There was a time when owing a radio was a big deal since it was the only source of news. Later, with the explosion of technology, consumers found the convenience of smartphone overshadowing the simple box with the antenna and tuners. But still, the radio would continue to stay relevant throughout the ages offering unending entertainment to the young and old alike. Now there are a bunch of radio stations in many cities. As colleges joined the bandwagon, the radio became an important source on campus happenings.
Running a campus radio is no mean feat, as it involves keeping a constant lookout on latest news, sports, music and the events happening in the college or university. Programming is often done by students and may include programmers from experienced fields to head the station. Bucthi Raju, a retired All India Radio jockey, currently works as the radio programming manager at Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology in Bachupally. “Our campus-based community radio, Pragnya 90.4 FM offers programmes ranging from campus stories, social initiatives, health tips, environmental awareness to special festival programmes,” says Raju.
The team of Pragnya focuses on content that is beneficial to individuals. For instance, they broadcasted a 70-episode programme, ‘Naa Telangana koti ratnala veena’ based on the syllabus of competitive exams where they discussed the past and present developments in the State. Among the other shows they broadcast are Muchatlu, Community connect, Manchimata which is hosted by the principal of the college. The students of the college are generally sent on the field to record reactions of people in the surroundings and cover college events.
The radio’s frequency ranges up to 10-12 km and can be accessed by the surrounding places, including schools and other colleges. Apart from students, the local community is also encouraged to participate and discuss various local issues. The college is now planning to introduce a three-month course for people who are interested in radio jockeying.
The University of Hyderabad (UoH) also has a similar radio which was established in 2011 by the Mass Communications Department. Soon after its launch, the channel Bol Hyderabad 90.4 FM created a buzz on campus with its live shows such as ‘Ulti’ evening, Jag Jag Hyderabad, pick up talks, ‘Thought in passing’, Shehar ke mashoor adde and Woh pal is pal.
A former mass communications student, Amoga Laxmi, an established RJ at the time, was a part of the campus radio. “The radio ranging 10-15 km features shows based on college happenings and events, social issues and general music. The purpose of the radio is to both educate and entertain students. Any student can be a part of the radio,” says Amoga Laxmi.
Interestingly, the frequency magnitude of Pragnya and Bol Hyderabad are same, so the colleges sorted out the timings so they don’t overlap each other. Gokaraju Rangaraju broadcasts four hours a day from 12 to 2 pm and 3 to 5 pm, while UoH broadcasts at 7:30 am for about three hours and from 5 to 9 pm.
Apart from the campus-based community radios in the city, some campus radios can be accessed through a website link anywhere. Francis Bol, the radio, started by St Francis College for Women is a web radio. “We started it for mass communications students so they can gain some experience. We also train the students on voice culture as part of that. Any student who is interested in RJing can join the radio station. They are encouraged to come up with their ideas, do interviews, and figure out songs. During fests, students do news coverage with guest interviews, record guest lectures and play it with voiceovers. It helps instill creativity and confidence,” says faculty member Clement Babu. Most of the shows are broadcast during breaks which don’t hinder regular classes. Students take care of the radio completely; a few take care of programming while others do hosting. Presently, the online radio has been stopped for a while, but the students are recording the shows and playing it on the campus. Well known RJ Ayushi of Fever 104 FM was a part of the campus radio of the college.