Sunday, August 07, 2005

Nila FM, the community radio run by students

Moon over the radio

Nila FM, the community radio run by students of Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College has hooked listeners. This `moon' shines daily from dawn to dusk. Radiating music and information over a 15 km radius, Nila (meaning moon) FM, the community radio station run by the students of the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College in Madagadipet near Pondicherry, has succeeded in capturing the ears of its listeners.
Though still on its test run, Nila FM 90.4MHz has already started producing programmes suitable for people living in the 34 surrounding villages, who constitute its listeners. The channel broadcasts programmes from morning to evening, during college hours and a little beyond that.
The first of its kind in Pondicherry Nila FM is expected to be launched officially by the end of this month. "This is a community radio, which has to be used for the benefit of the people in the nearby areas. Since most of them are involved in agricultural activities, we have a tie up with the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, which provides agri-based information to be broadcast for the benefit of the farmers," says Dhanasegaran, Managing Director of the college.
But there are programmes also for the youth, children, housewives and office-goers. The radio station gives information on the history of Pondicherry, local temples, education, health, traffic rules, environment, national events and personalities. Besides, doctors are invited to talk about various diseases and their treatments.
"In between songs, we give information snippets such as safe driving, the dangers of smoking, health tips and news headlines that would interest them," says Kesavan, the college chairman.
Community radio
According to VSK Venkatachalapathy, the Principal of the college, "Since it is a community radio that has been granted license by the Ministry of Welfare, we cannot make any commercial programmes and cannot broadcast daily news. The investment in the project is nearly Rs. 30 lakh but since it is beneficial for the students as well as the public, we are happy to be involved in it."
The students are excited about working in a radio station. Around 100 of them, who are with the NSS are involved in creating programme content. L. Sankari of Nettapakkam, who is doing her second year Information and Technology says that the people in her neighbourhood are hooked to Nila FM. "Actually they are asking for more transmission hours." Students from other colleges and schools are also encouraged to send in their contributions such as poetry, small jokes and essays on various topics. Students whose poetry or write ups are considered exceptional are invited to the studio and read it out to the listeners. The college has a tie up with Anna University, which makes programmes for its own community radio. The two stations exchange programmes. Nila's station manager, Sridhar who looks after the technical maintenance of the equipment and also doubles as the disc jockey, has been trained at the Anna University radio station.
The FM station is presently heard till the Thengaithittu petrol bunk and even in the neighbouring Villupuram district. But if the Ministry gives clearance, the transmission can be extended to more areas.
For details
Nila FM,
Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College
Pondicherry -
+91 - 0413 - 2641136