Radio Vishwas, a Community Radio Station (CRS) in Nashik, Maharashtra has bagged two awards at the 8th edition of the National Community Radio Awards instituted by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. CRSs focus on the local issues for the benefit of the local community in a radius of 10-15 Kms. These stations are run mostly by the local people who host talk shows, play local music and sing local songs.

Radio Vishwas 90.8 won the first prize in the Sustainability Model Awards for the sustainability model of the radio station and Second prize in the Thematic Category Awards for the radio program 'Education for All' in the times of COVID-19.

The CRS is under Vishwas Dhyan Prabodhini & Research Institute, Nashik, Maharashtra and has been broadcasting since its launch. The station broadcasts 14 hours daily.

Speaking to PIB about the functioning and the approach of the CRS, Station Director, Dr. Hari Vinayak Kulkarni says: “Our unique value proposition is engaging different members of the community, regardless of age, to produce programs on topics such as culture, education, social and economic issues, entertainment, etc. We provide our platform for people of the community, enabling them to discuss and present their views / ideas / opinions to the society. As of now, we have 100 programs based on different subjects, which are broadcast weekly.”

Speaking about the various programs being broadcast through the CRS, he said how the program 'Shahri Parasbaag' (Kitchen Garden) helps increase awareness about environment conservation. “The complete process right from seed availability till planting the sapling is provided to our audience in this program,” he said. 'Mala avadlela pustak' (My favourite books) and 'Jaaniv Samajktechi' (Difficulties faced by senior citizens) are programs targeted to cover wide range of audience.

‘Jaaniv Samajktechi’ program helps spread awareness in the community about issues faced by senior citizens' and helps the society to work towards their betterment,” he said.

“The programmes will stay with the people forever”

Dr. Kulkarni explained how the innovative model of sustainability adopted by the CRS has enabled the station to sustain itself in four key areas: financial, human, technical and content sustainability. Over a period of 10 years, the station has been able to develop a listenership base of 3 lakh people, he stated.

He adds that the content of the programs is sustainable as it will stay with the society forever. “We are very confident that positive steps will be taken and change will occur due to the issues we raise through our programs”.

'Shikshan Sarvansathi' (Education for All)

The CRS’ initiative, 'Shikshan Sarvansathi' (Education for all) that won award under the Thematic Category was started in June 2020 to provide free education for students from 3rd to 10th grade, during the difficult time of COVID-19. Audio lectures are aired and were made accessible to all the students who study in Zilla Parishad and Nashik Municipal schools. The programme was broadcast in various languages i.e. Hindi, English, Marathi, Sanskrit.

Dr. Kulkarni says the programme received a very positive response. “These are the students who are trapped in poverty and cannot afford smartphones for digital education. This was done with the help of 150 teachers who recorded lectures in our studio. The lectures were then aired according to the slots allocated to each subject. The programme received a huge response from the targeted community; approximately 50,000 - 60,000 students of municipal and ZP schools benefited”.

He adds that the lectures were also shared with six community radios in Maharashtra, so that they too can broadcast through their radio channels. “We are glad that we could help students from all over Maharashtra as six community radios approached us to share this content to broadcast in their respective cities”. These lectures are being broadcasted today as well, helping a large number of students amidst the pandemic.

Dr. Kulkarni informs PIB about the initiatives being taken by teachers in distributing FM devices to students. “A group of teachers in Igatpuri taluka of Nashik distributed 451 FM's (inclusive of USB, Bluetooth, high-end speakers) to students to ensure that they don't miss out on current syllabus. Teachers are also planning to upload it on YouTube, which can also be used when normal schooling begins.”

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had instituted National Community Radio (CR) Awards in the year 2011-12 to encourage innovation and healthy competition amongst Community Radio Stations. These Community Radio stations have played a significant role in communication during Covid-19 pandemic.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 02, 2021 11:47 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website