ANDHRA PRADESH REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON
11-13 October, 2007
Community Radio Forum
This report includes the following sections:
Expected Outcomes of the Workshop
The workshop aimed at introducing Community Radio (CR) as a meaningful tool for social change to NGOs working in Andhra Pradesh. It sought to share with the participating organisations the recently announced CR Policy, technical information as well as details of the application process for initiating the process of establishing CR stations in their region, which would be community-owned and managed, and run on a not-for-profit basis.
The workshop specifically focussed on:
Participants: NGOs and Civil Society Groups
NGOs: 221. ANKITA, Nalgonda
2. ANTHRA, Hyderabad
3. BIRDS, Kurnool
4. Byrraju Foundation, East Godavari
5. Community Radio Station, Machnoor, Medak
6. Deccan Development Society, Pastapur, Medak
7. LAYA, East Godavari
8. Modern Architects for Comprehensive Rural Development (MACORD), Hyderabad
9. Modern Architects for Rural India (MARI), Warangal
10. Nava Bharath Rural Development Society(NRDS), Anantapur
11. Navodayam, Chittoor
12. PEACE, Nalgonda
13. PILUPU, Nalgonda
14. Pragathi Seva Samithi (PSS, Warangal
15. READS, Medak
16. SABALA, Visakhapatnam
17. SAHANIVASA, Chittoor
18. SAMATA, Visakhapatnam
19. Sarada Vally Development Samithi, Vizag
20. Tribal Development Advisory Service Society (TDASS),Medak
21. UNICEF, Raichur District Coordinator
22. YAKSHI, Hyderabad
Resource Persons for Facilitating Workshop Sessions
Mr. P V Satheesh, Director DDS; General Narsamma and Algole Narsamma, both managers of Sangam FM (DDS CR); Prof. Vinod Pavarala, Vasuki Belavadi and Dr. Kanchan K. Malik from the University of Hyderabad.
An Overview of Sessions
This was followed by the release of book on community radio by Vinod Pavarala & Kanchan K. Malik titled Other Voices: The Struggle for Community Radio in India. The book documents the struggle of civil society organizations, media academics and activists for forging a third sector of community broadcasting in India. The book is based on fieldwork done in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Jharkhand.
In the next session, P V Satheesh and Vinod Pavarala elaborated further on the concept and philosophy of CR.
P V Satheesh spoke about the focus areas/activities of DDS and their participatory approach to social change. DDS believes that the access and control of media technologies should be in the hands of the marginalised communities particularly women. It was important to note that the control of media technologies in the hands of the marginalized communities was preceded by the community's control over their food, health and natural resources, he added. His presentation emphasized the need for democratization of media and that the establishment of the Community Media Trust was a step in this direction.
Vinod Pavarala pointed out that debate on CR among civil society and media activist groups started with the 1995 SC judgment declaring airwaves as public property. He talked at length about how CR can help in reviving the developmental prowess of media and promote meaningful content which is locally relevant. He introduced the Community Radio Forum of India and spoke about its four thrust areas – CR awareness, helpdesk for policy, policy advocacy and technology options.
This was followed by the screening of the film on DDS community radio: “A Radio of Their Own” after which Vinod Pavarala provided an overview of the recently announced CR policy and explained the guidelines in detail. In the post-lunch session, Vinod Pavarala provided a step-by-step guidance to the participants for filling up the application form for a CR license.
The participants of the workshop then visited the DDS CR station in Machnoor and interacted with the Production/ Management Team of the station including General Narsamma and Algole Narsamma.
The forenoon session of the workshop focussed on the logistics of setting up the CR station. Vasuki Belavadi, PV Satheesh and Kanchan K. Malik discussed different aspects to the process of setting up a CR station (such as needs assessment, equipment, space, funds, management and capacity sharing) and the available technology options.
In his presentation, Vasuki Belavadi laid out the various technology options available in the market to set up a CR. There were a number of analog and digital options for field and studio-based productions. He said the CR equipment could be seen in terms of production, post-production and transmission. Analog technologies were slowly on their way out. On the other hand digital technologies facilitated easy recording, editing and storage of programmes but would require more time for the communities to get used to. However, the community’s adoption to technologies and their affordability could be the guiding factors in deciding the right option. Vasuki and PV Satheesh also cleared a number of doubts with regard to coverage of transmitters and phasing out of equipment.
On the location of the CR, Vasuki and Satheesh pointed out that one would have to strike a balance between access to the radio station and reach in terms of the FM signal.
An ideal way, perhaps, would be to start small and then slowly add equipment as CR volunteers got used to programming and production. Even if one wanted to upgrade equipment, there was always the option of working with both analog and digital technologies. Only recording and editing equipment would perhaps require upgradation, most of the other equipment in the production chain remaining the same.
On the issue of scaling up the CR in terms of reach since multi-lateral donor agencies are keen on this issue (in relation to the fact that the existing policy does not allow more than one CR per applicant), a sensitisation workshop for donor agencies may be planned.
Satheesh emphasised that CR would be able to fulfil its objectives and mission only if a) the community first has a genuine participation mechanism in place and b) the need is felt for using technology for furthering the process of participatory development and building of indigenous knowledge systems. Capacity enhancing should be the first step of the enabling mechanism for CR, rather than the last step after the licence comes.
Satheesh analysed critically the different sources from which one could obtain funding and the possible consequences related to each. General and Algole explained some of the ways in which production of radio programmes could be sustained over a period of time. Kanchan talked of the different models of management and ownership of CR linking them up with the sources of funding for setting up the station and for covering the recurring costs.
Satheesh suggested several ways of ensuring community participation and the indispensability of community ownership and management in all functions of the CR.
Kanchan made a presentation about the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS) experience with Community Radio and talked about the programmes produced by the community radio reporters of the “Ujjas” radio of the media unit of KMVS.
Post lunch, the participants visited the DDS radio setup in Machnoor again and familiarised themselves with the various radio equipment and their basic usage. They also visited the Community Media Trust (CMT) and DDS headquarters and interacted with the CMT members.
Day III started with a session with General Narsamma on basic digital editing techniques. This was followed by a detailed feedback session (Summary appended below).
Issues that came up for Discussions in different Sessions
All the sessions of the workshop were open-ended in their approach. The participants felt free to question, comment, express doubts, and come up with queries related to the concept and practice of community radio in the context of their own specific experience of community development related work. The resource persons handled most of these and at the same time the participants also freely exchanged ideas/apprehensions/comprehension about the CR policy and the application process among themselves.
Presented below are some such questions/queries/comments and ideas and a sample of the responses offered:
These are some of the questions that the participants asked members of the Community Media Trust (CMT) during discussions about their operation and management techniques:
P V Satheesh spoke about: Global village to villaged Globe; Community Media as an alternative to Literacy; Capacity Sharing.
Feedback about Workshop (DAY III)
Given below are some of the responses given by the participants during the final feedback session:
At the end of the feedback session decision taken to set up an e-group of the Andhra Pradesh Rural Community Radio Forum.
Before the feedback session on Day III, the participants, in a mood of camaraderie went to Bidar (20 kms) and visited the fort, the Narasimhaswamy temple and the Gurudwara.