The varsity plans to propose the module to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as a universal model which can be accepted by the Community Radio Association of India in the form of structured guidelines for such stations.
 
"There are over 170 community radio stations in India, but how many of them are operating successfully and have noteworthy listenership graphs?

"This is because not enough research has been done in this area and there are no models which can be followed by these radios to serve their purpose of establishment," Dr Saleem Mir, who is supervising the project, told PTI.

Mir, who is a professor at the DU's Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC), is working on the project with R K Singh, former Engineer-in-Chief of Doordarshan, and six DU students.

The varsity is likely to make its recommendations to the ministry by March next year.

"Since the community radio stations are run by different organisations -- mostly educational institutes, NGOs, small communities and a few gram panchayats -- their target audience and the demographics is also different.

"So, it's a difficult task to develop a universal formula or model which can be applied to all stations across the country," Mir said.

The team, which started working on the project last month, is currently visiting various community radio stations and studying the kind of practices followed by them for involving listeners, generating funds and developing content.

"We have visited CMS Radio (Lucknow), Deccan Radio (Hyderabad), Jamia Radio and Apna Radio in Delhi and Gurgaon Ki Awaaz (Gurgaon).

"Next month, we will be going to some community radio stations in the northeast and there are more visits in the pipeline. We will be covering all the zones in the country for the project," Mir said.

Following the visits, there is a plan to conduct surveys in the areas the radio stations operate in order to come up with a programme schedule which can be adopted by all of them, he elaborated.

"There would be room left for customisation too.

"For example, a community radio station catering to the farming community will obviously have different demands than the one catering to university students. Another prominent consideration is advertisements as commercials can't be broadcast on community radio stations," Mir added.

The module will be tested at DU's community radio station before being proposed to the I&B Ministry and suggestions from experts in the industry will be also be sought regarding the same, he said.

The proposal will also include a training module for the volunteers or the staff working at the community radio station which they would have to mandatorily undergo before getting the licence for broadcasting, Mir added.

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