Kumaon Vani - Community Radio Station

Listening radio at work
Listening radio at work
With the aim to bring together the local community across 20 villages close to Supi village in the valley of Kumaon, TERI launched its first Community Radio Station- 'Kumaon Vani' in March 2010. It was established to use radio as a tool to promote sustainable development among the local farming community. Riding the airwaves at 90.4 MHz (FM), the station covers the radius of 20 kms reaching out to almost 2,00,000 people in and around Mukhteshwar. The radio station is attached to TERI's knowledge centre TRISHA (TERI's Research Initiative in Supi for Himalayan Advancement) that works closely with the local farming community with the objective of improving their livelihoods through sustainable agricultural practices. Like all community radio stations, Kumaon Vani is a not-for-profit entity that is operated, owned and driven by the local community in Mukteshwar.

'Kumaon Vani' is among the 150 functional community radio stations in the country that have been granted license by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Located at an altitude of more than 2286 m, Kumaon Vani reaches out to nearly 500 villages in Nainital, Bhimtal, Almora, Ranikhet, Kausani, Champawat, Devidhura, Pithoragarh, Betalghat, Sheetlakhet, Kausani, Gwaldham and Bagheshwar. It covers a population of nearly 200,000 people, which is pre-dominantly an agricultural community.

Programme with SHG leaders
Programme with SHG leaders
A team of nearly 15 members from the local community has been trained in radio jockeying, editorial and technical production to run the station independently. The team is primarily responsible for grassroots engagement with the community by collecting ideas, feedback and voices from different parts of the Kumaon region. A wide representation of the community's voice in its programmes has been a notable success of Kumaon Vani. In addition, a large number of performing artists are also associated with the radio station. Both freelancers and performing artists are paid on pre-fixed rates for programmes and songs.

The radio station is equipped with a sound studio, an antenna system and a 30-meter high transmission tower. It also has a phone-in facility that allows both live and recorded communication with listeners and guests located anywhere in the world.

Performing artists
Performing artists
While the community is exposed to a wide range of commercial media (that includes print and television media), there is very little information that pertains to the benefit of the community directly. The people have a huge demand for information, particularly relating to agriculture and horticulture. But there are very few avenues to get this information.

According to a baseline survey report, radio listener ship in the community is very high. In this context, Community Radio has filled in a big void, since it deals with issues that matter directly to the local community.

Kumaon Vani is currently broadcasting four hours of programmes every day from 8 AM to 12 PM. This is repeated once during the day. This includes a mix of formats- live discussions in the studio, phone-interviews with experts, voices of farmers from the grassroots, live reports from the field, quiz, drama, and folk songs etc.

Live Broadcasting in progress
Live Broadcasting in progress
The radio station broadcasts content that is relevant to the local audience and is often overlooked by the commercial media. Based on the feedback received from the community, the key areas of programming include:

  • Sustainable agricultural practices
  • Practical solutions related to crops, seeds, fertilizers etc
  • Programmes on improved variety of seeds and other agri-inputs
  • Welfare schemes under agriculture and horticulture
  • Effective delivery of government welfare schemes.

In the last three years, Kumaon Vani has established a strong engagement with the local community by giving them a forum to share and discuss common issues that concern their lives and livelihoods.

On an average, the radio station receives 80 phone calls/week, 250 sms/week, and around 15-20 letters by post. This allows for direct feedback on the programmes broadcast on the station, and also suggestions and queries on specific topics that listeners want to be addressed.

The main objectives of Kumaon Vani community radio station are:
  • Help farmers improve their livelihoods by providing them relevant information and knowledge.
  • Focus on sustainable agriculture, forestry and biodiversity, delivery of government welfare programmes, and accountability in local governance.
  • Spread awareness on health, education, water, and sanitation.
Reporter in the field
Reporter in the field
Villager listening to Kumaon Vani
Villager listening to Kumaon Vani radio
Kumaon Vani Video
Kumaon Vani community radio film

Posted on: 12 March 2010  |   Updated on: 17 September 2013