HYDERABAD: While people in the city have just started to contribute for a Swachh Telangana, set up in December 2009, community radio station Deccan Radio at 107.8 Mhz has been conducting similar activities for the past six years.
Located in Abids, the community radio station helmed by Zahed Farooqui has been encouraging people in and around the area to participate in station’s activities.
The frequency of the radio station that reaches a total radius of 15 km has active involvement of community members – women, youth and ASHA workers. It has also tied up with local NGOs.
Zahed has recently been elected as the joint secretary of Community Radio Association of India. Elated Zahed says, “I was elected unanimously. It feels great to be part of the national body that has 182 community radio stations in the country.”
The 32-year-old calls community radio an effective medium. “This is the only medium that involves people from the grassroots to represent themselves and their issues. It is a voice for the voiceless,” opines Zahed, whose role in the radio station is widely spread.
He conducts a live call-in show once a week. Apart from this, he also undertakes responsibility to train community members, design orientation programmes and conduct campaigns on behalf of the station in the community. “We conduct street cleaning campaigns, initiate health camps, inform people about the importance of health camps, conduct educational sessions for children and youngsters in their schools, conduct special programmes for women and also have entertainment programmes,” informs Zahed adding, “We get close to 40 calls every week in our dial-in shows. We also have experts come to the studio and interact with listeners.”
Zahed stresses, “Participation and contribution to the community radio is free of cost.” Having been in the field for more than five years, the community station manager has clear plans as a joint secretary. “We want to start Telangana and Andhra Chapters of community radio,” he says. He wants to conduct more exchange programmes for community radios across the country.