Is community radio an alternative media?
What is it about?
While studies on alternative media and community radio stations have primarily focused on the media content and production techniques, scant attention has been paid to audience participation, a crucial aspect of community radio. This paper is based on ethnographic interview with the listeners and program producers of RadioJU, the community radio station of Jadavpur University, which was the first community radio station of West Bengal. The radius around RadioJU covers two districts of the state that includes urban areas as well as suburban regions, including a large refugee colony. The paper focuses on the three dimensions of alternativeness: the relationship with social context, nature of the content, and organizational structure. The objective of this study is to explore in what manner community radio continues to be relevant in contrast to the mainstream media and in what way audience participation positions community radio within the alternative–mainstream debate. The paper also points to the challenges and the limitations of audience participation in community radio, and suggests that the notion of supplementary media can be an important move towards opening up the category of the alternative media in an increasingly commercialized broadcast environment.
The following have contributed to this page: Saayan Chattopadhyay