Community Radio is gradually recognised as a source of information, promoter of cultural diversity, and as the Voice of the Voiceless. It is an effective instrument and a catalyst that can maintain transparency and accountability in the development efforts of rural and underprivileged segments of society. Equally, it is a service that enables increased communication among local communities on a wide range of issues – from local cultural expressions to improved agricultural, health and human rights issues.
MANT was selected by UNICEF, on the basis of the recommendation of the District Administration (SBCC Cell, Purulia), to be assigned the task of establishing a Community Radio Station, the first ever of its kind in West Bengal with a target population of 1 lakh within a radius of 15 km in the Block of Puncha, Purulia known for its abiding poverty and backwardness. Accordingly, the project got initiated in the month of October 2010 and since then the project has been enjoying financial support from UNICEF. Now UNICEF is to withdraw its financial input from 2014.
Recent Updates on the Progress of the Community Radio
The radio tower was for the CRS program was set up in the month of December, 2015. It an ideal outsource of information, a promoter of cultural multiplicity. Community radio plays a crucial part in developing the rural and underprivileged sectors of the society.
There is an efficient team at the core position that tackles the mechanism of CRS at different levels. An employee strength of 25 works at the grassroots level. They put in best efforts for the program’s success in the long run. The division is mentioned below;
- - 1 Station Manager
- - 8 Producers
- - 13 RJ (presently)
- - 3 Field Journalists
Along with it, there are 8 people also who work as Community Radio Volunteer.
Typologies in Terms of Production:
CRS undertakes several types of programs namely,
- - Health
- - Income Generation
- - Culture
- - Education
- - Agriculture
Interestingly, several training programs were also held to supplement and boost the functioning body under the service. The most prominent ones would be the Training for the RJs & Training for Program Production.
Several workshops were also held. “Aadi-Raag” workshop was held on Santhali music in the guidance of eminent Santhali Singers like Kalpana Hansda, Naren Hansda etc. Another workshop named “Pranta-Raag” (song of the marginal’s) was arranged on Jhumoor and local traditional folk songs in the guidance of eminent singer and musician Mr. Abhijit Basu, Sri Sunil Mahato, Sri Bijoy Mahato and Sri Kuchil Mukherjee. 50 people were trained in these two workshops. The final day’s presentation of the “Aadi-Raag” workshop was held at Haripada Sahitya Mandir, Purulia District and the final day’s presentation of “Pranta-Raag” workshop was held at Rabindra Bhaban, Bankura District.
The setup covers an area of about 15km from the Tower station at a decent frequency according to the transmitter’s range. The frequency range of the tower is dependent upon the transmitter’s coverage area.
There is high definition frequency up to the range of 12km and low at a distance of about 25km from the tower station.
The transmitter was setup on 24th of March, 2016 whereas the first test broadcasting started on the 20th of April, 2016.
The range of frequency is location specific, that is;
- High frequency reach:
a) Puncha Block, Napara G.P, Bagda G.P, Lakhna G.P, Chirndi G.P, Puncha G.P
b) Manbazar 1 No. Block, Baraimasia Ramnagar G.P, Payrachali G.P
- Mid low frequency reach:
a) Manbazar – 2 No. Block
b) Hura Block
c) Puncha Blocks other G.P cover
The program is broadcasted everyday for duration of 4 hours in the afternoon from 1500 hours to 1900 hours. In case a viewer misses to view it at the scheduled time, a repeat is broadcasted from 7 am to 11 am on Monday.
The entire service is an initiative taken to fight perpetual poverty and backwardness in the marginalized areas. It is an approach to help the underprivileged to sustain an upgraded lifestyle triggering social crises at different layers.
Hours of Production:
Till now 330 hours of production have already been broadcasted till October, 2016.
Meetings on Sustainability:
Several meetings have been done with the Government Officials and Block Development Officials regarding the financial matters along with advertisement and promotion. MANT from their side have met with other business organisations and keeping contact with them. But the procedure will take place only after completion of the remaining administrative formalities and starting of the regular broadcasting.
Another milestone was achieved on July 10, 2017 when Nityananda Janavani was formally inaugurated by Sri Mridul Srimani, DMDC Manbazar Sub – Division in the presence of Smt. Mouli Sen, District Nodal Officer – SBCC Purulia and OC – Education and Sri Bikash Ranjan Chakraborty, District Consultant-SBCC. So the Community Radio Station now have moved from Test Broadcasting and started Live Broadcasting on a daily basis.
The Community Radio is the ideal outsource of information and plays a crucial role in developing the rural and underprivileged sector of the society. Presently ‘Nityananda Janavani’ is the only radio station and also a ray of hope for the marginalised people of this state to break the monologue based communication system. This platform is for them, of them and by them only.
A society where the community fully realises its potential through a sustaining chain of information in achieving an improved mode of living.
1) Provide knowledge relevant to improving people’s lives triggering stable social and behavioral changes.
2) Motivate the community to take action and challenge the detrimental norms pertaining to health, education, sanitation and social protection.
Sharp Features of the Project Area:
i. Mono-crop agriculture – no irrigational facilities
ii. Rate of colostrums & breastfeeding & pulse-polio administration are high
iii. Deep-rooted Gender disparity prevails
iv. Undeserved in respect of Health
v. Poor hygienic behaviour and malnutrition
vi. Growing gap between the rich and the poor
vii. Unequal access to resources
The radio, in fact, a Communication for Development (C4D) initiative for mass reach – the only option available in this under-developed zone of a legendary backward district – that aims at making life – enhancing, life – saving knowledge easily available to everyone living within a radius of 15 km.
• Build up awareness, through the mode of education and entertainment (EE) designed by, for and with the community.
• Understand the social problem in all its complexity and simplify it into an easily transferable message.
Overall Achievements Updated:
i. Establishment and furnishing of the stake-of-the-art studio completed
ii. Basic ideas regarding CR, its importance, purpose and usefulness, could be incorporated in the community, including the most backward “Sabar” community
iii. Appropriate skills in conformity with demand of the project could be instilled in the staffs.
iv. Staffs have been made to understand their duties and responsibilities.
v. Through the CNA and the FGDs, the cultural propensities of the community could be ascertained and the tentative list of the future performers could be prepared.
vi. 500+ youths including women members of 30 SHGs oriented to have a creative interest in the community radio based ‘edutainment’ programs in the target villages.
vii. 30 numbers of volunteers could be trained in the production process.
viii. 16 community members oriented to own the responsibility of running the CR.
ix. Letter of intent received from MoIB and applied for wireless frequency license.