Radio entertains, informs and educates in Madhya Pradesh, India
'Listening to Bollywood tune, or bhole bisre geet, is not only the reason which one tunes into radio'. Indeed music does dominate radio but it's more than that. It informs and educates. A recent published research paper in International Journal of Farm Sciences, which studied general behaviour and attitude of the garlic growers of Malwa Plateau in Madhya Pradesh, says that. It concluded that radio was still the main source of information for garlic growing farmers in Malwa region. 61.6 per cent farmers listened to radio for information. The study was done by D.S.Tomar, Arvind Saxena, A.K.Dixit, and S.K.Kaushik, of Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Research team studied traits like age, education level, exposure to mass media, contact with agricultural scientists, risk taking behavior and innovation proneness of the garlic growers of three villages of Ujjain block, Malwa plateau namely Jalalkhedi, Dewrakhedi and Akasoda . It was found that radio was still the main source of information of the garlic growers as 61.6 per cent farmers listened to radio for information. 19.2, 12.0 and 7.2 per cent people got information from television, newspapers and farm magazines, respectively, showing, that radio still ruled as information source for them.
Not only information but if one looks at Madhya Pradesh perspective, radio is being used to get across social messages. Madhya Pradesh government's 'save girl child' campaign is using airwaves to reach out to communities. District administration of Balaghat, a district in Madhya Pradesh is using radio in different means. It is greeting parents of a newborn girl immediately after the birth on its FM radio (Balaghat Akashwani). This facility would be available only for those parents who baby is born in hospital as it is easy to get information about the birth. Not only Balaghat Radio is playing an important role in Madhya Pradesh's 'Save the Girl Child campaign' which is aimed to build an enabling environment to address declining sex ratio. State Government is airing spots and jingles on the air waves, but it is more than that. FM channels like MyFM, BigFM, Radio Mirchi, RedFM and All India Radio have devised numerous shows and campaigns of educational messages 'packaged with entertainment' are being aired. Radio channels and their RJs are devising different creatives to get voices of people particularly young on air. There is content differentiation, people's engagement styles are different, but the theme is central, need to respond to declining sex ratio, which matters. Madhya Pradesh's Government Department of Health & Family Welfare, Women and Child Development and UNICEF office for Madhya Pradesh prior to start of this campaign had conducted a radio partnership meet wherein had engaged all major radio channels in Bhopal including community radio stations, which had helped. No doubt its entertainment aspect which adds listeners and brings them to its air waves, but its education aspect if used creatively makes it strong vehicle for edutainment.
Radio has the ability to connect to people's heart, no doubt a medium of entertainment, which has seen change in last few years. It's connect and be seen as people voice has an ability where airwaves have been used not only to entertain, but to inform, and educate people on issues which affect them.
- Anil Gulati