Patna, Sep 8: In a major digital push, recently, Prasar Bharati got more than 260 of its all All India Radio Stations, Doordarshan Kendras and their regional news units on Twitter. Out of these, All India Radio station of Darbhanga, a small district in Bihar, is making the most of all social media platforms.
Mr. Randhir Thakur (34), Programme Co-coordinator, at AIR Darbhanga is the man behind connecting the good old broadcaster with today's youth using social media.
Mr. Thakur, who worked in Indian Navy for 15 years, is doing it all alone from his smartphone. Giving a breath of fresh air to the listeners of All India Radio Darbhanga, this highly motivated young man is using all social media platforms in the most creative ways to make All India Radio stay connected with the smartphone generation.
In fact, his ability to deftly use new media digital tools has pushed the local content beyond Bihar. OneIndia spoke to Randheer Thakur about his passion for radio, the interplay between radio and social media, and his strategy to make local content popular in the country.
Q: What do you think of the popularity of radio?
Randhir Thakur: The popularity of Radio was on the decline, but this broadcasting device has not vanished completely. People prefer listening to radio programmes in rural areas. In fact, Mann Ki Baat by our PM has taken the radio to a new height. Now, urban listeners are coming back to radio.
We thought of innovative ideas to take programmes to people, mostly youngsters. Our PM talks about a big push to 'Digital India'. Hence, we chose social media to reach a larger audience.
Q. How are you attracting listeners to radio programmes?
Our experiment is not just confined to social media. We are using different digital tools, sound cloud, Youtube channel to promote programmes. We make short and crisp videos to present our ideas as per the requirements of programmes before the programmes go air.
For instance, slides, music and background score to attract a number of people to follow our programmes.
Q: How is the interplay between smartphones and radio?
A. We are using every possible means to reach our listeners. After China India is the second largest in the world in numbers of mobile-phone users. In Bihar, every second person has mobile. We capitalized on this idea that if a person has a mobile he will come to know about our programme.
During the 'Outdoor Broadcast' programme we observed that people may not have a radio but they have mobile phones. Hence, we thought of using social media platforms and new media tools to reach listeners.
Q: What is your social media Strategy?
It is very important to prioritize our programmes. We plan well before the promotion on social media. AIR Darbhanga doesn't have a dedicated social media team. I started my own on my smartphone with the support of two youngsters. The AIR Darbhanga would not have been successful without support by Prasar Bharti CEO and my seniors.
Q: How is the listeners' response, demands on social media?
A. We have not received a single complaint regarding the content of programmes. We serve at best to fulfil our listeners' requests. We have been on Facebook for a long time, but it has been only three months since we are on Twitter. AIR Darbhanga has over 2500 likes in three months.
The Facebook page has more than lakh likes. Besides, on Soundcloud account, we have been heard 2900 times. We are very much appreciated for deft use of Twitter handle. Veteran radio journalist applauded our effort.
Q: How is the impact of social media on the reach of radio programmes?
Though programmes are not only meant for youths, we are popular amongst different age-group. AIR Darbhanga is followed by listeners of entire North Bihar 9 district., known as Mithilanchal belt. With the use of social media and digital tools, our programmes have gone outside this region.
We received tweets from other states, Bengal, Mumbai. One follower said from Maulana Abul Kalam University in Hyderabad said he was happy to follow our programmes in Maithili. Especially, short story programme is liked by people outside Bihar. Taking local content to national and global audience is our motto.