Established in 2008 as one of the first community radios in the country and managed by a team of Dalit women, 'Sangham Radio' has carved a place in the lives of nearly 10,000 listeners spread over 100 villages in the region.
"This is a radio owned, managed and operated by women from the margins of the society who have been excluded and rendered voiceless in any public forum," says P V Satheesh,
Director, Deccan Development Society who runs the radio.
"Media has always treated the rural people in general and women from marginalised sections in particular as consumers of the media and never as its producers," he says
explaining the reason for setting up the venture.
Various sanghams or village level associations of the low income dalit women in the region felt that a radio of their own would provide more effectively a medium for
articulating locally relevant issues, in their own language, and in their own time.
Most, says Satheesh, felt that mainstream media was not giving importance to information specific to certain crops such as millets and other minor grains which are central to food security and dietary requirements of the region's people.
"The rich cultural traditions of Telangana could be better sustained through a radio station that caters specially to the needs of the region," says Satheesh.
A few years ago two young women, General Narsamma and Algole Narsamma, completed their Class X Board exams and along with a team of 15 other women set up a community radio and began broadcasting news and reports relevant to their community.
The team has been managing the radio ever since.
The radio's team of reporters collect stories related to agriculture, education, health issues, women's empowerment and local culture from neighbouring mandals such as Kohir, Nyalkal and Raikode.
General and Algole edit the stories and mix interviews and discussions with folk songs and drama to keep the listeners hooked on throughout the two hour broadcast daily from 7pm.
"People started realising that many solutions are available locally for their problems. Many understand the importance of organic agriculture, more over they feel they are not excluded in the media more over they develop a feeling of ownership of this Sagham radio," says General Narsamma.
New Delhi: The community radio, which is still in its infancy in India has turned out to be a boon for rural folk in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh especially Dalit women who operate and manage the medium.
First Published: Friday, April 16, 2010, 13:51