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The 7th Edition of The Radio Festival (TRF) was held on February 13, 2024, at the India International Centre, New Delhi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Prasar Bharati, UNESCO and SMART.

Launch of the CEMCA Climate Literacy for Community Media & a Picture Postcard book on Community Radios

Celebrating the theme ‘100 Years on Air: Keep it Loud‘ and 20 years of Community Radios in India, the three tiers of India’s radio broadcasting industry collectively highlighted radios remarkable past, its relevant present, and the promise of its dynamic future.

The day started with a melodic and lively performance by ARSD College’s Music Society, ‘Saarang‘. The 7th Edition was formally launched at the Inaugural session by the Secretary of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Mr Sanjay Jaju, Additional Secretary MIB Ms Neerja Sekhar, Principal Director General of All India Radio Ms Vasudha Gupta, Director of UNESCO New Delhi Regional Office Mr Timothy Curtis, Director of CEMCA Dr B Shadrach and Founder of TRF Ms Archana Kapoor.

Delivering the Keynote Address, Mr Jaju spoke about the pivotal role being played by community radios as a medium of communication at the grassroots. “In my experience at the government ministry, it is the programs that incorporate the feedback from the ground that have the most impact, and I believe that community radios have played a huge role in this regard,” he said.

Ms Sekhar emphasised the impact of linguistic diversity in her address. “It intrigues everybody on the kind of expanse and diversity of the Indian nation, in terms of languages. In 2024, we completed 100 years of radio in India, and I congratulate you all on this long journey. Wherever knowledge has been imparted, people have prospered through their mother tongue, and that is the significance of media and language.”

Radio is the least expensive and most accessible medium of communication. It continues to play a key role and shares a democratic value,” said the Director of UNESCO New Delhi Regional Office Mr Curtis.

Archana Kapoor, Founder of TRF, noted, “Radio has the unique ability to forge connections and foster a sense of community among its listeners. Whether its through interactive talk shows, dedicated music programs, or live coverage of local events, radio brings people together, uniting them in a shared experience of unity, diversity, culture and heritage.”

The were multiple panels discussing this amazing journey of radio over the century, its impact on life, love, and people, the role of women in radio, the evolution of language and expression, and the celebration of plurality in radio. Celebrated names from All India Radio (AIR), commercial private radios, and community radios emphasised the importance of local languages and dialects in fostering communication with the audience. They relived the rich history and diversity of the medium. The event witnessed a footfall of over 300 people in a melee of thought-provoking panels, discussions, deliberations, and breathtaking performances.

Speaking about the rich history of Radio in the panel ‘The Journey of Radio‘, former radio journalist of BBC Hindi Mr Madhuker Upadhyay said, “Radio is the lone torchbearer of this country; this country speaks, listens and understands radio.”

Speaking on the panel ‘100 Years on Air: A Gendered Perspective‘, Ms Nisha Narayanan – the Director & COO of RED FM & Magic FM, said, “My inclination is always to find female talent because since she has always been burdened to prove herself to the world. When provided with the right opportunity, they put all their force into performing the best.”

Speaking at the same panel Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of BW Businessworld Group & Founder of Exchange4Media Group said, “We should not look at radio as a gendered affair. Radio holds a very essential place in advocacy and awareness related to important women-related issues.”

Celebrated theatre personalities Mr Salim Arif and Ms Rama Pandey, veterans of radio Ms Ritu Rajput and Ms Suchitra Gupta and literary critic Ms Rakhshanda Jalil enthralled the audience by displaying their mastery over language in the panel, ‘Casting A Spell with Words’. Ms Rama Pandey, Radio Journalist, Producer & Director, said, “Words can bring people together and make relationships and radio facilitates this interplay.”

Ms Ritu Rajput, Former Head of Programming at AIR, said “Radio has the power of touching hearts with the words that speak to the soul and minds of humans. “

The session ‘Diversity of Sound’ showcased the rich plurality of Indian culture with popular RJs from Kashmir, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Delhi taking to the stage. RJ Nasir from Kashmir said, “It is important to evolve with the changing tastes in music, dialogue and conversations. Being up-to-date with the trends and topics always helps to connect with the target audience more naturally.”

RJ Vijdan from Radio Mirchi, Kashmir orchestrated an engaging JAM (Just A Minute) session with Community Radios and closed the day on a captivating note. The atmosphere buzzed with animated discussions and delightful interactions and paved the way for a delightful yet meaningful end. The Radio Festival is an unparalleled platform that honours audio, embracing all its diverse forms and manifestations.

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