Pete Tridish, Low Power FM (LPFM) activist and founder of the Prometheus Radio Project in the US visited the UNESCO Chair on Community Media in mid-February, during his recent visit to India. The Chair team introduced him to their work on community media in India and the wider South Asian region, following which he visited Bol Hyderabad 90.4 FM, the campus community radio station located at the University of Hyderabad, and interacted with staff and students.
Tridish spent a day with doctoral researchers working in the area of community media, at the UNESCO Chair on Community Media and the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad. As part of a one-day workshop titled, ‘Community Media, Politics and Social Change: India and the US’, Tridish spoke at length about the history of radio broadcasting in the US and the LPFM movement that he led for over a decade. The technicalities of frequency and license allocation, activist lobbying and the process of law-making in the US, were among the things he shared with the Chair team and the doctoral researchers. Dr. Kanchan K. Malik and Prof. Vinod Pavarala gave a brief overview of the community radio scene in India, including its history, the policy, and emerging issues facing the sector. This was followed by individual presentations by the doctor researchers: Preeti Raghunath presented her research
work on policy-making for community radio across four countries of South Asia, namely, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; Arun John outlined his research project on construction of ‘community’ at two CR stations in South India; Vinesh Kondra shared his work on CGNetSwara and GramVaani, two mobile-based community media initiatives in central India; Taijrani Rampersaud spoke about her project on children and community video; and presentations were made on research on citizen journalism and community newspapers being carried out by Lauella Amy and Annapurna Sinha.
Tridish also visited Sangham Radio in Pastapur village of Medak district, Telangana. He interacted with the women community radio and video practitioners
at India’s first community radio station. Tridish’s visit was an enriching experience for the Chair team and inspirational for the doctoral researchers working on various aspects of community media.