How did Gurgaon Ki Awaaz come about?
After the change in state guidelines in 2006, I was approached by an NGO, The Restoring Force, with the idea of a community radio. Once we got the licence in 2009, we started airing.
What were the challenges?
Foremost, understanding ‘community radio’ itself. Also the decision to have a team of community members rather than experts.
Tell us about your radio show Chahat Chowk, now in its third season.
It’s a participatory show on sexual and reproductive health aimed at women of Gurgaon’s Mullahera community.
What taboos has the show broken?
The biggest taboo is getting people to talk.
What issues do the shows on Gurgaon Ki Awaaz attempt to address?
Everything—entrepreneurship, issues of disabled people, adolescents, women, even drivers.
What is the relevance of community radio?
Unlike mainstream media, community radio celebrates local dialects, culture and issues without mocking them.
The state guidelines for wireless operations are very repressive.
The state’s attitude of ‘we know what’s best for you’ needs to go.
What other sustainability issues does community radio face in India?
Generating funding, understanding and maintaining technical equipment, and enabling continuous training are only a few.
How to enhance sustainability in the community radio business?
Pursuing CSR, advertising local products that cater to a small community can go a long way.
What other community radio practices do you look up to?
Latin America has a strong community radio movement. In India, the Havel Vani community radio in Chamba is an exemplary model.