The very first radio channel for the visually impaired in the country, named “Radio Aksh”, was launched in Nagpur on Tuesday, April 12. The exclusive Internet radio channel will present and offer content suitable for these people and also created by them.
The 96-year-old city institution The Blind Relief Association Nagpur (TBRAN) and Samdrushti Kshamata Vikas Avam Anusandhan Mandal (Saksham) are pioneering the concept that will help visually impaired people easily access audiobooks and other forms of education. Resources.
In order to operate 24/7, Radio Aksh would initially have six hours of content which would be put on repeat mode four times a day. Later, the content will be increased to 24 hours per phase, said Makarand Pandharipande, chairman of TBRAN, according to India time.
“We have appealed to visually impaired artists, poets and writers to come up with the content. We are all ready to record and broadcast it as Radio Aksh will be their own platform,” Pandharipande added.
Substitute for audio books
This concept was created to replace the audiobooks provided by Samdrushti Kshamata Vikas Avam Anusandhan Mandal to the visually impaired on their digital devices, access to which has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.
Through this platform, educational resources covering a variety of topics are made available digitally by visually impaired people, who can access the vast bank of information from anywhere in the world. Unlike FM and AM radio, Internet radio technology is used, which has no geographical boundaries.
A dedicated team of trained volunteers, mostly women, help create content for the radio channel, which can be broadcast to visually impaired people across the country and the world. The complex and carefully executed processes of going through large amounts of content, editing audio, recording and making corrections do not hinder productivity and the feeling of bondage guides the entire team, ANI reported.
“In recent years, visually impaired people have been coming to us and having their audiobooks made by us on their digital devices. But COVID-19 has put all that on hold. It has severely affected their learning, so we had to think of a stand-by deal,” said Channel Coordinator and Samdrushti Kshamata Vikas Avam Anusandhan Mandal member Shirish Darvekar.
Mandal added that he learned about the launch of internet radio in India and got in touch with a software company for the same.
“Although our demands are unique to them, they have promised to cooperate. ‘Radio Aksh’ is perhaps the first internet radio for the visually impaired in India,” he said.
No geographical limit
“Unlike FM and AM radio, this format has no geographical limitations. All content is pre-recorded and we each have a presenter for different topics discussed on the radio. In addition, we have a team of 20 people, mostly women who are well trained and know their job well, no one gets paid, they all work for free and have a feeling of servitude,” Mandal explained.
He pointed out that their channel was limited but received a huge response from people and said that the service would be more widespread in the coming days. Currently, the channel is available on Play Store and through Zeno Radio on Apple devices.
“Within a few days, we have almost 161 listeners. That paints a very encouraging picture,” he said.
One of the volunteers working for the channel said, “Doing such services for the visually impaired gives me immense joy. They can study from the comfort of their homes through Radio Aksh. I have free time for this internet radio and I contribute an hour or two to my schedule at noon every day.”
One of the beneficiaries of Radio Aksh pointed out that the radio channel was a great alternative because books in braille script are not always available.
“Now we will gather more information and our studies will become easier. he added.
Such special internet radio channels are already operating in the US, UK and other countries. In India, specialized radio channels for people with disabilities are only live on online platforms. But Radio Aksh is the first channel exclusively for the visually impaired.
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