The Leeds-based community radio service – Rangoli Radio – is all about serving the diaspora and bringing the community together. Broadcasting via fully internet-based transmissions, hence eliminating the need for studio spaces, Rangoli Radio currently boasts over 300 diverse and wide-ranging shows and over seven thousand listeners across 112 countries around the world.
iGlobal caught up with two of the radio’s founding members and directors, Narhari Joshi and Rashik Parmar, to learn more about the initiative, its journey since its launch in 2021 and its future plans.
“When we first set out, it soon became clear that we had no idea what went into actually creating a radio station. We had no training, we didn’t know how a radio show was built, or how the presenters are trained,” recollects Parmar about how it started.
The idea of creating a new collection of radio programmes - which are all digitally produced and broadcasted, and which will cater to a range of communities and age groups - surfaced in 2020. Soon after, leading digital audio broadcasting (DAB) platform, Leeds Digital Media, began work to build a new multiplex, named Leeds DAB, which would open opportunities to new and smaller-scaled radio stations.
Although this became one of the inspirations for the creators of Rangoli Radio, it was not the only one.
“During the pandemic, it became clear that there was widespread isolation in the community, especially among the elderly population, who relied heavily on local temples for socialisation and support. Something needed to be done to tackle this and this was definitely one of the big reasons for the radio.”
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Today, the platform brings together 27 trained presenters from all walks of life and all parts of the world. Ranging from full time professionals from fields like banking, psychiatry, education to business owners, housewives or retired people with valuable experience – the presenters all conduct their shows from home, thanks to DAB technology. Although all presenters are volunteers, Joshi and Parmar are proud of the fact that the radio - which follows strict adherence to Ofcom regulations - has successfully delivered high quality content which they term as not just entertainment but also “serious entertainment.”
“Some shows like ‘Mere Papa Ki Blue Diary’ are reflective, ‘Aap Ki Pasand’ is Bollywood songs, some are about religion and spirituality, such as the daily ‘Aarti’ show and so on,” elaborated Joshi.
But Rangoli Radio’s work goes beyond just a variety of issues. What matters most to this team is raising awareness of issues the diaspora communities. Recently, Rangoli Radio worked closely with NHS to raise awareness about blood and organ donation. The issue is especially important for ethnic minorities whose blood types can sometimes be rare and found only within others of their own ethnic communities.
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Talking about some exciting new projects lined up for the radio, Parmar told iGlobal about the partnership between their show ‘Gaata Hai Mausam,’ and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which will be exploring the links between music and spirituality in depth in the coming days. Another project will see them collaborate with Yorkshire Children’s Centre - a charity which supports underprivileged children and young people – and work closely with young people, introducing them to radio broadcasting, allowing them to develop new skills and providing a platform for their stories.
With inspiring projects and shows capturing all aspects of not just the diaspora but the wider British community, Rangoli Radio’s ever growing reach and positive impact in the society is an inspirational story.
*Info: Rangoli Radio