RADIO SAFALTA THROUGH MY VALUE JUDGEMENT :
The history of radio broadcasting is not long in Nepal.The first Radio station in Nepal was established in 1950. Suddenly in the morning of 13 December 1950, 8:30 a.m. people in the Eastern region of Nepal heard a voice from “Radio Prajantra” that was set up in Biratnagar, not by government but by those people who were fighting for democracy in Nepal. In 2007 B.S. the democratic movement is over and the radio station was brought to Singha Darbar, Kathmandu. Then, it became a voice of the people under the rule of democratic government.
From 2050 to 1993, the government had a monopoly on radio transmission because the private sector was not entitled to set up radio broadcasting stations. National Media Policy 1992 and National Broadcasting Act 1993 are the landmark legal instruments, which for the first time allowed the private sector to commence commercial radio broadcasting. After the National Broadcasting Regulations 1995 that extensively defined the processes and methods of establishing Frequency Modulation (FM) radio stations in community as well as private sectors got aspired, motivated and encouraged involve in FM broadcasting on social service as well as commercial purposes.
There so many FM radios in Nepal at present. They are established both in community and private ownership. FM radios are working to give a voice to the voiceless, aspiring people for getting aware of human rights, citizenship rights and duties, take active participation in every sphere of life and make communities more energetic, just and informed. They have been an important vehicle to build and strengthen inclusive democracy and participatory development in community and national levels.
There are more than 400 community and private FM radio stations currently running in Nepal, and they are estimated to have reached to the thresholds of more than 90 per cent of the total population. They have been an effective media for transforming previous marginalized and disadvantaged communities. FM radios have, of course, been bliss for people of the places where other forms of media such as print and television are still a dream.
Moreover, they have been acting as civil surveillance of public performance. Community radios have played a vital role in informing and facilitating citizens for acquiring public information and facilitating them to exercise their rights to information, sharing ideas and generating dynamic public opinions to educate and stir general people for national building process.
Western Development Region of Nepal has also been fortunate in media information. There are so many FM radio stations both in community and private ownership. Radio Safalta 103.4 MHz is one of the private FM radio stations in Pokhara valley, the head quarter of Western Development Region of Nepal. It has been run by Safalta Media Pvt. Ltd , which is managed by an enthusiastic, experienced and qualified media professionals, dedicated to producing, broadcasting and managing ground-breaking radio prgrammes that are mostly semi commercials.
The station was inaugurated as an FM wave on 15 Mangsir 2067 B.S.( 2010A.D) ,and is stationed at Masbar, ward no 7 of Pokhara Sub-metropolis, a famous city, one of best tourist destinations in Nepal. Initially, it was set up with power of 100W and now it has been extended to 500W. It broadcasts 17 hours a day and has been popular for its prompt news various, current events and entertainment programs. Basically it focuses on news, entertainment, women’s empowerment, business and economics, sports, agriculture, health, sustainable development, gender equality, sustainable environment, human rights, good governance and other community issues.
Radio Safalta cherishes its mission through broadcasting voice to the voiceless people by respecting their right to information. The station believes this can be achieved by representing their views on issues of public concern through various radio programmes. Since its beginning, Radio Safalta has constantly increased its efforts to educate, inform and motivate general public through useful radio programmes to the target audience who vary from urban elite listeners to the rural people across Kaski, Syangja, Tanahu and Lamjung Parbat, Magdi , Dhading , Manag , Mustang and Gorkha Districts.
Each day, the radio program starts at 4: 55 am with a music melody for five minutes and it is followed by almost one hour program on religion and philosophy. Since the motto of the station is to assist communities to have access to information, it has been hourly broadcasting news and information about various events, activities and affairs of local, national and international arena. All together there are thirteen news bulletins from morning to late evening each day. Not only this, everyday from 7 :30 am to 8 am the station welcomes an invitee- an expert in a particular field of importance for live interview about a subject of public concern and help people get essential information. Periodical news updates on Tourism, health, employment and local community affairs, etc. are given special importance with a view that all audience in general and concerned people in particular in the related field would be benefited.
Radio Safalta has been appreciated by all age groups people for its special programs for children, women and youth. Information about commercial farming, inspiration for self employment generation for the unemployed, new probable market for the youth to explore, possible area of employment and career opportunities in the markets are presented as priority programs. Likewise, elderly people, experienced women in house affairs, grandmothers who represent pre- urban life of Nepali society are invited to share their experience to the younger generation through this F.M.waves. The station management has also paid due consideration on information media responsibility to contribute at different levels. In order to promote community-economic affairs, the station has been broadcasting programs such as ‘cooperatives in the communities’. The radio makes surveillance at different community affairs through its program like Tole-Tolema’ which literally means Safalta staff in different residences to observe and record. Not only civil affairs, the radio presents reports about Nepal Army and Police, traffic situation in the street and so on. Voice for human rights and the downtrodden is recorded to convey to the public and concerned authorities.
Mass media of modern era are not only the source of information of current world events and affairs, but they are also much effective channels of entertainment. Radio Safalta has given due importance on entertainment programs for different interest groups. From morning to evening the entertainment program such as ‘Folk Song Time’, Kolleywood Express, Song Choice on Collection, Pop Hits, ‘Halka ramailo’(light hearted fun), ‘Safalta Call Time’, Rock Rules, ‘Safalta’s Friend’, Friendship Link, Super Hits, Call Break, etc. are some of the entertainment programs related to music, songs and films. Similarly, Songs from Few Decades Before, Recent Songs and Gajal Time are some other entertainment programs that highlight quality music and power of great creativity, melody, words and cadence. In short, amalgamation of the old and new interest and creativity from the history of musical world of Nepali, Hindi and English speakers is well-considered in launching music program through the station.
The prime motto of Radio Safalta sounds is to change society in a positive manner and be the voice of the voiceless, poor weak and marginalized. Therefore, it has been broadcasting program to preserve the social, economic and cultural heritage of these people. This FM from the day of establishment has been a good friend of million individuals. It is estimated that there are more than one and half million of regular listeners of this station. The listeners are of all ages and walks of life. I think it has got such a success in such a short history of its struggle simply because it broadcasts smartly designed programs of light hearted funs, hard hitting daily news in hourly basis, maintains timely updates in every story of the current events and affairs in Nepal and abroad. The most remarkable feature of the station pivots on improving women’s active participation in decision and implementation process of every development activity of their communities. I am confident that Safalta FM will be a pride of nation in future.
Yog Raj Poudel