Will Karachi University, Szabist and other campus radio stations ever begin transmission?
For several years now I have been a proponet of Community and Campus Radio – ever since I was first introduced to it by my friends Vickram Crishna and Arun Mehta from Radiophony. They have now been evangelising Low Power Radio in India for some years and have even helped to set up village stations where the village people have been producing their own programs.
Although Community Radio is something that will not take off in Pakistan until we can convince PEMRA that low power stations are a great means of communication and empowerment for the rural areas, I was glad to see that campus radio was beginning to take off with the Punjab University, the Peshawar University, Szabist and Karachi University applying for licenses.
I don’t know if Szabist have got their license yet but KU has had it for over a year and in fact PEMRA have warned them that if they do not launch the station soon, their license might be cancelled.
So what is the delay? Apparently they are waiting for the Institute of Mass Communication building to be complete. The construction has been in the works for about 15 years or so and millions of rupees have been spent on it.
Water and electricity is the problem it seems. With the amount of money that they have received from the Feroze Ahmed Trust, the HEC, etc. it is really surprising why the project is in a go-slow mode. Students have in fact received training from Radio Pakistan as well but the wait continues ….
As for Szabist, that is apparently a political issue.
My take on all this is that first of all the license fee for campus radio is too high, and secondly, why should the entire process be so difficult? Creating radio programming requires creativity and passion more than it does money. Why can’t the transmission of KU begin from the main campus and shift to this “white elephant” if it is ever complete. Let the kids create programming, share information and knowledge and entertain each other. Shouldn’t that be the main consideration?
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