Radio or community radio is said to be defined as a radio service that offers third models of radio broadcasting in addition of commercial and radio broadcasting geographic communities and its interest are served through community stations, which are non-profitable and envoke a mechanism for enabling groups, individuals, and communities to share their point of views and experiences in the media world, to become creators and contributors of media. Radio is used as a major communication tool throughout the world, it has the long roots of penetration at the grassroot level of any society and its major objective is to provide information, education, and entertainment. Whereas commercial radio and community radio stations are different as day and night.
According to UNESCO-community radio is being defined as ‘radio run by, for and about community ‘.This broad principle distinguished between state-owned or public service broadcasting, commercial, and community radio. it is non-rofitable and the motive behind it is to ensure public participation at all the possible levels. They respond the priority set bh the community to facilitate issues, confront them, and to reinforce their social development agenda through communications. Its consists of limited members and community radio fill the air and gaps not only in countried development bit also in social development in the western world as well.
A brief history of radio broadcasting in India
In India, Radio Broadcasting began with the information of private radio service in Madras (now Chennai) in 1924. The British Colonial government approved a license to a private company i.e The Indian Broadcasting Company, to inaugurate radio stations in Bombay and Kolkata in the year 1927. However, in 1930 news came out that the company was almost bankrupt but the colonial govermemt took away the two transmitters and the department of labour and industries started operating them as the Indian State Broadcasting Cooperation. However, the broadcasting services were established underway since 1921 when the newspaper such as The Times Of India in collaboration with tge post and The Telegraph broadcasted from its a special program of music at the request of the Governor, Sir George Lloyd who tuned in at Poona.
A separate office of the controller of broadcasting was appointed as the first controller of boradcasting . Jan 1, 1936, is marked as an important landmark in the history of broadcasting in India, and during the same era, the name of the Indian Broadcasjng changed to ALL INDIA RADIO (AIR). There were nine Air stations out of which Delhi , Calcutta, Bombay, Madras , Lucknow, and Tiruchi, came to India, and the remainings such as -The Lucknow, Peshawar,and Dacca stations went to Pakistan. For a long the radio broadcasting has expanded not only in terms of the number of radio stations and transmitters which have made the reach easier but also in terms of the introduction of programmes to suit the chnaging socio-economic requirements of developing nations.
Broadcasting in India has become three-tier system:
- National Broadcasts.
- Regional Broadcasts.
- Local Broadcasts.
The National Channel was inaugurated on 18 May 1988 and is located at the Jawaharlal Nehry stadium , New Delhi.
The capital stations and other major stations are now more than eighty, covering the geographical district in which the stations are located .
Radio broadcasting and early years
The two eminent personalities renamed Guglielmo Marconi and Reginald Fessenden were termed to be the inventors of the radio. Earlier it was to be believed that Telsa was the man who invented it, but after his death in the year 1943, people believed Marconi to be the first inventor.Supreme court however verdict the patents of Marconi to be invalid and awarded the patents to Telsa. A few years later Reginald Fessenden used a synchronous rotary spark transmitter for the very first radio program broadcast from Ocean Bluff Brant Rock, Massachusetts. The radio broadcastinv of music and talk intended to reach a dispersed audience started experimentally around 1905-06 and commercially around 1920-23. Fessendee made his very first two successful transatlantic transmissions, using his rotary spark, exchanging Morse code messages between the stations at Brant Rock and an identical one at Machrihanish in Scotland. Till that time he could only achieve one-way transmissions,as the transmitters could not bridge the distance during daylight hours or in summer so the work got suspended until the next years. Unfortunately, the Machrihanish radio tower collapsed abruptly ending the transatlantic work. Marconi gave another major demonstration of his new high-frequency alternative transmitter at Brant Rock showing his utility from point to point wireless telephony by interconnecting his stations at Brant Rock to the Bell Telephone Network. Later he planned to give the two radio broadcasts on Christmas eve and New year’s event test and verify the alternative transmitter and his very first radio broadcasts. Landmark broadcasts of transmission of ordinary speech and music from Brant Rock to ships sailing along the Atlantic Coast.A repeat broadcast was given on new year’s eve. Most radio broadcast historians assert that radio broadcasting began in 1920 with historic broadcasts of KDKA. Few people heard the voices and music which are produced because of the death of radio recievers at that time.Families gathered around the radio for nighttime entertainment.
The broadcast radio cost $75 but a custom-built radio could cost up to $495. According to an agreement on 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd CBC was authorized to operate two radio stations: The Bombay Stations which began on 23 July 1927, and Calcutta Station which followed on 26 August 1927. The Golden age of the American Radio period lasted roughly from 1930 through the 1940s when the medium of commercial broadcast radio grew into the fabric of daily life in the United States, providing news and entertainment to a country struggling with economic depression and war. June 17,1936 FM radio was demonstrated to the FCC for the first time on Jan 5 1940 Edwin H Armstrong, demonstrated FM broadcasting in a long-distance relay network, via five stations in five states.FM radio was assigned the 42 to 50 MHz band of the spectrum in 1940. Transistors invented in 1948 extended the life of radio broadcasting. During the late 1940s and early 1950s TV began to displace radio from its role as the primary channel for broadcasting family entertainment. But by 1955,95% of US homes, 1had radios, and average US families owned 5 radios in 1990.
The inception of community radio in India(a brief history of community radio)
Community radio is a serviced radio which provides a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting. Community stations serve geographic communities of interest. Only popular content and the news are locally relevant and broadcasted but these are often overlooked by commercial or mass media broadcasters.Community radio stations are owned,operated and influenced by the communities they serve. They are said to be non profitable and provide a mechanism for enabling groups,communities to convey their own stories, to share their perspective, and experiences, and in media rich world to become creators and contributors. In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntart sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs, and citizens to work in partnership to further community development aims n addition to broadcasting. In many Countries such as France, Argentina, South Africa,Australia, and Ireland it acts as a legally defined broadcasts stations. The legislation included phrases for a social benefit such as social objectives and gain to define their agendas. Community radio has developed diffrently in different countries and the term has some different meanings in the UK, Ireland,US, Canada, and Australia, where freedom of speech laws defacto realities differ. With high hopes and expectations, community radio movement in India ushered in the decades of the 90s of the last century. It was freshened as convenient and comprehensive instruments for the development of masses at the grass-root level. At Annamalai University the very first community radio was established with the community radio movement materialization in India.
Though it is well established part of the development communication strategy worldwide to voice the concerns of the marginalized especially underdeveloped and developing societies it is quite recent in India that the agenda of CR is being purchased vigorously, especially after the Supreme Court landmark judgement about declaring the airwaves as public property. At first an NGO operated community radio which was Sangham Radio licensed to Deccan Development Society in Pastapur village Medak District, Andhra Pradesh, and currently, about 150 radio stations have already been established in India. It is to be believed that the campaign of community radio started in the mid-1990s. In February 1995, the government declared that ‘airwaves are public property and the first radio in the campus of community radio was Anna FM which was launched on 1 February 2004 and it was run by Education and Multimedia Research Centre. Some Pioneer organizations such as Voices and Drishti Media have been done during that era and the editing and audio production were done in a small studio. According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ,47community radio stations were operational in India by 1 November 2009,which issued Grant of permission Agreements for 62 community radio stations. The idea was to set up a community radio stations was suggested by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan founder Aruna Roy and late journalist Ajit Bhattacharya and its setup was facilitated by Digital Empowerment Foundation Founder-Director Osama Manzar. The thought behind it was to share the rich collection of audiovisual archives and social messages to drive and social messages to drive all over the world. Most recently on Jan 12 2016, a special event was organized where several activists were invited to give views on pension, ratio, and NREGA.The agenda behind this was Abki Baar Mera Adhikaar.However India has played a vital role in the establishment of community radio stations .
Role of radio in social service
Community radio is usually for the people, run by the people, and owned by the people. It enhances the capacities of local people to work together to tackle social problems including poverty, and exclusion. This is a medium of expressing, and sharing views, thoughts, ideas, problems, and prospects of rural, disadvantaged, and vulnerable, to reach the population with the mainstream population. It helps to avail utilities and amenities for various development aspects of our societies like education, health, water, sanitation,protection from natural disasters, and address social issues at the community level. It may also be useful for the development of particular targets such as elderly women, children. Even radio provides special attention to the fields of education,spreading of literacy, agriculture,rural development, environmental, health, and family welfare as well as science and technology fields. By socializing they covered diverse cultures and languages of various regions of the country by broadcasting appropriate programs. The service just does not rely on this much but the platform stretched over games, and sports, to encourage healthy competition and the spirit of scholarship. They did this keeping in their minds and views of youth. Social issues such as as combating exploitation, inequality,and untouchability have also been said to have justice to such issues.
Radio as an informative medium
Over 90% and above households do have radio service in Africa. Community radio airing in local languages is in most cases the one and the only way for illiterate citizens to access information about health,education,environmental policies.it is listened also to through mobile phones (650 million of sims cards in 2014),mobile phones represent the vast majority of the internet connections in a continent where good conncetions are rare.
Radio for social change is a three-tier project
- raining program- As the media is a fast growing field of work the training program focuses on production and fundraising subject in order to sustain professionally.
- distributive platform- Factual reality based content available on the radio circuit national, local , and community radios on internet via social network.
- network of skilled media professionals- Working on national and international markets ,working to exchange good practices, policies, and methodologies.
Role and functions of radio in society
Radio stations play a critical role in modern society and form a part of critical communication channels that basically works to consume information. During the era of evolution, communication has been an important source of vision that fueled our environment. Through critical thinking and exchanging of information, society is built , living source of standards increased, and communication also facilitates the next inventions.
Some major functions of radio in society are:
- Agenda setting
- Behavioral change agent
- Mobilization of society towards common goals
Radio is an electronic medium of radio communication.Through news, talk shows, adverts, and other programs radio create awareness in society of what is happening within and outside a given society.
Through the documentaries, drama, quiz shows, aired on radio. Radio teaches society development and health aspects relevant to day-to-day needs. Documentaries on agriculture health have also impacted on society’s world over.
Society members are entertained through music and plays. Few radio stations have evening programs. Boredom is killed through radios and occupies people through leisure.
Agenda setting –
Radio presents to society issues yet to become public debates. It provides a variety of options on which to base enlightened decisions. Radio determines what audience will discuss airing it. By talking about a corrupt goverment.Officials and society members are brought on board a call to action.
Behavioral change agent-
Some radio stations represent and stand for society’s values, goals, and culture, for example, a church radio stations promote abstinence, forgiveness, and good morals in society. Also, the content on the radio has an impact in society.
Mobilization of society towards common goals –
Radio can be used for mobilization campaigns like immunization, election, and religious campaigns. It is used as an early warning tool. It can mobilize the society easily.
Community radio and rural development
On 15 August,1947 India became independent and since then tremendous changes have become notified in many fields but abbreviations were needed much more for a developed nation. Problems like poverty,illiteracy, unemployment are increased by the mode of time, though the government is spending millions of rupees in the name of rural development no desired results have been found. The major reason turned out to be the communication gap between government devised policies and common masses as people largely remain ignorant regarding it.According to such a policy, local community media should be promoted to enhance community development. The government has proved to play a vital role in strengthening the Right to Freedom, Speech and Expression. As the community radio is still evolving the possibilities were nearby more than various new forms will be more superior as well as user friendly. However, community radio has proved to be one of the best mediums of communication at the grass-root level. From the major point of view, development refers to the changes from simple form if organization to complex modern ones. Originally men and women lived in small,self-sufficient communities ,and they completely depend on things that are found in their environment. One of the significant social and technological development was the transition from the nomadic way of life to agricultural cultivation in settled communities. So this phenomenon can be concerned as a wholesome economic growth but also the social,spiritual and moral enhancement of the entire nation.
Economists’ point of view on rural development
Economists defined development as growth in terms of structural and technological advancement. In the early stages of developing economies most of their production and labour force in agriculture. Later the service sectors became wider and larger. This service sectors include government defense, construction, transport, finance, insurance, banking as well as work for people who do not produce physical objects such as cars or radios. Thus the accountants, lawyers, teachers, and hairdressers are considered to be a part of the service sectors. Another key feature of development is to eradicate poverty.Entire economies can be poor or they can still grow but in large sections, the people are living their life in poverty. In the second half of the twenty century, development policy makers became accurately aware of the difficulties a large number of countries in the developing world faced most of them were the former colonies of the industrial nation. Situation in the 21st century has been totally changed and denying the fact will be wrong as the media has played an important role in fighting the social evils, illiteracy as well as poverty. Previously the Prime Minister of India Pt. Nehru gave his essence and full confidence in it and took all his possible measures to make Press free from any authoritarian control. Remembering Nehru’sbcottibution to the nation,M. Chalapati Rau once said that’In the period after independence Nehru played a larger part in shaping our thinking about the Press as Gandhi Ji has done before independence’. He was opposed by a powerful section of the Indian Press but he stood for intolerance and accepted that a vigorous, critical press is a vital part of democracy. Media has played a pivotal role in spreading knowledge in traditional societies where education was just a dream. By regularly broadcasting programs on agricultural issues and on various social and moral evils, the media had contributed a lot to bringing multifarious development to the Nation.
Government initiatives in community development through community radio
Government and government officials have played a vital role in the contribution of development through the community radio. They supported the community radio by providing funds and this was highly profitable for digital broadcasting across that period. The Australian government for 40 years has been commercially committed to the broadcast platform and for 2 years this was initiated. The funding assisted to maintain the Metropolitan digital radio services and planned extension of the digital radio to Canberra, Darwin and Hobert. More support of funding was way needed for the regional expansion of digital radio and this directly affected the 803-960 MHz radio frequency band. This support was critical for regional and rural community stations in maintaining essential infrastructure.