Radio Vishwas, a community radio station (CRS) in Nashik, Maharashtra, won two awards at the 8th National Community Radio Awards instituted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Radio Vishwas 90.8 won the first prize in the Sustainability Model Awards category and the second prize in the Thematic Awards category for its radio program – Education for All during the difficult situation of COVID-19. Radio Vishwas is operated by the Vishwas Dhyan Prabodhini & Research Institute, Nashik, Maharashtra. The station broadcasts 14 hours a day.
Shikshan Sarvansathi (Education for All)
Shikshan Sarvansathi (Education for All) which won the award in the thematic category was launched in June 2020. The main objective was to provide free education to students in grades 3 to 10, during the difficult time of COVID- 19.
Audio lectures have been made available to students studying at Zilla Parishad and Nashik municipal schools. The program was broadcast in various languages like Hindi, English, Marathi and Sanskrit.
Speaking about the operation and approach of CRS, the station manager Dr Hari Vinayak Kulkarni said the program has received a very positive response. “These are the students who are trapped in poverty and cannot afford smartphones for digital education. The Shikshan Sarvaansathi project was implemented with the help of 150 teachers who recorded lectures in our studio. The lectures were then broadcast according to the slots allocated to each topic. The program received a huge response from the targeted community; around 50,000 to 60,000 students from municipal and ZP schools have benefited ”.
He further said the lectures were shared with six community radio stations statewide so that they could broadcast on their radio channels.
Dr Kulkarni also spoke about initiatives taken by teachers to distribute FM devices to students. “A group of teachers at Igatpuri taluka in Nashik distributed 451 FM devices (including USB, Bluetooth, high-end speakers) to the students to make sure they don’t miss the current curriculum. The teachers also plan to upload it to YouTube, which can also be used when normal schooling begins. “
Dr Kulkarni further explained how the innovative model of sustainability has enabled the station to thrive and maintain itself in four key areas: financial, human, technical and content sustainability. Over a period of ten years, the station was able to develop a listening base of around 3 lakh of people.
About the National Community Radio (CR) Awards
During 2011-12, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting instituted National Community Radio Awards (CR) to encourage innovation and healthy competition among community radio stations. These community radios played an important role in communication during the Covid-19 pandemic. At present, 327 community radio stations are operating in India in various states.
Importance of community radio
Community radio stations focus on local issues for the benefit of the local community within a 10-15 km radius. These stations are mainly run by local people who host talk shows, broadcast local music and songs. It gives marginalized communities the opportunity to express their views often overlooked by mainstream media providing authentic information. Just getting along on the radio is an empowering experience for many marginalized sections of society.