Madhu Acharya

Madhu Acharya

Intro from Jay Allison: As ever, the death of radio is imminent. Maybe. For those of us still entranced at the magic of radio waves floating through the sky into our ears, at the accidental encounters with invisible strangers, at the uncanny power of voice, it’s encouraging to remember that radio remains full of life in the developing world. Newspapers, TV, the Internet: they depend on literacy, easy terrain, electricity, expensive receivers--all of which are obstacles in countries like Nepal, and all of which are overcome by radio. A few years ago, we at Atlantic Public Media helped Madhu Acharya create a Nepali version of our series, This I Believe. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of teaching radio in Kathmandu to station representatives from all over the country through Madhu’s organization, Antenna Foundation Nepal. Transom’s Sydney Lewis interviewed Madhu to put together a manifesto about his hopes and dreams for radio in his country. If you love radio, you’ll want to hear about projects like Doko (carrying transmitters in a backpack to remote villages) and the song of “The Woman Who Walked.” For a dying medium, radio is full of power.

Download “Dreams of Radio in Nepal” Manifesto (PDF)

Dreams of Radio in Nepal

Coming to Radio

Edited from a 2-hour Skype conversation between Madhu Acharya, one of the founders of Antenna Foundation Nepal and Sydney Lewis of Transom. Some audio clips from the interview are included below.

Madhu: I got into radio by chance. My father used to have a radio when I was young, but I started to understand and really listen to the radio after I graduated from high school. The 7 o’clock news was the one people used to listen to, to hear what the government voice is about.

We listened to radio during the 1990 movement [a multiparty People’s Movement that brought an end to the monarchy and was the beginning of constitutional democracy]. Radio was against the movement, and we listened to what was being said, but before 1990 there were no independent radio stations, only Radio Nepal, and it was very government-centric: it was run by the government, it was purely supporting the government.

It took five years for the People’s Movement to get an independent radio license. In 1996, they called out for people to come for training. I had just finished my graduation, so I applied. The training was organized by Radio Sagarmatha, they were opening the first independent radio station. They had to fight hard to get an independent license, and while they were waiting for it, they invited people to train; from there they would choose a few to work at the station. I was one of those chosen. I worked there for five years. This was the first independent radio station in South Asia; we were the first independent producers in the country working at Radio Sagarmatha.

Children watching as women are interviewed for Doko Radio
Children watching as women are interviewed for Doko Radio

During the training we were microphone-holding for the first time. We were so excited! We were in a group interviewing people. There was a musical television entertainment show called Mero Geet Mero Sandesh (My song, My Message), and the lady that hosted the program used to go into the streets and interview people, and they used to run away [Laughs]. Because it was the first time someone was holding a microphone and coming out in the streets to interview people. Some people were running because they thought that we were from television, and some said, “Why? I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have any opinion.” They were not really afraid, but you know, it’s not me you want to interview, it’s the politicians, go interview them. That was surprising to me because we were taught that community radio is for the people and voice of the community. But on the other hand, the general public was not aware of the concept; only a few people understood what it really meant to have community radio.

When the first radio station came on air in May 1997, we used to do two hours of broadcasting daily. One program was called Our Valley. Every week I used to produce at least two profiles of people from Kathmandu Valley. We started digging into people’s stories in the profiles, started digging into the issues of people in the feature, and people loved that magazine. We did 555 episodes.

It was the first time peoples’ stories from outside the city were heard. Because other reporters’, they were lazy, they just did stories in Kathmandu. Easy access –– go and talk and come back and package. But I went to Bhaktapur, which was 20 kilometers away, and reporters in Kathmandu didn’t go there. I went because it was easy to find new stories. It was 14 years ago and people still remember me in Bhaktapur. One story I remember: We did a live broadcast of a religious festival from inside the temple. Seven hours live! That was amazing. It was the first time they were letting me go inside the temple.

Founding Antenna Foundation Nepal

Antenna Foundation logo

After working at Radio Sagarmatha for five years, I wanted new challenges. My creativity was limited and I was looking for a wider space where I could implement my own programming ideas. Broadcast of Radio Sagarmatha was limited to just inside Kathmandu Valley, and the kind of programs I was producing had potential for a nationwide audience. Me, Manisha Aryal, and two other journalist friends, founded a private company in 2001 called Antenna Audio Solution. We wanted to do production and training but it was difficult to get funding for a private company. We just got two jobs in a whole year. [Laughs]

In 2001, I was in the Netherlands for a training of journalists, and traveled to Brussels to the European Commission Headquarters and made contact in the Conflict Mitigation Department. They were interested in using radio as a peace-building tool to address the violent Maoist conflict ongoing at that moment. We founded Antenna Foundation Nepal as a non-profit organization in 2002.

The Role of Radio in Nepal

Transom: Give us a sense of what it means to the people of Nepal to have independent radio stations.

Madhu: I went to a boarding school in Kathmandu and used to go back home twice a year, in summer vacation and winter vacation. I used to carry 6-month, 9-month old magazines, or weeks-old newspapers, and everyone would read them because they would rarely see newspapers in the villages. In 1996, when I went to Humla, the people were reading 1-month old newspapers; that was their main source of news. The news about activities of the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister that came from Radio Nepal did not give information that was relevant to these people. The people of Humla were concerned about food scarcity; the lack of roads, finding ways to market herbal plants.

Children listening to the radio program Sunau Boloau
Children listening to the radio program Sunau Boloau

Now the situation is somewhat different. But still, very few people have access to print because only 40% are literate, not many people can afford to buy newspapers, and because of the geography not many of these newspapers are accessible to the people. As for television, now only 40% of the population has access to electricity, OK? And how many people can afford to buy television sets? Radio is still the most effective medium for Nepal, perhaps for the next five, ten, twenty years.

Nepal is divided into three geographical regions: the mountains, the hilly region, and the plains area. Humla is in the mountainous region, at the top eastern corner of Nepal’s map. The one way you can reach there is by flying. First, you fly to Nepalguni, a regional city in the mid-western region, and then you fly for about an hour in a little plane to get to Humla. It was so difficult to get a ticket; people had to stay awake all night to queue up for a ticket to Humla. It’s a small town, with a district headquarters, and the population is very low, around 40,000 in 2001. The terrain is not suitable for growing food and vegetables; rice has to be transported by small airplanes and choppers and costs more. There are around 500 households in the district headquarters, Simikot, and then outside of headquarters it’s very sparse. They had solar electricity. They used to have electricity one hour in the evening but it was so dim, too dim, it was like lighting a candle.

The Trip to Humla

Listen to “Madhu on Humla”

In 1996, when I went there for the first time, I’d had the training, but had no practical experience producing radio. We were anxiously waiting for the radio station to be given a license to go on the air. In the meantime, five of us were awarded fellowships. We were to work for six months and produce ten 5- to 10-minute stories from different parts of the country.

I wanted to go to Humla because it was one of the remotest parts of Nepal, and no one had reported stories from there. I had this idea: if you go to Humla it will be easy to find stories, everything is a story. It was my first time going outside of Kathmandu; it was my first field trip radio assignment. I spent 30 days in Humla.

Participating in Doko Radio
Participating in Doko Radio

The reception in the daytime was very bad, they couldn’t listen to the radio in the afternoon and morning; they used to listen to Radio Nepal in the evenings only. I did stories on social impacts and changes. Sherpa communities in Humla have a different culture. In some of the communities near Tibet, the people still practice Polyandry culture where all of the brothers in a family have the same wife, so I wanted to do that story. I wanted to do a story on health issues of women there.

Transom: Tell us what it was like to record in Humla. Was it difficult to get people to talk?

Madhu: When I was recording in Humla everyone gathered around to see what I was doing. As they had never seen a microphone, they were not afraid of it. Everyone wanted to listen to their own voice. [Chuckles] I had to play it back to them. They wouldn’t believe that it was their voice!

It was an experience; it opened my eyes. I had been given a scholarship to study in a very good British-run school in Kathmandu; I come from a remote village and had some idea of the difficulties that prevailed in Humla, but comparing Humla and my own village I realized I was more privileged than the people from Humla. We had access to education; there were lots of schools in my village. The health service was unavailable, but if I walked two days, 70, 80 kilometers, I would reach a health person, a bus center, or I’d reach a hospital. But to reach the nearest road, people in Humla had to spend half a month. There was no hospital. Access to transportation was near to impossible; only those people who had money and power were the ones to get airplane tickets. Those who could not afford airplane simply died without treatment.

It was in Humla that I realized how powerful the medium was. That I can carry these voices from Humla; take them to Kathmandu, and make them public, make people listen to these voices. They had no idea what I was going to do with their voices; they just knew it was out of their mouth they were speaking their mind. They didn’t expect anything. Maybe they thought, he’s coming here to record the voices and he will just disappear. Some of those stories were later broadcast via Radio Nepal, and they did hear their stories. I wasn’t there, but when I went back to Humla after 11 years, with Doko Radio, and they were listening to their voice through Doko, it was the same kind of experience: hundreds of people flocking, walking from long distance to hear, their faces brightening after they heard their own voices.

Doko Radio

Listen to “Madhu on Doko Radio”
Carrying Doko Radio
Carrying Doko Radio

Transom: How did Doko Radio come about and why is it called Doko?

Madhu: I had this idea: how would it be to travel and broadcast radio on location, live? I shared this idea with a few people and no one believed we could do it. We did not know if the government would give us a license to operate a mobile radio station. We had to fight hard because it was different from what other radio stations were doing. The government was saying they would not be able to monitor the broadcasts. What if we do anti-government stuff? The Maoists during the conflict, they had five mobile radio stations in the north, and they used to communicate to the Maoists through these radio stations. So they had this crazy idea that we were going to do the same thing. It took us 4 or 5 months to get a license. The first five locations we traveled to had no access to local FM radio stations; the people were completely dependent on national AM radio for information. We distributed around 300 radio sets in each location.

A Doko Radio kit is a small 30-watt transmitter and a few laptops, and microphones, and we have a small kerosene generator to power it up.

Doko Radio packs
Doko Radio packs

Doko is a common basket all men and women carry every day for fodder, firewood and carrying other things. Everybody knows what it is. So Doko Radio is a kind of mobile radio station carried in a backpack.

When we first went there, we said, “This is a Doko Radio station and we would like to broadcast here with your own voices.” Many women in the first Doko location said, “Doko is a symbol of pain for us. Why did you put the name of Doko for your radio station? We have been carrying Doko all our life. And here is another Doko and it does not sound very good to us.” We were very surprised. But after five days, they said, “Ah, this is a Doko that carries our pain, not one that adds more burden to us. We can share all our pain through this Doko.”

Singers on Doko Radio in Barpak
Doko Radio in Barpak

The first time we did Doko Radio we wanted a place that was confined –– small, but crowded. We went to Barkpak, a very compact village in the Gorkha District, where there were 1200 households. When we reached there we found the whole village waiting to welcome us with musical instruments, songs, garlands, everything! We were shocked. [He laughs with delight at the memory] And everyone cried when we left. It was an amazing experience.

Everybody used to flock together and sit around the discussions. The best part of this was the cultural program. We had three hours of broadcasting in the morning. In the afternoon we recorded the cultural music and everyone wanted to sing and present their culture to be recorded. The music that we broadcast through Doko Radio was field recordings.

Listen to “Baarpaak Song”

We walked two days to reach there; it was a path used for constant trekking, local trekking, not for tourists. We had porters carrying our equipment, and we were hiking. On the way back everybody had listened to the radio station, and everybody had these songs by heart, you know, they were singing the songs that we broadcast in those five days. [Laughs]

The Woman Who Walked

Listen to “Madhu on Sita Shahi”
Sita Shahi singing at mic
Sita Shahi

What we used to do was invite people to sing and share through any format: singing, poems, and stories. In the evenings we’d broadcast them. When we were in Humla, every day around 300, 400 women came to share their songs and sing. It was in the afternoon and I was recording the songs to be broadcast in the evening. A young woman named Sita Shahi was waiting for her turn, and said, “I want to write my song, can I borrow your pen?” She sat in front of me and scribbled the words and she was ready to sing. The song that she sang was so deep in meaning. The gender advocate who had 40 years of experience didn’t have those right words to express why women were backward in Nepal. Sita Shahi had the right words, and the right story, and the right reason why women are backward.
I was so touched at that time. I asked her why she walked one whole day to come to the radio station. She said, “This is my story.”

Actually, she was from another district. To go to her maternal home she had to hike six days. All the women have the same story. Some women wrote romantic love stories, but most of the stories were how difficult their life is, what kind of hardships they have to face in their daily life. The melody that you hear in that song, it’s the same kind of melody everyone sings in that region.

Listen to “Sita Shahi singing her story”

Translation of Sita Shahi’s song

We are illiterate that’s why we are dominated, we are illiterate.

We are limited to kitchen, and cannot take part in development.

We cannot figure out why we are dominated

We cannot accept a situation without our rights.

Let’s all stand up, and move ahead of time, let’s stand up.

This I Believe Nepal

Listen to “Madhu on This I Believe Nepal”
This I Believe Nepal book cover
This I Believe Nepal

Transom: Antenna has quite a range of programs: from youth-oriented soap opera to This I Believe. Tell us about This I Believe Nepal.

Madhu: I didn’t have any idea about the This I Believe, program before 2007, August. I was waiting in hospital while my wife was delivering our son, Aayam, and one of our friends forwarded an essay by his sister, Laura Shipler Chico, to me. The essay was regarding pregnancy; it was about what she wanted from the child. I went to the This I Believe website and read more essays about personal beliefs of people from all walks of life. I began to imagine how wonderful it would be to start a similar initiative in Nepal, to create a platform where people could share their confidence and belief in an environment that is usually characterized by frustration and negativity. Coincidence created such opportunity. Former US Ambassador to Nepal, Nancy J. Powell’s interest and USAID’s support enabled Antenna Foundation Nepal to create the Nepali version of This I Believe in print, radio and TV as a way to generate hope in the midst of despair. We agreed to communicate with Jay Allison and the people doing This I Believe at Atlantic Public Media. We started going back and listening to the program, and eventually we came to Woods Hole.

It took us a lot of time to understand the making of This I Believe, and it took us a lot of time to adapt it to the Nepali understanding, the Nepali way. In the United States you have 100% literacy, it’s easy for people to understand. But in Nepal, belief… “You have beliefs?!” Everybody questioned us. I was talking to my father, “Don’t you understand?” What does it mean to him? Giving him all the stories he tells about me or about himself, how does it relate to his own belief, and how did those events affect his life. So I was trying to understand through my father.

Read Nepalese Chameli Waiba’s essay for This I Believe.

Radio In Nepal Today

Now the scenario has changed. We have a total of 300 radio stations on air in Nepal now. There are too many radio stations. [Laughs] Even a small town now has three or four stations. But in terms of programming, there is still a need.

Live talk show Nepal Chautari with former finance minister
Live talk show Nepal Chautari with former finance minister

All the programs, whether musical, or information-based, packaged programs, they sound the same. People lack programming ideas. Antenna Foundation Nepal tries to show examples to radio stations, to lead. We did this national live talk show for the first time in the country. Now you know what? Radio stations broadcast five hours of talk show every day. It’s too much! [Laughs] We did Doko Radio, and we handed over the concept of Doko Radio to the radio stations. Now 25 radio stations are doing similar kinds of things.

We provide training, but training is not enough. So we are working towards contributing to these radio stations, giving programming ideas, programming formats. Yesterday was so funny; two women came to see us. They founded a radio station; it’s by women, for women, broadcasting in two places. They said they’d been on air for the last two months and they broadcast 18 hours a day. [Amazed laughter] They’re literally paying that money from their own pocket, OK. For whom? Why? I said to them, “Next year, please, don’t let me know that the two radio stations that you’re running are closed down. Because how can you afford to pay for the 18 hours of broadcast?”

Recording women, sitting around a microphone
Recording women

For many it’s a prestige issue. Directly, indirectly, all the people who open these radio stations have some kind of ego. But that ego alone won’t sustain the radio stations. My idea is to focus on how we can support the radio stations through content, how we can bring them together and help them make creative programs so that they can address their own communities. That’s the most challenging part for Nepali broadcast.

At Antenna we have invested so much. We want everybody to be very serious in what they do. It pays; the programs that we do have impact. Now we have this weekly one-hour show where we have 50 reporters reporting from different parts of the country. We’re providing them hands-on training so that at the end, these are the leaders of production at the local level. We are generating this serious breed of journalist.

There are so many players like Antenna, Equal Access, BBC, World Service Trust, United Nations Development Programme, producing content for radio stations. We are making the stations dependent on Kathmandu and we have to change this. Otherwise we’re doing the same thing that was done before by Radio Nepal: content always flowing from the center to the periphery. The content must flow from everywhere.

The Future of Radio in Nepal

Listen to “Madhu on his future”

When I started in radio in 1996, we learned by doing. We could experiment, and still that opportunity is there at the local levels, at the national levels. There are no rules; you can do anything in radio. And there are so many programs that can be adapted in Nepal. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many stations are copying what Radio Sagarmatha is doing, what other radio stations are doing, and not creating their own identity. So there is an identity crisis for many radio stations in Kathmandu.

As a content creator, content producer, there is a challenge for organizations like Antenna to constantly come up with great ideas, great approaches, so that other people radio stations can learn. The idea is to enable these radio stations to produce content that is delivered nationally so that radio stations have five hours of content from all over the country.

The location of Madhu's future radio station
The location of Madhu’s future radio station

Why not bring everybody to one table and start brainstorming about how we can expand on the content part of the radio stations, and how we can expand on the networking part of the radio stations, help distribute these programs nationally, a kind of public radio model. That’s an area that is of interest to me.

I always tell my father, “Don’t sell your property in the village.” At the end, I want to go back with my family to our village and stay there. In Kathmandu we have blackouts for 12 hours a day. In my village we have 24 hours of electricity generated through a small micro hydro project. We have telephone and road access, which was not there a decade ago. Twenty years ago, I used to trek two days to reach my home from Kathmandu. Now I can reach home in eight, ten hours of bus ride. I can do everything from my village I now do from Kathmandu. Going back and staying there and doing radio, being a part of that network that I envision now, is my dream.

Madhu Acharya

About
Madhu Acharya

Madhu Acharya is one of the key founding members of Antenna and served as it's Director from 2001 to 2010. Before joining Antenna he worked as a Senior Radio Producer for the BBC World Service Trust’s Trachoma Media Campaign in Nepal. Madhu also worked at Radio Sagarmatha for 5 years, producing a daily, half-hour morning magazine, and hourly news bulletins. Madhu earned his Masters in Journalism from Tribhuvan University. He trained with: News and Current Affairs and Community Radio Management and Training of Trainers from Radio Nederland Training Centre in the Netherlands. This fall he will be a Knight International Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Comments

  • Jake Warga

    8.28.10

    Radio thrives somewhere

    Madhu,
    First, thank you for doing all that you’ve done and are doing. I’ve noticed that radio thrives in the absence of literacy–from poor villages to people stuck in rush-hour traffic. I’ve been to many radio stations in ‘developing’ places that use voice as a tool to instruct, to educate against traditional harmful practices to basic health issues. I remember a station in Ethiopia that used radio drama to entertain and educate women, encouraging them to go to clinics rather than traditional medicine men to give birth. But they also did stories, soap operas, to discourage tattooing of their neck (they believed it reduced goiter, but the needles were not always cleaned). But because of the radio women started to feel ashamed of the tattoos they already had, that maybe targeting cultural practices, especially traditional ones, may have gone too far.

    All messages, all broadcasts, have an embedded ideology, from choice of subject to editing…have you learned what people are NOT saying through their choices of what to actually voice? Is there a danger, politically or socially, in giving people the tools to speak to many? Are there sensitivities, culturally or politically, you as editor had to…edit?

    Thanks again for all your work and using radio for what it really should be used for: to educate.

  • Jesse Hardman

    8.28.10

    Fascinating

    Madhu, thanks for sharing your amazing experiences with radio. I love the story of the woman who travelled six days to share her voice, and explained the issues she faced better than any expert.

    I remember, working in radio in Sri Lanka, that for the people displaced by war, knowing there was a weekly radio show that highlighted their specific issues with local voices and experiences meant everything. They were desperate for that information, and it gave them comfort and agency like nothing else could.

    I also appreciate your understanding that often things like radio have to brought to remote areas, otherwise those people will remain isolated. Simply arriving with your recording equipment, taking an interest, spending time, giving people opportunities to speak has a HUGE impact.

    Out of curiosity, what kind of projects or programming have you done that links to the economics of poverty, and helping people develop skills and future plans?

    How do you assess the success of your projects?
    Do you have any other examples of community change through radio?

    Thanks again and keep up the amazing work you are doing.

    All the best,

    Jesse Hardman

  • Madhu Acharya

    8.31.10

    Re: Radio Thrives somewhere

    Dear Jake:
    Radio movement in Nepal is at hight at the moment in terms of number of radio station across the country. In a small country like Nepal there are already around 400 radio stations and the number is increasing. Management wise we can categorize the station into four structures namely: privately owned or commercial, NGO owned, Co-op owned and ones owned by local government offices.Positively radio has opened new opportunities as an outlet to express the grievances and utilize the freedom of expression in real sense. On the other hand it is a reality that most of the radio stations are inclined to one or other political party. Therefore agreeing to what you are saying many of the radio news and current affair content has embedded political ideology/preference.

    On the other hand people do express what they feel but these voices are mostly ignored or never reach the ones they are targeted:towards the politicians with whom general public is frustrated. Even if they listen to the voices their voices are neglected as there are other priorities. Though Nepal is accepted as a leader for growth of independent radio movement other South Asian neighbors have saying that they should learn from Nepal experience and not copy.

    Having said that I don’t agree about the danger of giving out the microphone to the public. Only problem for Nepal is to manage the frequency, content being broadcast and code of conduct enforced. One of the long term solution is of an independent broadcast authority to bring everything under clear policy which doesn’t look possible in the near future.

    Issue of self censorship is always evident when the journalists int the country have to risk their lives because of lawlessness, lack of clear management of frequency and lack of governance.On the other hand information will automatically be censored because they are more politically inclined to one or other party.

    But what I like most of Nepali radio stations is that some of the stations have unique programs which are in the real sense community voice or outlet for community voices.

    I hope I was able to answer some of your questions.

    thank you..

  • Madhu Acharya

    8.31.10

    Re:facinating

    Dear Jesse,
    Doing Doko Radio was an amazing experience. There are different version of mobile radio station like Etuktuk in SL and women’s radio network in the pacific island. But Doko was a complete programming experiment and we learnt that when people share each others stories we can see smiles in their faces and it is right there in front of you. We also realized that there is a value for radios stations going to the door steps of the listeners rather than inviting the listeners to the station or asking them to make a call. Nearly 20 radio stations on their own produce programming which is produced in the villages and some of them do live broadcast from the remote villages. The result is they have dedicated listener and content providers. We have termed this as sharecasting of ideas, issues and stories to each other.

    In the past we did a half hour radio magazine "Business Yaatra" focusing SMEs and helping their business prosper. We tried hard to find local support to keep the program on air but we could not. It was on air for about a year and half. Later on we closed the program in 2005. Most of our current programs are broadly focused towards confidence building, peace process and democratization. they do vaguely address the economics of poverty or helping people develop skills and planning but I think it is not enough of what we are doing.

    Our monitoring and evaluation of each programs are for internal learning purpose only. It took us a year to develop a clear M & E plan for all of our program and we are trying to implement the impact of what we do. We have a small team who does the qualitative and quantitative data analysis of listener feedback, field visit and interaction with listeners, advisors and internal production team. At this stage I can only say that we are learning.

    Radio stations like Radio Madanpokhara in western part of the country, Solu FM in the (solukhumbu) Everest region and some of the program that are being produced in kathmandu by organisations like Antenna, BBC Trust and Equal Access are examples of change through radio.

    Thanks once again Jesse for your interest

  • Jay Allison

    9.27.10

    excerpts

    Hi Madhu,

    In case others are interested, I thought I’d post a little from my post-Nepal report, based on our workshops there. Also, I know you’re in California now, but have you heard news of any progress made since the workshops?

    —–

    From the INTRODUCTION:

    Radio’s Moment In Nepal
    This is a critical time for community radio in Nepal. The possibilities for creating positive social change are enormous. Given the combined issues of: topographical obstacles to communication, need for moderate cost and technological accessibility, and the power of spoken language in regions of low literacy—radio is the nation’s most promising mass communication medium. The field has seen enormous infrastructure growth in the past decade, and now finds itself at a crossroads. It is vital to answer important questions about how the newly constructed stations can best serve their communities and the nation:
    • How will all these new community stations be sustainable?
    • What is their mission?
    • How will community radio distinguish itself from commercial radio?
    • How will they deal with competition?
    • How can stations collaborate to develop a strong national system?
    • How can stations best serve their communities and create positive change

    ——

    And this, from RECOMMENDATIONS:

    ReNew Project:

    (a series of short pieces that reveal the individual lives of our neighbors, both in our communities and in the nation of Nepal.)

    1)Celebrate the everyday. Don’t favor people of accomplishment, or those who have suffered tragedy. Explore our common lives. (see my production notes on making Sonic IDs, handed out separately)
    2)Keep the moments short. Think photography. Think mini-story. Sprinkle the pieces interstially during the whole day, in every programming block.
    3)Don’t ask people about “nationalism” or any other “issue”; ask them about their lives. The national and local identity will be found in their answers.
    4)Be poetic. Listen with a poetic ear to the unexpected stories and “found poems” of everyday conversation.
    5)Take your time. Spend a while with people until they sound like themselves. As an interviewer, humble yourself and listen. Don’t demand answers; have conversations. Give as good as you get (see my interviewing notes, handed out separately)
    6) Empower the Antenna Foundation to coordinate this project and develop a style and collaborative energy.

    ——-

  • Bill Siemering

    10.13.10

    Best Story of Radio in Development

    Thank you, Madhu, for this most beautiful story of how you developed local radio in Nepal. You capture all the elements: your own vision of what radio can do, your perseverance to make it real, the power of giving voice to people to sing, tell stories, poems and see the their reaction.

    All too often people in development think of radio as a loudspeaker to bring PSAs >to people; you show how unique radio is in generating content expressed in many formats, and no literacy necessary. This is radio >with people. There is no better example of public media. How moving that Sita Shahi traveled a day to sing her song with an important message.

    I appreciate how you weave your own story and the vivid sense of place and distance to remote places such as Humla.

    Radio Doko is such a brilliant idea! How fine that listeners felt it lightened their burden!

    Thank you for this moving, eloquent piece. You have given us the very best story of radio in development. I continue to send this to many others. You are an inspiration to all in this field.

    Thank you!

    Bill Siemering
    Developing Radio Partners

  • Madhu Acharya

    10.13.10

    Re: Best Story of Radio in Development

    Dear Bill: As Jay puts it very nicely to my introduction, Radio for Nepal is the key development tool to inform and educate people along with their everyday lives. We also have to strive hard so that radio maintains to be the part of that daily life. Otherwise the charm of radio will fade a way in a couple of years when TV becomes more accessible in Nepal.

    Doing Doko Radio has completely transformed my thinking and belief about the power of media. I believe that it is up to us how we use medium.

    I completely agree with you that there is no better example of public media-with people. The most difficult thing is the continuity and ownership.

    Now I am focusing on learning more about American public radio and hope to get inspired further when I go back to Nepal next year,

    Thank you again for inspirational words,

    Madhu

  • Madhu Acharya

    10.13.10

    Post Training updates

    Dear Jay,
    Yes, some of the stations had already started to produce short edited stories from their communities. Some even sent examples of what they produced in their stations to us to hear and provide feedback. I heard some of the examples and found that they have difficulty understanding the concept at practical level- doing it. I even did a briefing with some the training participants when I met them on different occasions.

    recently I heard that there was interest from NTI to provide training to the interested radio stations to execute the idea that was developed during the training. Let’s hopes it yields some positive results,

    Madhu

  • Sarah Harris

    11.10.10

    Dherai dherai dhaanyebhaad tapaaiko ramro kaam kolaagi

    Madhu,

    Mero naam Sarah Harris ho. Ma bidyarti Middlebury College maa chhu. America maa, ma radiomaa kaam garna manlaagcha–aghi summermaa, maile North Country Public Radio kolaagi kaam garne. Aghi barsha maile Nepal ma basne, padne, ra radio ko barema anusandhan garne. Maile ek mahina Palpa maa basne ra Radio Madanpokhara sanga kaam garne. Maile dherai sikne ra malaai ecdam impressed laageko thiyo CRM ko ecdam ramro kaam sanga. Kasto mahatwapurna, samudaik radio Nepal maa chha! Dherai dherai dhaanyebhaad tapaaiko ramro kaam ko laagi. Ma ahile euta Fulbright ko laagi, samudaik radio Nepal maa ko barema, koshis gardaichhu-ma pharkana ra pheri anusandhan garna manlaagcha. Yadhi mero prasna chha, bhaane maile tapaailaai email lekdaichhu? Thanks again!

    Sarah