| 30 May 2024
IIT Bombay students launch web campus radio

MUMBAI: Students of IIT Bombay have launched their own campus web based radio station.

The students were inspired by leading universities like MIT, Harvard and Yale that have their own successful on campus radio stations. Sajid Shariff, the general secretary of cultural affairs, IIT Bombay, says that they intend to provide the students through their LAN based radio station with a platform to voice their opinions, take part in debates and allow them to be more informed. The shows will include campus, city, national and international news, music, reviews of websites, information on books to read, gadgets, movies to watch, places and restaurants to hang out and extra-curricular activities. This is the first time a university in India has taken such an initiative.

As all the online radio content has to be pre-recorded and loaded onto the site there were actually no expenses involved except for buying the mics, laptop mixer, cords and headphones, says Sajid.

Sajid explains the minimal cost stating that there was no need to set up something as elaborate as a studio. The students use a room that goes by the name of Student Activity centre where shows are recorded. They use CDeep which is a technical support facility that takes care of networking and streaming on campus.

The response on campus to the online radio station has been really good so far, he says. Sajid reveals that the Professors and other faculty members are extremely interested in the radio station as they want to address issues and topics with the students through this forum. A lot of students on campus have offered to be RJ's for some of the shows and have also taken an active interest in providing ideas that different shows could be based on.

The primary objective the students have for the radio station is to be able to provide good quality content to the students and be able to maintain that quality throughout. They intend to keep the interest for the campus radio going with updates that students would genuinely be interested in knowing about such as top ten websites, top movies, gadgets and relevant issues both on campus and nationally.

A Steering committee has been set up which regulates and scans content before it is uploaded onto the online radio station. The committee comprises of a few students and teachers.10 people primarily manage the web based radio station at present and about 9 who are peripheral to its management.

Sajid says that at present they are looking to involve as many people as possible and make it an effort that most students on campus are involved with. They also want the radio station to keep evolving - they don't want to know where they are now but where they will be.

They have two original compositions from IIT bands on the website now and a whole list of campus bands that has been put on hold so there will be a lot of music featured on the radio station from on campus itself.

Speaking on the challenges that arose while trying to set up the radio station, Sajid says that there were a few difficulties in getting the approval by the dean for students and other faculty members. There was a lot of speculation on whether the radio station would end up something like Radio Mirchi which is aired on a pure entertainment basis alone. The faculty wanted the students to be able to benefit from the radio station in terms of information and discussing relevant academics related topics. So framing and formatting some of the shows to be aired were a challenge.

The students however were keen on a 75% information and 25% fun based radio station as opposed to one that was solely informative. Sajid explains that there is a widespread segment of people on campus that include PHD scholars, Mtech and Btech students, temporary and permanent faculty. So there was not one particular segment that they could target and so the content has to be relevant for everybody. The shows are not going to be restricted to only English and will also feature Hindi shows.

In terms of promotional activities that are being used to promote the radio station, mails that include updates on site are sent to all the students and posters have been put up in the hostel messes.

Comparing the way other universities handle their radio stations, Sajid says that the freedom of speech and expression is more in places like MIT. He elaborates stating that you can roast a professor on air of he does something wrong at MIT whereas that wouldn't be possible here as cultural values play a more important role in the Indian society. Though its done in good spirits abroad, respecting one's elders... is more important in India no matter what said or done.

Speaking on whether the campus radio station would feature other IIT university related news, Sajid says that they have no objections to doing so. He hopes that the radio station they've started sets the stage for other IITs to follow.

Sajid says that setting up the radio station was a task that required a group effort of both students and faculty. He went on to name Professor Gopolan, dean of student affairs, Professor Kundu, Professor Kannan, Rahul Deshmukh, the web coordinator (technical support facility) and fellow IIT senior students Rajat, Rutika and Ramdas.