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A Vibrant Festival of Beautiful Voices – “The Radio Festival”

Smart NGO is celebrating the voice of sound

Anis R Khan

Delhi: For the last 5 years, SMART, a Delhi based NGO, has been organizing an annual festival on the occasion of World Radio Day (13th February) to celebrate sound and radio. It is a unique initiative that invites audio enthusiasts, community, private and public broadcasters, and podcasters to engage in conversations, discussions, and experience entertaining performances. On this occasion, SMART also offers a unique fellowship, open to community reporters and community broadcasters. The purpose of this fellowship is to build the capacities of community radio practitioners for innovative programming on Sustainable Development Goals. This is the reason that youth, college students, RJs- not just partner community radio stations but also commercial radio stations and their RJs- eagerly wait for this day.
Mrs. Archana Kapoor, the organizer of the radio festival, says cheerfully – “When I first organized the radio festival and I told my friends the idea of starting it, they had many concerns on why only radio? Why not audio? Why not a podcast? How will radio get public support? The youth will not join it. These were some of the concerns that arose. But I was confident that the first wireless medium should definitely be celebrated as a festival. When it began, people from all over the country started joining. This festival started for the first time in 2018 with the support of UNESCO and the trust of my friends. This festival encourages free discussion, positive debate, and new ideas. This is the place where we discuss the issues facing the country and the nation and also meditate on the challenges. It needs to beautify and reinvent the traditional medium of broadcasting with new technology. Radio is still used in homes, villages, people on the move, farms, brick kilns, factories, and the most popular medium for working people.”
At The Radio Festival, UNESCO Director Eric Falt stressed the importance of radio, saying, “With such a wide reach, radio today has a responsibility to ensure equal representation from all sections of society.” In another program, the future of this medium was also discussed. Radio FM director Nisha Narayanan said, “I think you need to keep pace with the times. If you are making good content, people will definitely listen to you. Radio has been alive for 90 years.”
Unlike any other medium of mass media, radio reflects the diversity and pluralism of our country. About 372 community radio stations along with 500 private commercial radio stations and more than 400 all India radio stations broadcast their programs in different languages and dialects. According to a report released by Indian market research firm Nielsen, it is the second most accessible media platform in social networking. It is second only to television. Radio is the most effective advertising medium among 26- to 45-year-olds and the most trusted medium overall, according to the report.
The Radio Festival, which has been organized with enthusiasm for the last few years, will be having its 6th edition this year. It has a mix of voices from across the country and even from abroad. Renowned radio RJs, top podcasters, seasoned programmers, talented musicians, community radio operators, poets, journalists, educationists, university and college students, and teachers from across the country will be participating in this year as well.