Community Radio in India Blog

Broadcasting in India is speedily shifting its profile. Indian radio is currently changing from being a government monopoly to highly-commercialized broadcasting. But this media needs to be democratized too. Privatization and total deregulation will not mean much to the average citizen if radio fails to get a chance to play a vital role in their lives. India has so far clearly given step-motherly treatment to public service, community, educational and development broadcast networks.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Good Morning Mansoorpur!

Sunday Times of India carried this half-page story titled 'Good Morning Mansoorpur' in it's today's issue (March 5, 2006). It's subtitle says it all: "In a Bihar village, one man runs a radio station from a repair shop. It's social, entertaining and probably illegal too, Alok Mishra reports."

The photo shows villagers in Mansoorpur listen to the radio station, and Raghav Mahato in front of his repair shop, which is also his FM station.

Couldn't locate the story online. But there were some other interesting links. BBC carried this story some time back, and had it titled The amazing DIY village FM radio station

BBC says: It may well be the only village FM radio station on the Asian sub-continent. It is certainly illegal. The transmission equipment, costing just over $1, may be the cheapest in the world. But the local people definitely love it. On a balmy morning in India's northern state of Bihar, young Raghav Mahato gets ready to fire up his home-grown FM radio station. Thousands of villagers, living in a 20km (12 miles) radius of Raghav's small repair shop and radio station in Mansoorpur village in Vaishali district, tune their $5 radio sets to catch their favourite station.

Even more interesting: For the next 12 hours, Raghav Mahato's outback FM radio station plays films songs and broadcasts public interest messages on HIV and polio, and even snappy local news, including alerts on missing children and the opening of local shops.

After years of begging the authority on bended knee for the legalisation of community radio in India, now perhaps one could only conclude that they'll see sense when 'pirate' radio becomes a reality.

There's the DelhiDoorHai blog which has this interesting comment, with reference to the above story: "I can't resist this post. There is all that possibility it seems to offer, of an underground radio network, freedom from the self-righteousness of All India Radio (and AIR 'Rainbow's' catchy, head-bashingly awful jingle). Raghav FM Mansoorpur 1. Radio for the people it seems to suggest - and certainly by them."


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