When was the last time you listened to the radio? Does anybody listen to the radio anymore? Do people actually tune-in to hear what’s broadcasted on their radio?

Yes is the answer!

Radio as a medium has survived through the age of walkman, CD’s, Ipod’s. A medium that is still popular in today’s world. It is still crooning in the background of many cars being driven as you reading this, and, in India, most of the tea shops at the corner streets – radio is the source of entertainment, they run all day long.

The era of community radio became popular in India only in the nineties. There is a clear distinction drawn between a community radio and the mainstream ones that only cater to commercial concerns. Community radios function with a sole purpose – to share the social concerns and to talk about topics relevant to the community in the geographical area.

A community radio can be a powerful medium to bring communities together to work for a social cause or to provoke thoughts within the community. Nepal a country 22 times smaller than India has more community radio stations than us. They have been of great use during the time of earthquake that took place in 2015.

Speaking in the context of Nilgiris – a community radio can do wonders in encouraging communities to pay heed to a social cause, a medium for environmental messaging, sharing eco-development ideas & sustainable farming practices; all of which is of crucial importance to keep this region intact. News can be reported more quickly than newspapers and television because the technology is simpler.

What has Radio Kotagiri been upto?

Radio Kotagiri came into existence in 2013. It has been five years since its inception and has been carrying out a largely project-oriented broadcast.

Free-Dem: a project to raise awareness among first time voters; Panchayat Raj: a project that focused on sharing information on the local government functionaries and their roles; TB Akshaya – a project to spread awareness on tuberculosis; Snakebite:  The project focused on first aid management and prevention; Women’s Health (a project by Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India) – a project that focused on creating programmes on topics in regard to Women’s health.

Yet, we believe this medium has more potential. Producing participatory programs can make it more effective and relevant. Kotagiri is home to tribal and non-tribal communities. This radio can be a space for marginalized communities to voice their opinion and can also reach those people who cannot read or write. It can accompany you in whatever you’re doing.

Funds for this programme have been difficult to solicit. We are planning to refresh things from our side. We are revamping Radio Kotagiri’s website. Plans to promote it locally and make people aware of this medium as a radio for the people of Kotagiri is underway. An online crowdfunding campaign is one avenue which we will be exploring.

Share your ideas with us. Help us build Radio Kotagiri into a true community radio.