September 14, 2007

Lets have our own radio stations

You may hate to wade through the hawkers and shoppers of Pondy Bazaar but far away from the madding crowds you may long for the sounds and sight of this maddening place.

Pondy Bazaar is certainy not my favourite destination.

But it has character and that's why I don't mind taking visitors to this place if they want to get a local shopping experience!

On the streets and off the main roads there are sights and smells you should not miss.

Given that most of the stuff that is hawked on the pavements here is for women, Pondy Bazaar may not be the destination of men.

But there are many things to take in - the sign boards, the display in the shop windows, the hawkers and the range of goods from different parts of the country.

Pondy Bazaar is an experience unique to this city.

On the other hand, Andrea offers a different kind of experience to a different community.

He brings alive the sights and sounds of Auroville.

And he does this through the internet radio of this unique community.

Andrea tells me that he created a communication contraption when he was in his teens and successfully broadcast music and speech to his neighbourhood.

The experiment led on to a small radio station enterprise which became bigger in the years that followed.

But for the last three years, since the time he has been at Auroville, he has used his knowledge and experience to run Auroville's radio station on the Net.

Andrea has a busy schedule. He and his team hop across the vast, wooded land located off the East Coast Road to cover the talks, discussions and concerts on campus and to produce information bulletins and local features.

His team is small and the volunteers, who include youths from the Aurovillle school, drop in and out.

This radio station on the Net seems to have a large and wide range of listeners. After all, Aurovilleans and their well wishers are scattered around the world.

For them, the station communicates, networks, educates and entertains.

Which is what community radio stations can do if the state encourages people to set them up on their own.

But the state has not done this.

We do have a few hundred commercial FM stations who seem to jangle on the same frequency!

We do have two dozen campus radio stations across the country which encourage students to get hands-on experience.

Though the state says it is keen to see many thousand radio stations across the country, its processes and policies are discouraging.

But people are not giving up. I heard that a body which represents the autorickshaw drivers of Chennai had applied for a radio licence. So did a well known residents' association in Mumbai.

Don't you think we need to have our own local radio stations?

No comments: