India gets first radio station dedicated to gay community
LGTB community can now celebrate freedom of airwaves with a round-the-clock radio station dedicated specifically to them
‘Q Radio’ which started operating from Bangalore this September claims to be the first radio station in India that is tailored for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender audience.
“LGBT is a large special interest group left out of main stream media and social representation and this is a natural fit to our vision. The LGBT need media representation and a common ground to gather their thoughts and spread them from one place,” Anil Srivatsa, CEO and co-founder, Radiowalla.in, the mind behind the station said.
Radiowalla.in is an online radio portal operating over 30 channels, which try to cater to “under-served audiences”. Talking about how the idea of having a gay community specific radio station struck him, Srivatsa says, “This was in 2009 during the time I did my late night talk show ‘Between the sheets’ on which now does not exist, when one of my topics had to do with homosexual experiences.”
“This call-in talk show apparently made me the Gay Icon among the young Delhi gay population which of course I did not imagine until I was told. If one show meant so much to them then I am sure an entire channel dedicated to their perspectives would be a welcome development,” says Srivatsa.
According to Srivatsa, there is need for specialized content in the mainstream media but it is not necessary that the person not belonging to the ‘target audience’ can’t be a part of it hence Q radio will also be open to the ‘non-LGTB’ participants.
“Our content will focus on life in India from an LGBT perspective where non-LGBT participants can also interact wearing the same shades of the rainbow,” he says.
The team aims to creating a dialogue between various social groups to enhance the understanding about the LGTB community in the society.
“It will be a platform where even homophobes and perhaps fundamentalist groups against the community can get their own show and use that platform to reach out to the LGBT community to begin a dialogue socially,” Srivatsa says.
Srivatsa, who was earlier heading the women’s only radio station ‘Meow FM’ believes that this dialogue is the first step towards creating a better understanding between the various groups and also for the LGBT lot to get a better understanding of where that fear of them emanates from.
Sharing insights about the commercial aspect of Q Radio, Anil says, this is a commercial endeavor but funding comes from individuals via subscriptions, grants from NGOs, corporations.
“We have not approached mainstream advertisers as this is too early to engage with them. However, if we find a brand willing to invest in the community from ground up like we are, we would love to work with them and I am sure they will win the undying loyalty of the LGBT community for this,” he elaborates.
Srivatsa, who also made an entry in Limca book of Records in 2003 for his radio show called ‘Anil ki Awaaz,’ which became the largest syndicated South Asian Radio Show in North America, says Q Radio had been his ambition since years. “Q Radio idea was born out of an absolute ambition like I said to myself ‘one day I will start this” he says.