RadioandMusic
| 22 Sep 2017
editorial
Gram Vaani devises economical solutions for CRs

MUMBAI: Gram Vaani, an initiative to empower community radios by developing low cost technological tools, has formulated an enhanced radio automation system. The automation system called, GRINS, standing for the Gramin Radio Inter Networking System is available for download on Gram Vaani's website, www.gramvaani.org.

GRINS allows radio station operators to schedule broadcasts, preview programs, record live transmissions, and maintain an extensive semantically searchable library. Archiving of content has been posing as a problem for community radio stations would be resolved by adoption of the GRINS technology.

Financial stability being the key issue for sustainability for community radio stations, GRINS also provides revenue streams. Elaborates Gram Vaani founder Aaditeshwar Seth, With telephony support for community radio stations, the callers can record a 30 sec advertisement which can be aired and the revenues can flow at a local level. Apart from that, a list of CRs in India would be listed on Gram Vaani's website and probable advertisers wanting to reach the grass roots can advertise on the community radio they wish to target....

Seth believes using GRINS would significantly reduce the cost of setting up community radio stations. He explains, The community radio have to face economic constraints and cannot afford to splurge on audio hardware, GRINS is appropriate for them as most processing is software based and it eliminates the need of buying expensive audio hardware....

The USP of GRINS is it is user friendly and easy for radio operators who are new to computerized systems. As our technology is targeted towards the rural areas, we made it user friendly with use of easy to memorize icons and would be introducing changes in the interface to keep it simple....

One of the main challenges of community radio is detecting faults and restoring it. GRINS has a diagnostic feature which can detect any network faults, audio cable errors or poor audio quality through Digital Signal Processing (DSP). The diagnostic feature will guide the operators on how to fix the problem locally and reduce the down-time of the system so that remote rural stations do not have to wait for a technician to fix small problems....

Service oriented design: All functionality provided by GRINS is handled by different services, such as the Audio Service for playout, Archiver Service for recording, Library Service for storage, etc. Each of these services can be run either on a single machine, or off multiple machines. This makes the deployment of GRINS extremely flexible to be able to fit into any kind of a radio station setup.

GRINS allows third party developers to build their own radio applications using the various underlying services that it provides. The community radio stations can build specific applications for the broadcast of educational programs or health programs, that allows quick search and playback features for the respective topics. Gram Vaani believes that once GRINS begins to support the telephone, video, and Internet planes, these applications can even be multiplanar in nature.

Having achieved this, GRINS will be further enhanced to handle telephony calls, sending and receiving SMS messages and Internet connectivity to share and stream content with other GRINS deployments.

Maara- the organisation providing training and technical support for setting up community radio would be guiding the CRS with the process of installation. Orchha based Radio Bundelkhand and community radio by The Energy Research Institute of India (TERI) would be the first ones to adopt this technology.

The download and installation instructions about GRINS are available on http://gramvaani.org/docs.

Gram Vaani is the brainchild of a team of four members- Aaditeshwar Seth, Parminder Singh, Mayank Shivam, Balachandran Chandrashekaran, Zahir Koradia, The founders of Gram Vaani received funding from Florida based Knight Foundation for the Gram Vaani project. Gram-Vaani was one of the 16 winners in the Knight News Challenge for 2008 and received grants to initiate the project to the next level.