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News |  16 Jul 2012 17:09 |  By RnMTeam

First online community radio station launches in Pune

MUMBAI: While the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) is trying to develop community radio stations across the country, Pune University has taken a step ahead and launched city’s first online community radio station ‘Vidyavani’.

Launched in 2005, the station airs programmes related to health, education and seminars catering to students of 650 colleges affiliated with the university. The recently launched online station too will air same live educational and informative content from 7am-6pm. Special dignitary visits and guest lectures will be recorded and will be available live on-air and online for students across the globe.

Speaking about the initiative with, Pune University director of radio Anand Deshmukh said, “For our on-air station, the power of the transmitter was 50watts and the height was 300 feet which was affecting the broadcasting range. We wanted to reach out to a larger audience and were developing the equipment for an online station. We have now got a well-equipped server to run the online station and since the reach has increased, we are also looking at increasing the number of participants.”

Educational institutions today offer wide variety of programmes that cater to every day needs of students. Also with a number of community radio stations offering infotainment, students now look out for much more than just education on these shows. Vidyavani aims to not just educate but entertain students throughout its network.

The university officials also aim to earn profits and maximize reach by airing popular bollywood music and commercial advertisements on the station. Earlier, the infotainment quotient was provided by students, who played musical instruments and sang popular tracks on the live time band. But now, the committee formed by the radio station has submitted a request to I&B ministry to reduce the royalty rates set by them.

“Pune Vividh Bharati plays around 650 songs per day and they are charged royalty of Rs 5 per song per broadcast by the ministry. We as a community radio station cannot afford that and have requested the ministry to reduce the rates to about 50paise or Rs 1 per song per broadcast. They are considering it and we hope to receive a positive response from them,” he claims.

With around 22 community radio stations in Maharashtra already, the competition is all set to increase more as procurement of licenses is not much of a problem. An increase in community radio stations will in turn increase the kind of programmes being aired on the respective channels. Keeping the future in mind, Vidyavani has attained permission to air commercial advertisements on its network.

Deshmukh reveals, “The competition will increase soon with no problem in attaining the license now. This in turn will ensure  better quality of programmes being aired on the stations, benefitting the students who have access to it. The ministry has also given us permission to air commercial advertisements for five minutes but at lower rates of course. We have formed a committee and will compare the rate card of leading radio stations and then work out a nominal rate and approach companies.”