Community radio

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					Community radio is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in
addition to commercial and public broadcasting. Community stations serve geographic
communities and communities of interest. They broadcast content that is popular and
relevant to a local, specific audience but is often overlooked by commercial or mass-
media broadcasters. Community radio stations are operated, owned, and influenced by
the communities they serve. They are generally nonprofit and provide a mechanism for
enabling individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own stories, to share
experiences and, in a media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media.

In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and
voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs and citizens to work in partnership to
further community development aims, in addition to broadcasting. There is legally
defined community radio (as a distinct broadcasting sector) in many countries, such as
France, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and Ireland. Much of the legislation has
included phrases such as "social benefit", "social objectives" and "social gain" as part of
the definition. Community radio has developed differently in different countries, and the
term has somewhat different meanings in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States,
Canada, and Australia.

Vision, philosophy, and status

Modern community radio stations serve their listeners by offering a variety of content
that is not necessarily provided by the larger commercial radio stations. Community radio
outlets may carry news and information programming geared toward the local area
(particularly immigrant or minority groups who are poorly served by major media
outlets). Specialized musical shows are also often a feature of many community radio
stations. Community and pirate stations (in areas where they are tolerated) can be
valuable assets for a region. Community radio stations typically avoid content found on
commercial outlets such as Top 40 music, sports and "drive-time" personalities. A meme
used by members of the movement is that community radio should be 10 percent radio
and 90 percent community. This means that community radio stations should focus on
getting the community talking and not solely on radio (which is a technological process);
the social concerns of community radio are stressed over radio per se. There is also a
distinction drawn in contrast to mainstream stations, which are viewed as pandering to
commercial concerns or the personalities of presenters.
Conceptions of community in the literature

Communities are complex entities, and what constitutes the "community" in community
radio is subject to debate which varies by country. "Community" may be replaced by
terms such as "alternative", "radical" or "citizen" radio. In sociology, a "community" has
been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. Community
radio is built around the concepts of access and participation, and the term "community"
encompasses geographical communities based around the reach of the radio's signal (the
people who can receive the message) and their potential to participate in the creation of
the message. This is complicated by the fact that many radio stations broadcast over the
internet as well, thereby reaching a (potentially) global audience.

Two philosophical approaches to community radio exist, although the models are not
mutually exclusive. One emphasizes service and community-mindedness, focusing on
what the station can do for the community. The other stresses involvement and
participation by the listener.

In the service model locality is valued; community radio, as a third tier, can provide
content focused on a more local or particular community than a larger operation.
Sometimes, though, providing syndicated content not already available within the
station's service area is viewed as public service. Within the United States, for example,
many stations syndicate content from groups such as Pacifica Radio (such as Democracy
Now!) on the basis that it provides content not otherwise available (because of a
program's lack of appeal to advertisers—in Pacifica's case, due to its politically
controversial nature).

In the access (or participatory) model, the participation of community members in
producing content is viewed as a good in itself. While this model does not necessarily
exclude a service approach, there is some disagreement between the two.


In India the campaign to legitimise community radio began in the mid-1990s, soon after
the Supreme Court of India ruled in its judgment of February 1995 that "airwaves are
public property".[3][dead link] This inspired groups across the country; however, only
educational (campus) radio stations were originally permitted (under a number of
conditions). Anna FM was India's first campus "community" radio station. Launched on 1
February 2004, it is run by the Education and Multimedia Research Centre (EM²RC); all
programmes are produced by Media Science students at Anna University.

On 16 November 2006, the government of India implemented new Community Radio
Guidelines,[13] which permit NGOs and other civil organizations to own and operate
community radio stations. About 4,000 community radio licenses are being offered
across India, according to government sources. By 30 November 2008, the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India had received 297 applications
for community radio licenses (including 141 from NGOs and other civil organizations,
105 from educational institutions and 51 for "farm radio" stations to be run by
agricultural universities and agricultural extension centers, or Krishi Vigyan Kendras). Of
these, 107 community radio stations have been cleared for licensing through the issuance
of Letters of Intent. 13 Grant of Permission Agreements (GOPA) have been signed with
license applicants under the new plan.
By 30 November 2008, there were 38 operational community radio stations in the
country. Of these, two are run by NGOs and the rest by educational institutions. The first
community-based radio station licensed to an NGO (as distinct from campus-based radio)
was launched on 15 October 2008, when Sangham Radio[dead link] in Pastapur village,
Medak district, Andhra Pradesh state went on the air at 11:00 am. Sangham Radio, which
broadcasts on 90.4 MHz, is licensed to the Deccan Development Society (DDS) (an NGO
which works with women's groups in approximately 75 villages in Andhra Pradesh). The
community radio station is managed by General and Algole Narsamma. The second
NGO-led community radio station in India was launched on 23 October 2008 at
Taragram in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh state. Named Radio Bundelkhand[dead link] after
the Bundelkhand region of central India where it is located, the radio station is licensed to
the Society for Development Alternatives (DA) (a Delhi-based NGO). Radio
Bundelkhand also broadcasts on 90.4 MHz for four hours a day (including two hours of
repeat broadcasts).

According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 47 community radio stations
were operational in India by 1 November 2009 (including 45 campus-based stations and
two CRS run by NGOs). By December 2009, the number of CR stations run by civil
groups had increased to seven:
Sangham Radio (Pastapur, Medak District, Andhra Pradesh)
Radio Bundelkhand (Orchha, Madhya Pradesh)
Mann Deshi Tarang (Satara, Maharashtra)
Namma Dhwani (Budikote, Karnataka)
Radio Mattoli (Wayanad, Kerala)
Kalanjiam Samuga Vanoli (Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu)
Barefoot (Tilonia, Rajasthan)
Radio Banasthali ( Banasthali, Rajasthan)

By 4 December 2009, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had issued Grant of
Permission Agreements (GOPA) for 62 community radio stations. Most of the GOPAs
were issued to educational institutions.

Community Radio Sarang on 107.8 is managed by the Mangalore Jesuit Educational
Society (MJES) and run by St. Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangalore (a coastal
town in southern Karnataka). Radio Sarang is campus radio, in that it is based in an
educational institution; it is oriented towards local communities as well, producing
programs with, for and by farmers, fishermen, hospital patients, vendors and service
providers such as bicycle repairmen and cobblers. Radio Sarang broadcasts in Konkani,
Kannada, Tulu, and English daily, and in Malayalam, Beary (the mother tongue of local
Muslims) and Hindi on a weekly basis. It also broadcasts in Punjabi, by request of the
local Sikh community. Since 15 June 2010, the CR station broadcasts 14 hours a day
from 6:30 to 20:30. The format includes talks, interviews, phone-ins, songs, poetry,
stories and chat shows. Richard Rego, SJ is founder and director of the station.

Banasthali Radio was the first community radio station licensed in the state of Rajasthan.
Reaching out to areas within the radius of 10-15Km, it primarily covers the north-eastern
part of Tonk district. Banasthali Radio has been operating since January 2005 as a
campus radio station for students. The transmission reaches 50 villages surrounding the
campus; students started outdoor recordings as part of the extension activities of
Vidyapeeth. The FM radio station is known as RADIO BANASTHALI and broadcasts
radio programs for 12 hours daily currently and focuses on topics of
entertainment,education, health, nutrition, environment, agriculture, depicting folk, art,
culture rural and community development.

To create a common platform for the local communities of Supi in Uttarakhand, TERI
launched Kumaon vani (a community radio service) on March 11, 2010. Uttarakhand
Governor Margaret Alva inaugurated the community radio station, the first in the state.
Kumaon Vani airs programmes on the environment, agriculture, culture, weather and
education in the local language and with the active participation of the communities. The
station covers a radius of 10 km, reaching an audience of almost 2,000 around

Jnan Taranga (90.4 FM), the first community radio service in northeastern India, began
regular broadcasts November 20, 2010. Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open
University[dead link], Guwahati, Assam, aired the first programme on 28 January 2009
as an experimental broadcast. Jnan Taranga literally means "knowledge wave".

Under the 2006 community radio policy, any not-for-profit "legal entity"—except
individuals, political parties (and their affiliates), criminal and banned organizations—
can apply for a CR license. Central funding is not available for such stations, and there
are stringent restrictions on fundraising from other sources. Only organisations which
have been registered for a minimum of three years old and with a proven track record of
local community service may apply. License conditions implicitly favour well-funded
stations over inexpensive low-power operations, several of which (Mana Radio in Andhra
Pradesh and Raghav FM in Bihar, for example) operated successfully on shoestring
budgets before the imposition of a community radio policy.

The licence entitles them to operate a 100-watt (ERP) radio station, with a coverage area
of approximately a 12-km radius. A maximum antenna height of 30 meters is allowed.
Community radio stations are expected to produce at least 50 percent of their
programmes locally, as much as possible in the local language or dialect. The stress is on
developmental programming, although there is no explicit ban on entertainment. News
programmes are banned on community radio in India (as they are on commercial FM
radio). However, the government recently clarified that certain categories of news are
permitted on radio, including sports news and commentaries, information on traffic and
weather conditions, coverage of cultural events and festivals, information on academic
events, public announcements pertaining to utilities such as electricity and the water
supply, disaster warnings and health alerts. Five minutes of advertising per hour is
allowed on community radio. Sponsored programs are not allowed, except when the
program is sponsored by the government at the local or state level.
Activists and community workers from across the country have banded together under
the aegis of the Community Radio Forum of India[dead link] to coordinate training and
support for community radio stations, and to work for a more proactive community radio
policy. The Community Radio Forum, India, was registered as a Society and Trust on 26
February 2008. In the meantime, mobile telephone operators have begun to offer
commercial broadcast services over GSM, evading government restrictions built around
traditional concepts of broadcasting technology.

By 1 July 2010, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that 715
applications for CR licenses had been received, including 104 under the old campus-radio
guidelines. 231 Letters of Intent were issued (including 63 under the old guidelines).
Grant of Permission Agreements were signed with 102 applicants, and 68 community
radio stations were on the air. 107 applications were rejected, and 377 applications were
being processed.

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