| 29 Mar 2023
Nitin Makasare: 'Aamir Khan is on the Advisory Board of Jago Mumbai'

The Mumbai based Community Radio 90.8 FM Jago Mumbai celebrated its first anniversary on 1st May  Determined towards delivering the most pertinent and inimitable content for a CRS, Nitin Makasare, Station Head- Creative and Programming shares the progress, challenges and aims of 90.8 FM Jago Mumbai with Poonam Ahuja. Excerpts:

90.8 FM Jago Mumbai completed its first year on Maharashtra day. So how were the celebrations?

The celebrations were amazing as we had Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, who graced the occasion with us. He spent nearly an hour with us and expressed his desire to support and be more actively involved in Jago Mumbai. It was wonderful to have Aamir Khan on the first anniversary of Jago Mumbai.

How actively is Aamir involved and which other celebrities are associated with Jago Mumbai?

Aamir is on the Advisory Board of Jago Mumbai. We approached Aamir last year and he believed in our project and willingly helped us. Not only did he back us with financial assistance, but Aamir stood as a great moral support and a pillar of strength by believing in our content strategy when we were actually at an infant stage.

Along with Aamir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Priya Dutt, Anil Rao are also on the Advisory Board. All of them have contributed to Jago Mumbai in every way possible, be it in terms of people, visibility, networking, funds etc. They have been a great support and have helped in overcoming all major challenges which are faced by CRS.

Tell us about 90.8 FM Jago Mumbai?

We are an NGO based, Union Park Residents Association Community Radio in Mumbai. The Jago Mumbai Radio Project successfully tested its broadcast signals on Maharashtra Day, May 1, 2010. Jago Mumbai Radio showcases local, home-grown community talent and features new sounds and fresh music. We work integrally with the BMC in water harvesting, Garabage disoposal and solar power etc.

Phase I of the project would not have possible without the incredible work of UPRA's 11 member Managing Committee, its six member Projects Committee and our amazing group of dedicated volunteers.

For how many hours is Jago Mumbai on air?

Twelve hours every day, i.e. from 8am to 8pm.

What kind of content is played on Jago Mumbai?

The programming of Jago Mumbai is versatile as we cater to all age groups including children, teenagers, house-wives, common man and senior citizens.

The programming of our station is wide spread with twelve shows, each with a time span of one hour. The show �Jago Mumbai' talks about the happening issues in Mumbai, �Campus Connect' features cultures, problems, festivals, challenges, issues of college students, �City Speak' features individuals or organizations who are trying to do anything positive for the city and �Ek Sitara' features Bollywood legends with their journey.

Unlike other Radio stations we also have a show called �Jago Mumbai Classics' which is based on English songs from the 50's. Shows like Umang, Home Minister, 60+ are targeted towards senior citizens, house wives and teenage girls who come from outside Mumbai and try to make a living.

Content is the USP of our station. It is unlike the Bakwaas that you here on other FM circuit. We have substantive stuff but we package it in such a manner that it becomes interesting. We also have a music policy where we play 70% of local music by independent artist while the rest 30% is the popular film music. We provide new and local artist a platform to showcase their talent.

Tell us something about your recently launched show Jago Mumbai Desi Trax?

Jago Mumbai Desi Trax, hosted by RJ Nimeet Shah and Peter Abraham gives a platform to existing independent bands and home grown artist. It is a first of a kind initiative and the show covers interviews, concerts,  and  challenges of independent artists. The show started last week and is in its initial stage, we are planning to partner music organization to promote independent artist.

How do you get revenues for your station?

The visibility factor of Community Radio stations in India is very low. Being in Mumbai we have these challenges but in the last one year we have observed that people who have been associated with us are pretty convinced with our work. There are a couple of advertisers, and soon with increased visibility we expect more to come our way. In the years to come the challenge to sustain will become easier though it will always stay.

How many Radio Jockeys does Jago Mumbai have?

We have approximately 15-20 Radio Jockeys  They are volunteers, students from Xaviers, Andrews, National College along with House Wives and senior citizens hosting the shows.

Are you extending your on air presence on the internet?

We are on Facebook but we plan to have online streaming to reach out world wide. No commercial FM station streams online. As CRS are limited in the area of reach we intend to use internet to reach the world.

What are the challenges of CR in India?

The first challenge is visibility, but I believe that it will increase soon. We plan to work with a lot of corporate NGO's and at present we are working with NGO's like Yuva Parivaratan, Holy Family Hospital community center called Navjeet and also with a number of BMC schools.

In India commercial FM stations came in first and then were the CRS introduced. It is a new phenomenon and the government is trying its best to promote it. For us the biggest challenge is that we are in a city which has a very low power transmitter (50 watt). CRS have a low powered transmitter of 50 W and in a dense city like Mumbai with high rises it becomes difficult to penetrate. Whereas in rural places the CR is suppose to reach only in 10 KM radius and they end up going 40 KM.

Are there plans for acquiring more licenses?

As per the government we are allowed only one license per organization, but if we get an opportunity we may come up with a CR in South Mumbai.

What are your aims for the coming year?

We want to go live broadcasting and make Jago Mumbai a dual platform where communities will not only listen but also participate. We desire to do a three-four month campaign with people from slum areas and try to empower and improve their lives by featuring their talent, music, festivals, issues live. Though it may sound raw but it will give the feeling that this community radio station is ours. Other than visibility for funds, Internet streaming would be another thing that we would focus on.

How will the DAVP involvement help CR?

DAVP is a support system for CR. The government is not sponsoring CRS, so we rather look at it as an additional support system. CR is still at its initial stage and in the years to come we will have much better rates.

To conclude, list the major achievements of Jago Mumbai in the last year?

Going on air for 12 hours, Getting content, keeping people entertained and involved are few of the major challenges that we have over come. Jago Mumbai has managed to get consistent volunteers like IT professionals, journalist, doctors. Not to forget, the parent body UPRA which is able to translate the work in other parts of the area. We believe that our biggest achievement is that we are able to empower people.