates the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of the country by raising their voice, focusing their problems, expressing their modern updated ideas and thinking for the development of the whole nation. It can play a significant role for the rural development of countries like India through emphasizing agriculture, education, health and sanitation, recreation and social problems of a target community. Radio is not a recent origin. People are acquainted with commercial radio and public-radio. Community radio can emerge a new era of communication for the rural people in India. There is a lack of effective mass media for the rural disadvantaged population of India. Commercial radio does not focus on the views and demands of local rural population. Besides, programmes and contents of commercial radio are not community people oriented rather encourage the western culture. Community radio falls under the community broadcasting category. Community radio is that kind of radio which is owned and controlled by a community and always broadcast those programmes which are related to that community interest.
“Community radio is a social process and event in which members of the community associate together to design programmes and produce and air them, thus taking on the primary role of actors in their own destiny, whether this be for something as common as mending fences in the neighborhood, or a community-wide campaign on how to use clean water and keep it clean, or agitation for the election of new lead. Community radio is most relevant to a group of people who live and act as a community, and this could be several families, several neighborhood, or even several villages or communities, but the important thing is that they interact.” Carlos A. Arnaldo
The militancy in Jammu and Kashmir has given birth to a number of newspapers and television channels, thereby affecting the social setup and fabric by influencing people through their write-ups and highly volatile news footages. Some of the media units over the past two decades, had openly acted as spokesmen of militants or having overtly and covertly developed strong vested interests in playing into the hands of enemy agents. Means of mass communication in our present social set up too have undergone a revolution. Internet, e-mail, e-commerce and cell phones have turned the world into a global village and terrorists and political violence movements all over the world try to make repeated use of media to achieve their objective of coercing the target government and terrorising society at large.
Terrorist leaders know that once a violent incident is enacted, the TV commentators will bombard their viewers with the details of their organisation and leaders. The press is bound to project the perpetrators of violence as heroes in an otherwise un-heroic world. Emotional reaction to all acts of terror is generally out of all proportions. It is the ability of the State-controlled media to control the impact of events and inform society at large about the nefarious designs of anti-social elements.
“Hello! This is ‘Dil Se DilTak’ welcoming its South Kashmir listeners.” The cheerful greeting in Urdu flows into homes in South Kashmir’s militancy stronghold areas from the ‘Radio Raabta’ community station, providing not just entertainment but also a platform for locals to air their grievances. The Army, which has been instrumental in providing wings to the dreams of locals, set up the community radio station — ‘Radio Raabta’ (Connect) — in Anantnag as part of its outreach programme to youths of the Valley, especially South Kashmir. The ‘Radio Raabta’ 90.8 FM ‘Dil Se DilTak’ has not only become the talk of the Anantnag district, but the reach is around 20 km in radius, covering parts of Pulwama and Kulgam districts in South Kashmir as well. The station is playing Hindi and Punjabi songs after acquiring intellectual property rights. “Soon we will have Kashmiri music after getting the rights for that,” says Nisar. The two radio jockeys are also providing informative snippets like traffic situation and weather, as well as interviews with local achievers, especially youths.
The radio station at present hosts two shows — Morning Beats with RJ Umar Nisar and ‘Golmaal’ by RJ Aaisha Gowhar — which brings information and entertainment to the people of the area, besides talking to some youth icons to motivate people, and also about entertaining news. Kashmir’s most loved Radio Station “ RadioRaabta 90.8 FM” recently celebrated its first anniversary on 01 Jan 2022 and achieved its goal of entertaining the valley radio lovers. The Radio is most loved in South Kashmir where youngsters love to listen to it round the clock. Besides interaction with famous personalities, youth icons, poets , young achievers the radio jockeys of Radio Raabta 90.8 are hosting different shows.
RJ Umar hosts the show “ Dil se DilTak” and is trying to connect the people with a heart to heart and also connects young achievers. RJ Mehak is hosting the show “Golmaal” in the afternoon to aware the young generation about new fashion and trends an simultaneously discussing the various issues/ problems faced by the youth. RJ Khalid provides peace of mind after the hectic routine work. He hosts the show “ Sham Ki baat Kalid Ke Sath”. He mostly promotes the Sufi culture heritage of Kashmir.
Senior assistant professor Ruheela Hassan, the in charge of the journalism and mass communication department at Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), Awantipora, feels that when peace and security is a priority, it means development usually takes a second place. “Conflict affects the level of development in several ways. The delay in the introduction of a development medium in Kashmir in the form of community radio is one such consequence, ” Hassan said in her published paper, ‘The Community Radio in Kashmir: A Way Forward’. She said it was in December 2002 when the government approved the policy for the grant of licenses for setting up community radio stations across the country.
The first effort to use radio for the development of the community was made in 2009 when Panos South Asia, running similar programmes elsewhere, started a community radio program in Awantipora in collaboration with the IUST. Though it was planned to establish a community radio station in the campus of IUST, but it could not become possible due to security reasons.
Community Radio Station will revitalise the connect within different segments of the community. This will provide a good platform for a community dialogue, sharing of information, art & culture. It will build a community environment, which is better connected with issues which are local and important to the community. This Community Radio Station will be highlighting & showcasing the hidden talent of Kashmir, especially local entrepreneurs, musicians, sportsman and artists to the Awam of Kashmir and the rest of the world.