Radio Vishwas, a Community Radio Station (CRS) in Nashik, Maharashtra has won two awards at the 8th edition of the National Community Radio Awards instituted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Radio Vishwas 90.8 got the first prize in the Sustainability Model Awards category and the second prize in the Thematic Awards category for its radio programme- Education for all during the COVID-19 difficult situation. Radio Vishwas is run 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) that won the award under the Thematic Category was launched in June 2020. The main aim was to provide free education to students from 3rd to 10th grade, during the difficult time of COVID-19.
Audio lectures were made accessible to the students who study in Zilla Parishad and Nashik Municipal schools. The programme was broadcasted in various languages like- Hindi, English, Marathi, and Sanskrit.
Speaking about the functioning and the approach of the CRS, Station Director, Dr. Hari Vinayak Kulkarni said the programme received a very positive response. “These are the students who are trapped in poverty and cannot afford smartphones for digital education. Shikshan Sarvaansathi project was implemented 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 further stated that the lectures were shared with six community radio stations throughout the state so that they could broadcast on their radio channels.
Dr. Kulkarni also spoke 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 devices (inclusive of USB, Bluetooth, high-end speakers) to students to ensure that they don’t miss out on the current syllabus. Teachers are also planning to upload it on 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 sustain itself in four key areas: financial, human, technical, and content sustainability. Over a period of ten years, the station has been able to develop a listenership base of approximately 3 lakh people.
About National Community Radio (CR) Awards
In the year 2011-12, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had instituted National Community Radio (CR) Awards to encourage innovation and healthy competition among Community Radio Stations. These Community Radio stations have played an important role in communication during the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, there are 327 community radio stations have been operating in India across various states.
Importance of Community Radio
Community Radio Stations focuses on the local issues for the benefit of the local community in a radius of 10-15 Km. These stations are majorly run by the local people who host talk shows, play local music and songs. It gives marginalized communities the opportunity to express their views often ignored by mainstream media providing authentic information. Just hearing themselves on the radio is an empowering experience for many of the marginalized sections in society.