Community Radio and Sustainability: A Participatory Research Initiative
Ideosync Media Combine
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Oranization (UNESCO)
Community Radio in India completed a decade in 2012; currently there are 183 operational community radio stations in India, and 15 in Bangladesh. Nepal has a longer history of CR with 246 community radio stations on air. Community Radio has been supported through a policy in India and Bangladesh and for several years through an open media environment in Nepal. The Community Radio practices in India, Bangladesh and Nepal are varied and there are nuanced differences in the approaches to community radio in these countries.
This research is an attempt to explore sustainability of CR in the South Asia region through a participatory approach of working with selected CR stations in the region that represent the diversity in the sector. The research uses a mixed method approach including qualitative and quantitative tools and is founded on Ethnographic Action Research principles. Research methodologies were validated through a stakeholder process. Community researchers from each participating CR station were trained in ethnographic research tools. Data was collected over six months and included weekly diary notes, significant good practice stories, brief survey questionnaire, annual budgets and monthly expense sheets of the CRS. Ideosync researchers undertook field visits and in depth interviews with CR staff, volunteers and management committee members.