Radio Madhuban 90.4 FM is India’s first ‘value-based’ community radio station run since 2011, by the Brahma Kumaris, an 81 years old organization in Abu Road, Rajasthan, India. It is located in a tribal-dominated area where access to essential information in local language and dialect is difficult. Bridging that information and communication gap, Radio Madhuban makes programme content in the local language for the development of the local community. While it focuses on issues like education, sustainable development, women and youth empowerment, since March 2020, it has focused on and been instrumental in serving the local community in the fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
It has so far played a constructive role, as a friend, to spread awareness about Covid-19, to sensitise the local community about the new norms and support them through community engagement. With a view to disseminate the awareness messages issued by the district administration, state and central governments, Radio Madhuban has centred all its programming on Covid-19. Its programmes aim at informing the community about Covid-19, keeping children and young people busy during lockdown period, coordinating information between the community and the administration to avoid inconvenience, and helping the community to cope with mental issues and emotional fatigue caused by the lockdown.
Radio Madhuban’s primary efforts have been to ensure that the local community get essential information that would assist them in keeping the threat of Covid-19 at bay. One of its popular programmes in this context is the “Administration with you.” The Sirohi district administration led by the District Collector Mr. BS Kalalji records the necessary precautions, available facilities, and the contact number issued by the administration in case of emergencies. These are sent out to Radio Madhuban who broadcast these messages at regular intervals through this programme.
Moreover, through WhatsApp, Radio Madhuban accesses daily and hourly announcements from the District Collector’s office and broadcasts them several times in a day. It has also done special programmes on sensitising people to make effective use of “Aarogya Setu” app to check the developments of Covid-19 situation in and around them.
Realising the importance of folk culture in Marwari society, R.J. Usha has been producing and broadcasting folk songs on Covid-19 in Marwari language. This helps to share crucial messages and information in a more engaging and entertaining format. Similarly, RJ Aarushi has been sensitising young people by doing rap songs on Covid-19. In these somewhat challenging times, Radio Madhuban’s creative efforts are commendable and stand out as a beacon of light in the fight against Covid-19.
With inputs from Team Radio Madhuban:
Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad