Pinky Chandran

Radio Active is the first community based radio station in Bengaluru. Pinky Chandran, the director of Radio Active, is a firm believer in the virtues of social entrepreneurship, “India is going through a transformation economically, socially, and politically. In this particular scenario, it is not enough to concentrate only on producing consumer related goods. You also have to look at common issues that are faced by citizens today like access to healthcare, education, and other fields that need large-scale investments, which can benefit common people. In this context, social entrepreneurship becomes very important.”

A strong advocate of the diversity in community radios, Pinky explains the ethos of Radio Active, “Each community station in the country is different. At Radio Active, from the time of its inception in 2007, we always believe in including as many diverse voices as possible. That being our vision, we now have different communities that are part of the station like waste pickers, scrap dealers, domestic workers, animal activists, sex workers, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, and auto drivers. That is one of the unique features of Radio Active, so many communities are part of it.” It has been a very conscious decision from the part of the management team to be as inclusive as possible. “We just don’t do programs alone. We are also involved with a lot of outreach activities, lot of issues which relate to policies, governance, and we also look at the preservation of Indian tradition and folk music,” Pinky adds.

Radio Active has been the recipient of various national and international awards for their sustainability programs. They were bestowed with the Manthan Award in 2010 at South Asia. CRCE had a stellar role in the success of Radio Active, Pinky explains, “I graduated from Jain (Deemed-to-be University) in the year 2000, following which I worked in an Australian company for five years and then re-joined the Jain Group back. At that point in time, my friends and I who graduated from Jain (Deemed-to-be University) decided to start an NGO which was called ‘Reclaim India’ and we decided to work with street kids. From the year 2005 to 2007 we experimented with trying to create it but it fell flat. We had to close down the NGO and the important lesson that we learned from CRCE was that we didn’t have patience, we did not listen to people and that is the reason why it failed. In 2007 when one of my colleagues had mentioned about a community radio, a phone call to CRCE and the studio was on its way to being actualised. ┬áThe most important lesson that CRCE has taught us is to believe in people, that everything takes time, you need to have patience for people to be able to trust you and the most important thing is to listen.”

Rakesh Manpat