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News |  15 Dec 2012 14:22 |  By RnMTeam

CR Salaam Namaste recruits senior citizens as RJs; earns recognition for social initiative

MUMBAI: Helping the society through various initiatives, community radio stations have gone beyond the high spectrum fees and govt restrictions to make their mark in the space. Noida based station Salaam Namaste has taken social initiatives to next level with its unique programming.

The station initiated a special segment for senior citizens titled 'Second Innings Ko Salaam' touching the unheard, aloof part of the society. After conducting researches which revealed that there was an increase in old age homes and senior citizens in the area, the channel engaged them and used their backgrounds to educate other citizens.

Giving the senior citizens a new identity, officials from the station trained them to handle the console, mike, editing, mixing and more.

Currently boasting of a panel of over seven senior RJs, the show has been running successfully for over a year. It recently also won the Manthan award recognizing the best practices in e-content and creativity, for their unique and innovative programming out of 36 countries in the South Asia and Asia Pacific region.

Speaking with Radioandmusic.com, Salaam Namaste station head Barsha Chabaria said, "Community radio is challenging in its own way, to bring up and sustain it. But these award help in recognition and encourage us to do more.

We aim to touch the unheard, aloof part of society and cater to them.

Through the programme, we engaged the citizens in activities changing their belief that there is no life after 60."

The weekend programme airs on Sunday between 1-2pm and is hosted by senior RJs from the panel as per their availability. The show lays more focus on the jock talk with the RJs giving out specific tips from their background like cookery, career tips, craft ideas, societal values and more. On the other hand, the music comprises of a mix of retro Hindi classical tracks from bollywood, non-film segments and sometimes witnesses the jocks singing the tracks on the show themselves.

The shows are recorded every fortnight and are also made available online on the stations official website.

With community radio stations catering to a specific segment of society, the need and listenership along with the back-up of production is very important to sustain a station and earn audiences. Agreeing with the fact, Chabaria too charted out a plan and prepared accordingly for the show which now garners her around 50-60 per cent listenership. Salaam Namaste too boasts of a listenership of around 50,000 people, as per a recent research.

"It's very difficult for community radio stations to sustain themselves as you need to have a good production back-up and preparation. We too did a lot of planning and interacted with citizens to understand their need. But we proudly say that listenership is good with around 50,000 people," she stated.

Beginning on 15 January, 2009 the station is funded and managed by the Institute of Management Studies, Noida catering to the society in the area and has a catchment in Ghaziabad too. As most community radio stations strive to earn revenues through different means as they do not receive appropriate funding from the government and NGO's, Salaam Namaste too derives its revenues from sponsorships.

Chabaria affirmed, "We are different. We don't aim at profit earning. Though there are not many advertisements on the station, we get revenues through activations where various companies sponsor us for specific programmes. We have received sponsorships from companies like Lijjat Papad and MDH Masala amongst others."

The station also aims to take social initiatives a notch higher with its unique set of programmes. Apart from Second Innings Ko Salaam, the station also airs special programmes like 'Noida ke Saarthi' with the auto rickshaw drivers as hosts talking about the right meter fare, traffic and road directions amongst others.

Other such shows include 'Salaam School' for students, 'Dhoom Pichak Dhoom'

for kids aged between 3-4 who recite poems on the show, 'Career Express'

where experts give out tips to youngsters on different career options and 'Salaam Music' which features young bands who perform at college fests to play their music and talk about it.

Aiming to stay differentiated from the herd, the station trains all the jocks themselves inspite of the many challenges lying ahead. "Challenges are everywhere but I believe there are ways to come out of it too. The government can try to help us some more. They have tried but it's not enough," she concluded.