Case Studies


This is just a glimpses or flashback of Corona attack, as seen from the perspective of our Community Radio. We run Sarathi Jhalak 90.4, a Community Radio in Hoskote, Bengaluru rural which is close to the high-tech Whitefield suburb of Bangalore. Our Radio Station is seven years old, and enjoys good listenership and popularity in its broadcast areas of Hoskote and Malur.

In 2020, the Corona virus was identified in China, and then began is spread around the world, and eventually to India. The first few months of Corona virus in India were very stressful, as we ourselves were unable to understand the virus. In this situation, producing programs on the virus and its impact from multiple perspectives was a professional challenge. The early months of March, April and May 2020 were filled with chaos and uncertainty on all fronts. Initially, though our listeners tried to understand the intensity of the virus but failed. At that time, there was hardly any seriousness in our listeners to perceive and it was just another exclusive program even for our Program producer G Sunil. But within a few days, situation in Wuhan worsened, regional channels started highlighting the situation continuously without authentic health inputs, which was misleading its viewers.

Slowly, the new word Covid 19 started circulating in the months of April and May, 2020. After understanding some emerging facts on Corona, we decided to produce a program on Covid 19 with Dr Someshwar in first week of March, much before WHO pandemic declaration. As we tried to understand these new words, we were also slowly becoming anxious, uncertain about our health situation in rural areas and clueless regarding treatment, precautions etc.

I as a professional, desperately searched for additional information and repercussions of this virus which multiplied our professional responsibility. By then, WHO declared Covid 19 as Pandemic on March 11th.Immediately, the Delhi government declared partial lockdown, followed by the Karnataka government. It was a shock to see the total shutdown of educational institutions, entertainment programs, malls and multiplexes etc. We started doing programs on these developments butwere ourselves quite ignorant about the novel Corona virus at that point of time. Much before the first lockdown of 22nd March, we had produced a program on Corona virus, how this virus is dangerous and infectious with Dr Vijayalakshmi Balakundri. The first lockdown on 22nd Sunday was a trial run without any intensity in the Community. Later, India declared lockdown from 25th of March for 21 days.

By then, we had decided to produce programs in three different phases. We had started doing programs on medical perspective like local health services, police role and responsibilities, protocols to be followed, free food counters, rations distribution centres, roped local administration and MLAs, Grama Panchayath, ASHA and Anganawaadi workers, interacting with communities etc.

Simultaneously, we broadcast programs on Mental Health with psychiatrists, psychologists, and emotional counsellors. Dr P Rajani, Deputy Director of Health, Government of Karnataka started her first program, later we planned series of programs with emotional counsellors on multiple perspectives like stigma, anxiety disorder, nutrition etc.

Similarly, we also started addressing livelihood issues with the business and commerce organizations like FKCCI, economists and financial experts about savings.

We saw that the mainstream media, focusing on the day-to-day progression and statistics of the pandemic, ignored the critical facets of understanding the issue from health and community perspective, providing health tips, guiding viewers on livelihood. Sarathi Jhalak continuously addressed these various issues at different phases of the pandemic. Meanwhile, UNICEF roped with us. This also equally matters for our more meaningful programs. Slowly we Sarathi Jhalak team became more innovative and learnt efficiently addressing these unexpected issues.

We Sarathi Jhalak probably the first media to address sharp increase in violence against women during pandemic in last week of April. National media had carried stories on VOW, National Women’s Commission and UN reports but Karnataka perspective stories were missing in by mainstream media. Women and Child welfare department forced to start a Telephonic counselling for women and families with the coordination of Police. We did the first program on this with then Joint Director Revathi M. Later, dailies carried the story.

By end of April 2020, we started addressing the issues faced by pregnant women, children, elderly members in the family, depression, violence systemically. 

Likewise, we also started doing programs on Atma Nirbhar budget and roped MSME departments, financial institutions etc. Now, we have accepted the situation, learning to live with the situation and converting bleak memories into a positive thought is our Sarathi Jhalak’s new Mantra. During this pandemic period, we became more innovative, digitally empowered AND explored new avenues.

In December 2019, watching news about Wuhan and a new virus called Corona, it was a distant news for us. It was just a human story for us. Their health situation and people’s miseries, for us, was just evoking sympathy. We had no idea then of how swiftly things would change. *Corona* a new word emerged in the world dictionary and our vocabulary.

Now, even after and during the second wave, we continued to broadcast issues related Covid with additional information provided by Indian Council for Medical Research, WHO and experts opinion from Karnataka. Even now we are engaged with UNICEF, NITI AYOG, AYUSH, Government of India, UNDP etc. Education, alternative work profile, Vaccine Hesitancy, Mental health and Livelihood are given much priority. Various organisations like Lions Club and other philanthropic organisations are engaging with us in our both Out Reach and Radio programs.  We are producing more than 8 hours programs in a week, surveying with communities every week, creating short audio video clippings to educate people on Covid related issues has become a NEW NORMAL / ATMA NIRBHAR STYLE OF PROGRAMMING.