The Radio Festival brings 'A New Story' of sound in its 4th edition
The festival brings together all three tiers of radio broadcasting in India, public, private and community radio, along with podcasters and others invested in the audio space
The 4th Edition of The Radio Festival (TRF) was held on February 13, 2021 at the India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi. Organized in partnership with UNESCO and AIR, TRF is a first-of-its-kind festival that brings together all three tiers of radio broadcasting in India – public, private and community radio – along with podcasters and others invested in the audio space.
As in the past, the 4th edition’s theme ‘TRF 2021: A New Story’ was in consonance with that of World Radio Day: ‘New World, New Radio – Evolution, Innovation, Connection’.
In view of the pandemic, TRF reinvented itself to a hybrid affair. For everyone’s safety, the physical event was hosted for a curated audience on February 13, 2021 and some pre-recorded online sessions went live on the same day on the radio festival’s website.
The festivities kicked-off with a soulful performance by a group of Merasis, the traditional folk singers from Mewat, Haryana. This was followed by the Inaugural Session, during which TRF 2021 was officially launched by an esteemed panel of dignitaries, consisting of CEO, Prasar Bharati Shashi Shekhar Vempati, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Neerja Shekhar, Director-UNESCO, New Delhi Eric Falt, Director of CEMCA Prof Madhu Parhar and the Founder-Director of The Radio Festival Archana Kapoor.
Vempati declared the festival open with his opening remarks on the need for digitization of data & information, the role of radios in the dissemination of correct & useful knowledge and shared the possibilities of imparting skills through community radio, during a global health crisis. The handbook on “Best Practices of Community Radio and Sustainable Development Goals” prepared by CEMCA, with support from UNESCO, New Delhi, was also launched on this occasion.
The day was lined up with exciting sessions featuring the biggest names from the world of radio. The first panel on ‘Tuning into the Tiers: Small Towns Beckon’ registered the presence of programming heads from AIR, Red FM, Radio Mirchi, Fever FM and FM Tadka. Moderated by Chairman & Editor-in-Chief BW Businessworld Dr Annurag Batra, the panel discussed the evolution of content as radio forays its way into smaller towns. While the panel emphasized the importance of the medium, they also spoke of how in this digital age, content is no longer bound by one medium. Content is king, and the consumer will follow good content everywhere - is what all the panelists agreed on.
The second panel, titled ‘Mainstreaming the Marginalised: The Covid-19 Story’ was dedicated to the role played by Community Radio Stations in highlighting the accounts of those left on the fringe of society. The young RJs from Radio Aawaj, Dahod and Radio Mayur, Chhapra enthralled the audience with their rap performances and were a highlight of the day.
RJs Khurafati Nitin from BIG FM, Swati from Red FM, Stutee from Fever FM and Divya from Red FM had the audience enamoured as they narrated their experience of programming in the pandemic in the session ‘Connecting for Change: The Covid-19 Responsibilities’. Their anecdotes of carrying on and spreading hope in the face of the pandemic, while dealing with their personal difficulties, were narrated by them in their quintessential style and struck a chord with everyone present.
The next panel on ‘SDGs: Reworking the Communication Strategies’ discussed the rise in inequalities during the pandemic and stressed the importance of communication & collaboration within communities and the urgent need for providing easier online education resources. Moderated by Dr Kulveen Trehan (Senior Faculty, GGSIPU), the all-female panel comprised of Country Programme Manager, UN Women Dr Kanta Singh, Director of CEMCA Prof Madhu Parhar, MD of Sesame India Sonali Khan, Environment Education Consultant of UNEP Gayathri Raghwa and author of The SDG Toolkit for Community Radios Archana Kapoor. Panelists revealed how work from home led to a pause in community work but every media - community radios, TV & digital were used to focus on the socio-emotional health of children.
The day finished on a high note as Sanjay Rajoura of Aisi Taisi Democracy moderated the panel ‘Being Funny During The Pandemic’. RJs Kisna from Red FM, Vidit from Radio Mirchi, Peeyush from Radio Nasha, Rahul Chawla from Tadka and Manoj Mainkar from All India Radio stressed on the importance of humor in these unprecedented times and how finding hilarity in everyday situations kept them going during the pandemic.
While the one-day event concluded on the 13th, the TRF team is consistently rolling out various sessions online, to keep the celebration of sound on.
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