Mussoorie-based Arjun Kaintura got hitched on to community radio (CR) in 2009 upon joining Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary School (GNFCS). “They had the license to run Radio Khushi 90.4. Around this time, I heard of PPC’s founder Saritha Thomas and met her a couple of times at radio conferences. PPC’s incubation and radio training work with Mandakini Ki Awaaz in Rudraprayag was an example of their success story.”
For Arjun and his wife Nupur Karanwal Kaintura, a radio professional and a voiceover artist for commercial radio jingles, interest in this third form of radio media goes back to 2004. The entrepreneurial couple set up Navya Narayani (NN) in Dehradun, an agency which was buying time slots from All India Radio and other commercial radio stations like AIR Pauri, AIR Nazibabad, AIR Almora, AIR FM Ranbow, Radio Mirchi, BIG FM, RED FM and selling programs to them. Simultaneously, NN is also training batches of 10-12 girls and boys as radio announcers, radio editors, script writers and voiceover artists during three-month sessions. In addition, it also handles advertising for Radio Khushi and other radio stations.
Back to Radio Khushi, Arjun details, “it has two 50-watt transmitters which give the radio stations a range of 15 km ‘as the plane flies’. Being in higher altitudes has advantages as it allows us to cover greater area. As of now, Khushi has, in its range, 4-5 lakh listeners between Mussoorie, Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Roorkee, Saharanpur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Tehri, Pauri, Narendra Nagar and Ponta Sahib.”
One of Radio Khushi’s most popular program is ‘Hello Doctor’ – a health related show with medical practitioners from Dehradun. Others like ‘Socho Dil Se’ spreads awareness on varied health issues and promotes women empowerment while supporting NGOs like ‘Samadhaan’ and ‘Empowering People’. ‘Awaaz Do Apne Dil Ko’ is a series with a legal advisor discussing social Issues like ‘RTI (Right to Information), RTE (Right to Education), Gharelu Hinsa, Consumer Protection and Traffic Rules.
Arjun is pleased that the Uttarakhand Government has recognised the importance of CRs in spreading messages to far reaching communities, especially during CoVid and natural disasters like Kedarnath floods. As is the case with most CRs, Radio Khushi also faces funding issues with limited earnings through advertising or paid campaigns.
“Future plans include continuing working as we have been doing for the past 14 years – captivating hearts of our listeners. Further, the tenet Radio Khushi operates upon states ‘Finding Facts First Before Delivering Any Information’. This advocates social activism in every individual through Khushi’s heart-core connective Infotainment, which in turn motivates self-introspection towards each one’s responsibility towards the society,” concludes Arjun.
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With Amita Sarwal
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