On World Radio Day, I think it is perfect to go back in time and list out all those who were part of the station’s early years. In 2005, I joined Jain University and at the inauguration of the Department of Mass Communications, an ex-colleague Karthik mooted the idea of applying for a community radio licence and the University readily agreed. But, it was not till 2006 that my interest in the sector deepened. On work in Australia, I met an old friend who mentioned in passing that she was volunteering at community radio station in Sydney, presenting shows in Kannada, the local language of Karnataka. From then on as they say there is no looking back, I got involved during the brick and mortar stage, we were assisted by Mr. Govindarajan, who was involved with the acoustics for the station and on 25th June 2007, Radio Active was launched on the frequency 107.8MHz. The name for the station was given by a former student, Rohini Singh and our first logo was designed by Aral Lobo. The jingles/signature tune were produced by Jeevan Claude D’Souza. In the initial years we were assisted by CEMCA (Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia), then led by Dr. Sreedher, who basically acted as a mentor.
While on the day of the inauguration, we faced a major frequency clash with GramVani, which was operating on the same frequency and was later shifted t0 107.2 MHz. The station was inaugurated by Rashtriya Vigyan Evan Prodhyogiki Sanchar Parishad (RVEPSP) scientist Ujjwala Tirkey(http://www.radioandmusic.com/content/editorial/news/bangalorelsquos-first-community-radio-station-goes-active#)
Immediately after a focus group discussion was organised with various actors and one of the early programmes that emerged was “Talking the Walk”, hosted by Ashish Sen, produced by Mr. Basvaraj from APD ( Association of People with Disabilities) and the parents of the hearing impaired. Most of the other programmes were produced by students of Mass Communication batch of 2007-08. Ramya, Ramkanth, Padma Priya and Vijaya were part of our founding team.
In October 2007, the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India sanctioned a project on “Science for Women’s Health and Nutrition”, while the broadcast rights were with the station, the production rights were with Voices, a local NGO. It was at that time, that the station conducted a Baseline Survey in Mathikere and Yeshwanthpur area, that we began appreciating the meaning of a community radio. ( The baseline was supervised by Rukmini Vemraju, a community media trainer)
A meeting with Madhu Bhushan and Shakun from Vimochana in late 2007 led to a community radio workshop in March 2008, where a group of 40 women assembled in JJR Nagar. The experience at that workshop, reinforced the need for community radio… After the workshop, we were all seated around, drinking tea and I was holding a cassette recorder in my right hand. Without even thinking I casually remarked, that we should start speaking. A lady seated to my right assumed that I was addressing her and to her disbelief asked me if I was asking her to speak. I said yes, why not? She repeated the question again, this time very slowly, weighing her words. I could see her eyes well up with tears. I was a bit alarmed, thinking I must have said something to hurt her. And then the next sentence she uttered, left me speechless. She said “No one has ever asked me to speak”. She always felt that her voice did not matter.
Her statement, defines our existence. Voices Matters, and nothing better than a community radio platform. Happy World Radio Day!
Given that we still had frequency issues, our frequency was changed to 90.4 MHz on June 2008, much before Ramana Voices went on air in October 2008.
A big shout out to all our other friends in our early years 2007-2008: SICHREM, CUPA, CRT, Sama Foundation, the doctors from St. John’s Medical College, Dr. Shaibaya, Anna, Jyothi, Ram Bhatt, Bhavani, Hemalatha, Mr. Dinesh Nilkant, Ms. Radha, Prof.Madhavan , Divya Wesley and all the volunteers .
– Pinky Chandran
Pinky Chandran is the Director of Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz and has been part of the station since inception