AS the medium of mass communication, radio is always fascinating and has its hold on people even in the face of stiff competition from other mass communication channels, such as television. Though radio is largely a commercial broadcasting service across the country, community radios still hold their forte in rural India. The importance of community radio has been predominantly felt during the Covid-19 pandemic when radio networks have played a crucial role in disseminating credible information about the deadly virus.
In fact, for millions of rural India radio is the only window to the outside world, and naturally community radio stations have emerged as a vital channel, especially during the last two years when the country went into frequent lockdowns. Reportedly, until the end 2021, India had little over 300 community radio stations, which is a significant increase compared to previous years, and reflected a rising trend that had developed over the past decade.
These community radios are well managed, controlled, and owned by the communities they serve. For those who may not know, when Kerala got India’s first Covid-19 case, community radios were first pressed into action across rural areas in the State to broadcast vital messages about the pandemic and its related programmes for more than seven hours every day.
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