Radio Local

India's 595 community radio stations serve ethnic minorities, farmers, indigenous and coastal communities.

These radio stations equipped with knowledgeable reporters, studios and technical expertise report on pressing local issues that educate and inform their neighbours, friends and family.

Newsreel Asia's collaboration with India's community radio stations aims to produce ethical, truthful and inclusive stories.

These exceptional local journalists will bring you diverse stories produced by them from some of the least covered places in India.

What is Radio Local?

"Radio Local" is a podcast series by Newsreel Asia in collaboration with India's community radio stations. Join us on a journey to discover ethical, truthful and inclusive stories from underreported regions of India, produced by knowledgeable reporters using cutting-edge technology. Educate and inform yourself on pressing local issues that are often neglected and overlooked, and discover the diverse cultures and communities that make India unique.

How was this idea conceived?

Last year I was in the buzzing fishing hamlet of Rameshwaram tucked in the southeastern coast of India.

Fishermen bidding for fish after the morning catch in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.

On the first floor of a haggard building - an earshot from the haggling fishmongers amidst the pungent odour of dried fish – was the sound of the ocean or Kadal Osai — a community radio station.

Jeenath Rabiya hosting a morning show in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.

It was run by Gayathri Usman.

I liked her instantly. She was canny, boomerang responsive and mindful about the lives of fishers.

Kadal Osai aired stories about the perils of not wearing a life jacket while fishing and on changing habits of open defecation on the seashore. Fishers I met told me how immensely helpful the radio station’s simple act of sounding a gong every hour was. It alerted them of the tides as they played radio music waiting to cast nets in moonlit darkness.

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Gayathri Usman

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What were the steps taken to realise it?

Soon Gayathri introduced me to the Community Radio Association of India. Through a Zoom call we connected with more than four dozen community radio stations across India.

As months passed, we battled anaemic Internet connections and fractured audio plaguing small town India to chisel Radio Local, cementing a first dispatch of audio documentaries from South India.

Recording of online inauguration event of the Radio Local series

What was the end result?

Our first season includes in-the-skin narratives by radio journalists from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. I have fistpumped and heel clicked about our association with these reporters who have a social, historical and political context to the hyperlocal stories they narrate.

Radio Local is a Newsreel Asia production in collaboration with intrepid members of the Community Radio Association of India and the generous support of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies.

Anupama Chandrasekaran
Editor, Podcasts
Newsreel Asia




Production Team

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