The ever-increasing power of Community Radio

Back in 1965, Mass Communications and Journalism students like this writer, were lectured about the ‘order of precedence’ in the media industry.

“The Print Medium is the prime source of communication for advertisers to project, promote and preserve their products and services. The Radio is a Reminder Medium. After all, you cannot say much in 15 seconds.”

That perception and ‘secondary image’ of Radio has changed dramatically over the years. Today, the Radio not only holds on its own but also prides itself of being ‘The First channel of communications, be it for advertising, dissemination of news or simply a community announcement.’

Imagine a major development brewing in a country- it could be a political coup in Fiji or a tremor in Christchurch. The Radio has the power to carry the news worldwide instantly, ahead of the TV and other media.

It is getting harder for the print medium to break the news, which explains why they invest substantially on their web editions to lure advertisers and readers.

In today’s crowded media marketplace, the Radio has a unique position of pre-eminence and with the combination of talkback and entertainment, this industry offers immense value to its patrons.

The importance of Community Radio is more pronounced in countries like New Zealand, which account for minority ethnic communities since this medium offers communication and entertainment in the native language.

Tarana makes waves

On that score, Radio Tarana 1386 AM is undisputed leader in ethnic radio offering increasing purchasing power to advertisers and enhanced value to listeners. As a station that caters to all the communities of the Indian Sub-Continent and People of Indian origin from other parts of the world, it has earned for itself a special place in the broadcasting world. Despite fierce and often unfair and unhealthy competition (which Indian Newslink also faces in the ethnic print medium), Tarana remains a trailblazer, catering to hundreds of thousands of listeners in the Auckland region. The numbers are set to grow as the radio station becomes a prime Indian broadcaster in the Wellington region and other catchment areas.

Its worldwide reach through the Web is virtually limitless.

Digital Technology

Digital Technology has changed the way people watch Television. You can now sit down in front of a wide, flat-panel screen, and call up hundreds of channels in an instant. You can pause and rewind live broadcasts and record every episode of your favourite programme using a personal video recorder (PVR) such as other modern devices. In some parts of the world ‘video on demand’ services enable viewers to call up programmes when they want to watch them, rather than when broadcasters decide to transmit them.

Digital technology is sweeping the world of radio as well.

Says Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan: “We will continue to invest in state-of-the-art technology to bring the best quality programmes that will serve the best interests of our listeners and advertisers. But people – our team – will remain the most important part of our service.”

Spirit of enterprise

The spirit of innovation and the courage to introspect are among the finest attributes of Radio Tarana, which has, over the past 16 years, established itself as an entity that is more than just an entertainer. News, views, opinion polls, talkback, celebrity participation, sports and community welfare form a part of the package, constantly adding value to advertisers and listeners.

From the soccer, rugby and cricket fields and auditoria where film awards and major international entertainment programmes and competitions are in progress, to community festivals such as Diwali and in-store specials at Indian supermarkets, car dealers and other retailers, the involvement of Radio Tarana is complete. Listeners say they decide on shopping after hearing the special offers at various retail outlets.

Technology has of course enhanced the station’s power to innovate over the years. As well as news and community updates, the company makes extensive use of modern communication tools and equipment to air interviews, political developments and live entertainment programmes, not only to listeners in New Zealand but also in other parts of the world through its online resource.

Listeners say they are never lonely with Radio Tarana. The radio station that never sleeps, keeps a host of late night listeners and graveyard shift workers in New Zealand and hundreds of thousands of people across the time zones all over the world informed and entertained.

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