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Do you know what makes rural radio station 90.4 FM unique?

Mar 09, 2018

Do you know what makes rural radio station 90.4 FM unique?
Do you know what makes rural radio station 90.4 FM unique? | Credit: Milaap Website

The advent of science and technology has connected us to channels like radio and television that has played a pivotal role in providing engagement and entertainment. For Indian rural community, a constant source of engagement is difficult to find and any step towards doing something for the rural community is much appreciated.

Sarathi Jhalak's FM 90.4 MHz, a lifeline for rural Karnataka

The voice of the rural community, Sarathi Jhalak's FM 90.4 MHz, has unleashed new joy in the Karnataka village Anugondanahalli Hobli, Hoskote. Located in the eastern periphery, 50 km from Bangalore, the radio station has today established itself amidst a huge community transcending boundaries of Malur in Kolar district, border villages like Anekal, Sarjapura, Whitefield, Marathahalli, K R Puram, Hosur, Varthur, Mahadevapura and Kundalahalli.

Reaching every nook and corner through mass media

The unique aspect of this community radio is that it transmits to over 100 villages covering a population of over a million. It is run under women administration primarily by females and offers a tremendous scope to communicate about environmental development, educational information and counselling on right values of life. Rich in educational and entertaining content, old and young, school children and farmers, men and women, all eagerly wait to listen to this one of a kind Community Radio Station (CRS).

The villagers enjoy the constant company of RJs who are recruited from the village itself. Anybody can walk into the station and deliver a talk on relevant topics. The main force to reckon with behind the effort was D S Shamantha, a former media professional who started the initiative in August 2012 through Sarathi trust, supported by Karnataka government with a small fund of Rs. 5 lakh. Prior to this Shamantha lead different roles in many media organisations. She came with the idea to develop community radios in rural India to foster their progress with the aim of setting up Saarathi Jhalak. The radio station is entirely dependent on donations and she finds funding to be a challenge. The channel transmits educational topics about public health, agriculture, legal, education, art, civic issues, social welfare, government subsidies, produce prices, expert advice on farming issues and entertainment which keep the villagers glued through the day.

The broadcast begins at 7 am and closes at 9.30 pm, on all weekdays. The program format is mostly interactive and receives overwhelming response from villagers over phone and text messages. Eminent persons are invited as guest speakers to throw light on different streams of life and motivate the youth. For job seekers, programs like Kathaleyinda Belakinattha (From darkness to light) have enabled youth to better prepare themselves for employment. Women have come forward with messages that their spouse has experienced transformational changes to quit drinking or smoking after listening to the awareness programs. A survey by Department of Science and Technology of Government of India declared that the station has 75% listenership.