HYDERABAD: Students of the Department of Communication at the University of Hyderabad are an excited lot. A long-promised dream of making their voices heard over the airwaves will come true, when Bol Hyderabad 90.4 FM goes live on Monday.
Bol Hyderabad is not just any campus radio. It is the first community radio in the city to involve not only students but also people in a 15-km radius around the university. Apart from acting as a training ground for students of MA Communication in the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, the channel will give a chance to volunteers from the locality to air shows. “The radio will reach a 15-km radius around the university. It can reach up to Tolichowki on one side, BHEL at the Lingampally side, villages of Nallagantla and Gopanpally on another side and even Hi-tec City. This area has a diverse community ranging from IT professionals and bankers to students and villagers. We hope the community radio will air equally diverse programmes,” says Prof Vinod Pavarala, dean of SN School and president of the Community Radio Forum of India.
But it is students who are brimming with ideas and busy working on them. “We have formed a radio theatre group for a show on the lines of Hawa Mahal in Vividh Bharti. We will take original scripts as well as adapt stories of great writers like RK Narayan and O Henry,” says Hruday Ranjan, a second-year student of MA Communication. His classmate Apurva Ayyagari says, “We have already created an archive with story reading shows for children, health shows and such.”
There is room for mainstream entertainment as well. “We have planned for shows with humour and spoofs. We will also be airing songs, both classical and Bollywood. We want to provide infotainment to listeners,” says Ranjan.
As of now, the department plans to air shows in three time slots every day. “The morning slot of 7.30 a.m. to 9 a.m will have a show on German lessons, traffic and weather updates. The afternoon shift from 1 p.m to 3 p.m will have shows targeted at homemakers and the evening slot from 5 p.m to 9 p.m will be dedicated to full-on entertainment,” says Vasuki Belavadi, associate professor at the department.
More ideas like programmes on civic issues in the surrounding localities, chat shows with local corporators, phone-in programmes, music shows by Hyderabadi bands, a tech show by IT professionals are all in the pipeline. “Bol Hyderabad is an invitation for people to come and speak out. Everybody from within the frequency area is welcome,” he adds with a smile. However, some programmes are not welcome. “Community radio guidelines prohibit airing of any kind of politics and news. There is a debate about why politics cannot be included but until the rules are amended, we will have to stay away from it,” says Belavadi.
For students, it is a chance to practice what they have learnt in theory and for the faculty, it is a realisation of their long-standing efforts. There are some obvious glitches just like any new venture, the main one being running of the programmes when students are on vacation. But the department hopes once it begins airing, the radio will attract more volunteers from outside the campus. For now, students are more than happy to chip in with ideas and work towards making Bol Hyderabad the next big thing to hit the airwaves.