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Crafting Change: The Role of Community Radio in Rural India

Community radio in rural India can amplify voices and steer positive changes in society

With over three and half decades of experience, Raj Kumar Jha commands significant authority in rural and social communication and community radio. As the former National Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, he spearheaded groundbreaking campaigns. Transitioning from corporate to community-oriented endeavors, Jha established Rural Campus in Madhubani, Bihar. It’s a pioneering educational hub facilitating hands-on learning in rural development and digital innovation.

His influence extends beyond advertising; Jha has served as the president of the Rural Marketing Association of India and currently leads initiatives focused on knowledge sharing. Additionally, he imparts his expertise as a visiting faculty member at prestigious institutions such as MICA, SPJIMR, and IFTR.

Demonstrating a profound commitment to his roots, Jha initiated Radio Madhubani, a platform aimed at amplifying local voices and fostering community engagement. In an exclusive interaction with The Interview World, he elucidates the transformative impact of community radio on local development.

Highlighting the significance of financial sustainability, Jha outlines strategic approaches to ensure the longevity of community projects. Furthermore, he stresses the pivotal role of successful individuals in driving positive change within their communities.

Here are the key insights from his enlightening conversation.

Q: How did the idea for launching a community radio station originate, and what overarching vision or goals are driving this initiative?

A: Community radio catalyzes transformation, actively disseminating vital information to specific communities and empowering locals to make informed decisions. Its versatile content also covers a broad spectrum, ranging from agricultural practices to healthcare initiatives and educational opportunities. Moreover, the information shared revolves around government policies, schemes, and programs aimed at enhancing the welfare of particular regions or communities.

Radio is the most widely used household appliance for accessing information due to its ease and affordability. I initiated this project to help the rural community. By leveraging the power of community radio, we aim to foster greater awareness, engagement, and empowerment within our community, ultimately contributing to its growth and development in meaningful ways.

Q: How has Radio Madhubani, your community radio initiative, impacted the local community and its development?

A: In our commitment to fostering the development of Phulparas, Madhubani, nestled within the vibrant Mithila region, we have initiated the establishment of Radio Madhubani under the auspices of the Prachar Prasar NGO. Community radio typically spans an airspace of up to 15 km, with an annual licensing fee of Rs. 27,000 payable to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Effective communication stands as a cornerstone in the empowerment of communities. Through Radio Madhubani, we are also actively empowering local residents by disseminating crucial vocational information spanning art & culture, indigenous handicrafts, healthcare, agriculture, and education. For instance, we offer insights into the initiation of pisciculture, chestnut farming, and horticulture, whilst facilitating connections with markets and expert advice.

Additionally, we’ve launched a dynamic 6-month internship program focusing on radio journalism and mobile journalism. Our emphasis lies on practical rather than theoretical education. To attain certification, students must complete a series of 30 projects.

Q: Which strategies do you employ to ensure sustainable financial support for your projects?

A: All our courses are offered at no charge. In addition, we bolster our resources by providing rural advertising and marketing services to companies targeting rural demographics. Furthermore, our platform is made available to aspiring entrepreneurs in the region, facilitating branding initiatives for their ventures. These endeavors collectively contribute to funding our radio projects’ operations.

Q: How might we inspire established and successful individuals in their respective fields to actively contribute to the betterment of their community?

A: A multitude of individuals, originating from Bihar, are achieving remarkable success both within India and on the global stage. It is incumbent upon them to reflect on the well-being of their community and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of their regions. Such endeavors possess the capacity to yield profound societal transformations and instigate a notable reversal in migration patterns. Additionally, I implore these individuals to band together and cultivate an environment conducive to opportunities within Bihar. By doing so, we can create a landscape where the youth are no longer compelled to migrate in pursuit of livelihoods, but rather find ample prospects within their homeland.

Radio Madhubani – A Community Radio Station Amplifying Voices, Transforming Communities
Radio Madhubani – A Community Radio Station Amplifying Voices, Transforming Communities



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