Thursday, 13 August 2009

Re: [creative-radio] INDIA: Farm Radio for Kuttanad soon

 

I find this report slightly misleading... my comments inline below:

Vickram
http://communicall.wordpress.com
http://vvcrishna.wordpress.com

________________________________
From: George Lessard <mediamentor@gmail.com>
To: creative-radio@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, 13 August, 2009 7:32:33
Subject: [creative-radio] INDIA: Farm Radio for Kuttanad soon

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jaisakthivel <ardicdxclub@yahoo.co.in>
Date: 2009/8/11
Subject: [cr-india] Farm Radio for Kuttanad soon
To: dx india <dx_india@yahoogroups.com>

Farm Radio for Kuttanad soon

Farmers of Kuttanad will shortly have a community radio for themselves,
alerting them on weather changes and imparting essential tips on agriculture
apart from attempting to help them tide over the agrarian crisis that has
been dogging the region for long.

>>It is hard to see how this proposed station can be defined as 'community radio', given that it is going to be both government owned and controlled. Of the government, by the government... for the farmers? Altruistic, for sure. What is the benefit to (presumably) hundreds of thousands of people who live in the area but do not actually farm?

To serve farmers in a radius of 25km from the centre of Kuttanad, the
Kuttanad Farm Radio will have technical inputs from agricultural experts in
the State Agriculture Department and will be operated by professional
jockeys. Expected to cost around Rs. 30 lakh, the radio station will most
probably be located at the Rice Research Institute in Mankombu here. The
cost could vary depending on the transmitter capacity, Mr. Unnikrishnan
said.

>> 30 lakhs (approximately equivalent to USD 75,000) is a pretty high price to pay for a station in India with a reach of 25 km. That would take a tx of around 100W EIRP, the highest permitted for 'community radio' stations.

A survey to identify the requirements of Kuttanad farmers and to chalk out
programmes accordingly is already on. Kuttanad-specific programmes will be
broadcast twice a day. If the experiment turns out to be successful, plans
are afoot to establish similar community radio stations in Palakkad,
Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.

>> While it is true that community radio stations are beginning to get licenses now, and gradually reaching take off point, with a handful having already begun broadcasting, it is rather ambitious to imagine that this single unit will get four such licenses in a hurry. In fact, license conditions actually permit only one transmitter per licensee. Incidentally, such surveys are a mandatory part of the license application process.

Similar community radio station projects were launched by non-governmental
organizations, albeit for fishermen, but did not prove to be sustainable
ventures, Mr. Unnikrishnan said, adding that the pre-launch survey for the
Kuttanad Farm Radio would help to avoid any glitches.

>> This is the first I am hearing that the fishermen stations (afaik, just one station) have run into trouble. This needs some investigation. As far as sustainability goes, the license conditions are so restrictive (limits on both advertising time and rates, no sponsored programmes, etc) that virtually all CR stations will need hefty dollops of external (ie, non-broadcasting income) funding to sustain (or else be continually dependent on volunteer staffing). However, the actual operational data is too limited to be able to generalise yet. It is also hard to understand how a fishermen's self-operated station can be said to be similar to a government owned and run set-up. It is probably true that the fishermen's collectives themselves face serious financial sustainability issues, with rampant competition from remote corporate ownership seine fishing trawlers that have laid waste to coastal fishing grounds, not to mention the slow post-tsunami recovery.

>> It is also not at all clear from this report why a station that will broadcast only twice a day does not simply use time from the existing state-owned (All India Radio) network to broadcast agricultural-related information, instead of creating new broadcasting infrastructure. AIR has regularly been running such programs in varuous parts of India for at least 50 years now.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/08/12/stories/2009081252770300.htm

Via
_________________
Jaisakthivel, Chennai
cr-india mailing list
cr-india@sarai.net
https://mail.sarai.net/mailman/listinfo/cr-india

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