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Community Radio in India

Community Radio (CR) in India is in its infancy. The idea of allowing the people to own and run radio channels that broadcast content relevant to their own lives, has taken some time to gain acceptance in India. Radio has always been extremely tightly controlled in India, the monopoly resting with All India Radio. The first break from this monopoly was the start of Campus Radio stations, the first of which was set up in Anna University in Chennai in 2004.

It has taken another four years for the first Community Radio stations to start broadcasting. In 2007, after years of lobbying by CR activists, the Government of India finally decided to release thousands of licenses for educational institutions, NGOs, and registered community organizations across India. After a fairly lengthy process of application, screening, and paperwork, the first CR stations have begun broadcasting in India, in places as far apart as Orchcha in Madhya Pradesh, Kuchch in Gujarat, Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand, Gurgaon in Haryana and Medak district in Andhra Pradesh.

TRF applied for its CR license in late 2007. In July 2008, we received a formal Letter of Intent informing us that, pending complete paperwork, we had been cleared to receive a Wireless Operating License to start a Community Radio station in Gurgaon. Gurgaon Ki Awaaz Samudayik Radio Station started broadcasting on November 1, 2009 on 107.8 MHz FM.

The station has a footprint of approximately 15 kms originating from the broadcasting tower on top of TRF’s field office in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, Haryana. Within this footprint, fall hundreds of villages, many of which have practically disappeared inside industrial zones, urban estates and condominiums. The radio station encompasses offices and factories in Udyog Vihar, homes and apartments in the new and old colonies of Gurgaon, villages strung along both sides of NH-8, as well as those tucked inside, reached only by broken roads and narrow paths.


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