Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Radio Ujjas

A very good article in The Nation. Radio Ujjas is a radio show produced by the people of Kutch (a desolate place of India near pakistan) which in three years has become a major sensation.

It says:

It is Radio Ujjas, and in the past three years it has transformed Kutchi village life. In their efforts to communicate with the thousand-some villages of Kutch, a rural women's group called Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, or KMVS, hit upon the idea of radio. They got together with a collective of media professionals and taught themselves the ins and outs of radio production. Securing assistance from Gujarat's Indian Institute of Management, they got the show off the ground. Now the project is supported by the UN Development Program and the Indian government. They bought time from the state-owned All India Radio, which has an almost complete monopoly on India's airwaves but is willing to sell air and studio time as long as it can vet the content each week before a show airs. What emerged was a village radio show that uses local language, song and soap opera-style dramas to raise social awareness.

The article explains about a popular investigative program called "Parda Faash," which literally means "lifting the veil"--it explains the success of this program and says

It continues:

The program has gained such a reputation that sometimes when a reporter starts sniffing around a village, the problem will be cleared up before she can even come back to report on it. KMVS always follows up on its stories, and the staff answers every letter they receive.

I have been listening to the Radio for sometime now. There are two reasons for this. First someitme back I remembered the Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda who said that India lived in the villages. Secondly, I was reading the books of Peter Drucker and especially his commentry on how the world is changing. His analysis has made me look at the demographics of a country when trying to understand the society and its changes. The Radio programs provided a vital clue into the changes affecting rural India and understanding of the real issues. Once i got hooked into the programs and also the ads (this provides a very idea on what the rural people are looking for).

One of the main ideas being promoted by the Andhra Pradesh government (the radio programs are broken up into national and regional ones and each of the states,mostly linguistic division have different programs) are on AIDS. The ideas are promoted directly through ads and small dialogue stories where the importance of understading the problem etc are shown. Apart from this there are programs concentrated on the villages which try to provide some limelight the issues and other comments and queries which the people have. This is also mainly concentrated by the goverment information.

But, one thing is sure that radio is a powerful way to reach a mass audience and can definately as provided in the article in the nation is a "highly effective" one.

I will talk about the Radio programs in the US and gulf.


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