MUMBAI: Even as private FM broadcasters are growing in markets and expanding their content offering to different verticals, community radio stations in India too are not far behind in the growth phase. University of Agricultural Science Dharwad’s Krishi community radio is all set to pen its growth story by launching its programmes on the web and mobile platform soon.
The station in partnership with the organization One World South Asia has developed a website to provide its radio programmes online and enhance the reach of the station. The organization is not helping in funding of any sorts but are developing the technology to ensure efficient access to content.
This website will tentatively launch between 8-10 February, and will initially feature only five programmes focusing on farmers and agriculture. Every evening from 5-8pm, the website will live stream farmer experience programs which can also be accessed later on the site under the ‘stored programs’ section. Apart from that, the website will consist of festival programmes and folk songs in Kannada for access to users.
Speaking with Radioandmusic.com, Krishi community radio programme officer S Devendrappa said, “We have a lot of programs for farmers and special farmer experience programmes on our website. We have also tied-up with 3000 self help groups who organize various activities related to agriculture and educating farmers. We take resources and content from them and in turn provide a platform to their content. Basically the website will help in creating newer avenues for farmers to educate and benefit.”
Covering about 10-15 kilometers radius around the University, the station broadcasts for six hours everyday and organizes training programs every year for farmers, helping and educating them on new technology in farming which can help them in various ways. It also acts as research material for students in the university, who use the content as reference study material for projects.
Currently, the station has around 10 RJs trained by the university and the broadcaster itself. Apart from that it also boasts of a student community of 2500 with 200 student volunteers in the station.
“Our station comprises of RJs from other areas as well as students from the university who we have trained extensively through various workshops organized in the past. Infact our student volunteers have also thought of preserving the programs in DVDs and hard disks to archive it,” he elaborated.
As the graph of the station rises towards success gradually, it comes as a major surprise too see it launching on different verticals as funding and revenues are still a major obstacle for most other community radio stations across the country.
But Krishi community radio begged to differ. Since the station provides a lot of information and measures on agriculture, it receives a certain amount of funds from input agencies like fertilizer companies and more, who sponsor a particular program catering to an issue. The programs range from issues like TB to using the right fertilizer for crops and more, while the sponsors range from agriculture department, environment department and more.
Taking its success onto the next level, the station will also be launching its services on the mobile platform with the help of IBM. The mobile service titled ‘Krishi Gnyanavani’ will be provided to the farmers through the station, where they can access related information through their handsets. The service is slated to launch within the next two months.
Devendrappa revealed, “This is the next step in our development. We aim to provide our content on mobile for farmers to have easy access to information. We are still in talks and no telco has been finalized yet, though IBM will be helping us in developing it. We will be recording programs for the service, of which 40 have already been done.”