In order to adapt to the changes brought by COVID-19 pandemic in India, a number of measures have been taken. Private FM radio operators around India have prepared emergency home broadcasts – this includes major FM networks including Radio Mirchi, BIG FM, RED FM and MY FM. The Radio4India initiative has also come to fruition.
The Radio4India initiative has been conceived, created, and is now being executed under the aegis of the Association of Radio Operators for India by the Private FM Radio Broadcasters of India, and is essentially an official government and radio coordination system. The Private FM Radio Broadcasters partnered with the Central and State governments for the sole benefit of the public, and have traditionally contributed immensely through responsible messaging in management of natural – and man-made disasters.
Uday Chawla, Secretary General AROI said “The Radio4India initiative has been launched with the cooperation and active participation of all AROI member Radio networks. The coordination system between the government and the private Radi operators in India is fully functional, and has been set up to assist the public get authentic information on private radio networks.”
Media Brief write that Chawla also confirmed that the AROI member networks had opted to prepare for and set up their Broadcast From Home systems to ensure continuity of FM Radio broadcast. To the best of our knowledge and belief, there is no antecedent of similar broadcasting from home initiatives by FM Radio broadcasters anywhere else.
In order to maintain consistency across the Radio 4 India initiative, there are two programming officials from each private network, who interface for all their stations ensuring authentic content streams. The system works on a smooth flow of information sharing – the government shares updates, which Radio4India shares with the 2-member teams of all the private FM networks. Within this framework, AROI members are also fee to share any news which is of greater public benefit to their listeners.
Many broadcasters have set up systems to broadcast from home where announcers are presenting from their place of residence. As several housing societies and smaller cities have banned delivery of physical newspapers, the Radio4India initiative will play an important role in the disseminaton of pandemic related information. With the lingering possibility of a lockdown, like other countries, the continuance of FM radio networks is even more crucial. Radio operaters have made arrangements for any additional costs that may come at a time where advertising on air is at the minimum. This in itself speaks volumes of the commitment the association have made to keeping radio alive during this time.
AROI’s Chawla said, “We are there for the Nation. Radio is for India, and will continue to be there for India, always.”