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Tue, 23 Jul 2019

Northeast Today

Radio: World’s Oldest Modern Media Shall Never Die

Radio: World’s Oldest Modern Media Shall Never Die
May 04
12:21 2018

Kishore Talukdar

Is Radio a conservative gizmo? The current generation deems radio a fuddy-duddy down market and not so cool electronic gadget while for them television and new media are the future media. But they never comprehend that radio is the oldest media and today almost all the electromagnetic gadgets run with the help of radio waves.

People use several household electromagnetic gadgets ranging from radio, television broadcasts, microwaves, cordless phones and remote control toys. All these apparatus work with the help of radio waves. And radio waves also help transmit music, speech, picture and other data – invisibly through the air.

With the rejuvenation of technology, radio is making a comeback today. According to industry experts as well as analysts, there are as many as 250-300 million radio users throughout the globe. And records reveal that nearly 75% Americans take radio news on their wheels every day. While amongst all the available means of communication, radio has the maximum reach in India compared to most developing countries.

India has 245 commercial radio stations spread across 50 odd cities out of a total of 1600 cities and towns in the country today. Of which, around 70% of Indian population lives in rural villages where there is no access to Internet, electricity or telephone lines as such radio is the only feasible medium for mass communication. Today a mere 179 community-run radio stations are functional in India which is far short of the 4000 stations the government had promised would be set up in 2007.

Radio has been used in different formats for the educational purpose the world around. Attempts were started globally in the early 1970s to apply major developments in applied learning theory, particularly active learning methods, to educational radio for schools, leading to the development of Interactive Radio Instruction.

All India Radio – renamed in the year 1936 from Indian Broadcasting Service is putting out school broadcast programmes from 73 stations in different languages as per the area where the stations are situated. The duration of each programme varies from 15 to 30 minutes having 20 minutes per day in most of the cases.

There are two main ways of doing radio transmission – amplitude modulation (AM) used for long and medium wave broadcasts and the frequency modulation (FM) used for VHF (Very High Frequency) broadcasts. Modulations are the process by which the information to be transmitted is impressed on the radio wave, which serves as a carrier. In AM the strength or intensity of the radio frequency carrier is varied in accordance with the information, while in FM the frequency of the carrier is varied instead of its amplitude.

FM broadcasting is being increasingly adopted as it provides listeners with high-quality signals free from interference these days. FM radio stations are one of the most popular entertainment mediums offering millions of Indians a great mix of shows. Records also reveal that most of the radio listeners in India are from rural areas. And around, 97% of Indian population can access radio stations.

The first civil society run FM community Radio in the North-east is “Radio Brahmaputra” – was set up to endeavour to make programmes for different age groups. The grassroots and civil society led community Radio Station was supported by UNICEF while the Wireless Operating License was obtained from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on July 10, 2015.

Radio Brahmaputra is covering nearly 180 mainland villages, 12 island villages and 31 tea garden and subdivisions including Dibrugarh municipality area. Radio Brahmaputra is currently broadcasting 10 hours daily programme in many languages and dialects (Assamese, Chadri (tea garden community dialect), Bhojpuri, Mishing and Bodo) covering the most marginalized communities of the districts of Dibrugarh, Dhemaji and partly Lakhimpur.

Local radio stations have also been set up in different regions of the country. The thrust of the programmes was to be on indigenous folk formats and the participation of the local people.

The first experiment in local/community radio with FM facilities was conducted in Nagercoil and the experiment was launched on October 30, 1984. Several NGOs use local radio to further their development activities. Chetana (Calcutta) and Ravi Bharati (Patna), for instance, record their programmes on adult education, in the field, using local talents.

Radio plays a pivotal role not only in the civilian’s life but also in the soldier’s lives. Indian Organized Olive Uniform personnel who are posted in the Mc-Mohan lines to safeguard India’s Security, unable to access the Internet due to either hazardous communication bottleneck also due to no access to electricity. Consequently, they are fully dependent on the old media which is operated mostly on dry cells. Indian soldiers time and again have to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the country when the war sparkles between Anti-nationals who try to sneak into the Indian Territory to destabilize country’s security.

Robert Browning in his famed poem “Incident of the French Camp” described the heroic efforts of a young French soldier whose breast was shot into two pieces when French Army attacked the German city Ratisbon. Despite his serious nature of the injury, the soldier came galloping to pass the message of victory to Napoleon who was eagerly waiting on a tiny mound. The young soldier conveyed the cheerful victory news to his Emperor and fell to the ground. When Napoleon asked “you are wounded,” the young soldier said “nay sire but I am dead” and the young spirited soldier fell dead smiling.

The young French soldier died when war sparkled in the German city Ratisbon, but old media don’t die in the war. Else, United States Navy would not have used radio facility to prevent its possible use by enemy spies when the United States entered the First World Was in the year 1917.

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