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Community Radio for Social Development. Balachandran C. Technical Architect Gram Vaani Community Media Pvt. Ltd. AIT, Bangkok. Community Radio Stations. Radio Stations that cater to the needs of groups of people with shared interests. Mandate of being for the people.

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Community Radio for Social Development


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community radio for social development

Community Radio for Social Development

Balachandran C.

Technical Architect

Gram Vaani Community Media Pvt. Ltd.

AIT, Bangkok

community radio stations
Community Radio Stations
  • Radio Stations that cater to the needs of groups of people with shared interests.
  • Mandate of being for the people.
  • Typically, they serve the local community – say, a group of villages within 20 km radius of the station.
  • They try to fulfill needs in public health, economic, social and cultural spheres.
community radio stations1
Community Radio Stations
  • Health

Lectures on Hygiene, Information on Immunization drives, Women’s health

  • Economic needs

Job opportunities in the nearby cities, Provide knowledge on locally dominant economic activities (agriculture, weaving, fishing)

  • Political

Local governance, Political debates

  • Cultural

Preserving local dialects, art forms, oral tradition

  • Educational
distinguishing features
Distinguishing Features
  • Mandate of serving the people sets the agenda
    • Profitability takes the back seat
  • Restricted footprint for a given station
  • Community members play a major role in content creation.
  • Reliance on volunteers.
  • Rules and regulations tend to enforce these aspects in some countries. (e.g. India)
effectiveness in rural areas
Effectiveness In Rural Areas
  • Speaks the local language
  • Illiteracy is not a barrier
  • Physically accessible. Cheaper to access.
  • Employs local people, hence easier to approach them
  • Rural people are more likely to be heard
  • Access to radio sets in households or at the local restaurant / public place.
    • Mobile phones come with inbuilt radio receivers
  • Quick and easy access to the listeners during emergencies
cr movement
CR Movement
  • Nature of the movement varies across countries
  • Three examples
    • Nepal
    • Thailand
    • India
nepal
Nepal
  • One official language and about 90 more recognized regional languages.
  • There are currently about 150 active stations, which cover a significant part of Nepal.
  • No legal distinction between CR Stations and commercial stations.
  • Unifying theme is to promote social justice and social change.
nepal radio sagarmatha
Nepal – Radio Sagarmatha
  • Radio Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) setup in 1997.
    • First in South Asia
  • Broadcasts in Nepali as well as many ethnic languages
    • Newari, Maithali, Tamang…
  • Emphasizes political freedom
    • Freedom of expression
    • Right to information for the citizen
  • Temporarily closed due to airing politically sensitive interviews.
  • Significant role in pushing Nepal towards democracy.
    • Nepal became a Federal Democratic Republic in 2008
nepal radio sagarmatha1
Nepal – Radio Sagarmatha
  • Very active, broadcasting for 18 hours daily, from 5.00am to 11.00pm.
  • Transmitting power has gone up from 100w to 1kw.
  • They have established a network of about 50 CR stations.
  • They claim a regular listenership of 2.5 million people, with programs being relayed to even more
nepal radio sagarmatha2
Nepal – Radio Sagarmatha
  • Outgrown its role of serving the local community.
  • They are very much still a CR Station.
  • Listeners are invited to walk-in to the station, and interact with the producers.
  • Palpable impact on Nepalese society
    • National Politics
    • Policy making
    • Sensitizing society to issues like gender inequality
    • Rescue and rehabilitation efforts – fires, floods and landslides (2002, 2008)
thailand
Thailand
  • Constitution of 1997 laid the foundation
  • Number of CR Stations picked up after 2002
  • The agency responsible for distributing broadcast rights was not yet setup, leaving a bureaucratic loophole.
  • Currently estimated to be more than 3000
  • Predominantly rural
  • Political developments are expected to affect their functioning.
thailand1
Thailand
  • Made use of by environmental campaigns, anti-mining campaigns in Udon Thani
  • Rural empowerment
  • Political mobilization, Espousing democratic values
  • There are anecdotes about how it has spread goodwill across the Thai-Laoitian border
  • They have been effective in supporting minority ethnic communities, by speaking their language and voicing their opinions.
  • Emergency response and rehabilitation
india
India
  • First laws in 2002
    • Recognized Educational Institutions only. (Campus Radio)
  • By 2006
    • NGOs and Civil Society Organizations with a good track record
    • NGOs must have been active for at least 3 years.
    • Not allowed to broadcast news.
    • Limitation on funding
  • Currently, about 50 GoPs (Grant of Permission) have been issued, the vast majority to educational institutions.
  • Country with 18 major languages, thousands of dialects spread over 600,000 villages.
india1
India
  • Namma Dhwani (2002) CMC
    • SHGs
    • Narrowcasting – cassettes, loud speakers, cable connection to classroom, direct to home
    • Put pressure on local government to solve problems related to drinking water, drainage and street lights
    • Women’s empowerment
  • First FM CR stations setup in 2008,
    • Radio Sangham (AP) – run by local women’s collective
    • Radio Bundelkhand (MP) setup by the NGO - Development Alternatives.
radio bundelkhand
Radio Bundelkhand
  • Financial support from NGO
  • Staff
    • Couple of people with professional experience
    • Reporters - young people, volunteers
  • Received training on interviewing techniques – not much on the technical aspects of content production
  • Subsistence agriculture practiced in the region. Programmes on agriculture are popular
  • Programmes on lives of people in the community, culture and heritage, job opportunities, Bundeli Idol
  • “We are not investigative reporters!”
cr movement in developed world
CR Movement in Developed World
  • Australia (450)
  • Sweden (150) out of 290 local communities
  • UK (150) in 5 years
  • Pacifica Network in USA (150)
  • Canada (90)
  • Shared characteristics – Access, Volunteerism, Diversity, Localism, Independence, Public Media
challenges
Challenges
  • Policy
    • Bureaucracy in licensing
  • Financial sustainability
    • Capital, Operating
  • Training
    • Technical, Content creation
  • Ownership & Accountability
    • NGO vs. Community
    • How it influences the station – Voice, Agenda
operational challenges
Operational Challenges
  • Sustaining volunteers
  • Maintaining Equipment
  • Unreliable Infrastructure
    • Internet connection
    • Power Supply
  • Quality sources of content
    • Language barrier
  • Lack of co-operation from local government bodies
  • Vested interests
social challenges
Social Challenges
  • Inclusion / Exclusion based on narrow definitions of community
  • Organizational Structure of the station affects its direction
    • Who has a voice in steering its direction?
  • Partisanship – ethnic, religious, casteism
  • Local culture
    • Medium used purely for entertainment
how can technology help
How can technology help?
  • Participation
    • Increased
    • Equitable – rich/poor, literate/illiterate
  • Funding
    • Enabling commerce like an application for a market place
    • Suitable commercials
  • Interactivity
how can technology help1
How can technology help?
  • Bring CR closer to the people
    • Speakerphone booths – town halls, schools
    • Debates, games
    • Call-ins to the station
    • IVR for accessing content and leaving opinions/questions
    • Use internet for live streaming, offline access
      • Long distance Wi-Fi links, KioskNet
  • Need to keep it low cost!
slide30

Speaker-phone booths in different areas and villages

  • Discussions
  • Antakshari
  • Games
  • Inter-village communication

Panchayat

School

Meena community

Gurjar community

design criteria
Design Criteria
  • Fault tolerance
    • Hardware and software will fail
    • Rest of the system should work
    • Try our best to recover
  • Flexibility
    • There is no unique set of requirements applicable to all CR Stations
    • System should provide the best performance for available resources
  • Geographical distribution of resources
    • Connect to other CR stations, content providers, maybe even the local cable operator
service oriented architecture
Service Oriented Architecture

Widgets

Providers

Network

Services

slide34
IPC

Controller Machine

Server

Node Stub

Node

Service Machine

Server Stub

Node

slide35
IPC
  • Any addressable node implements IPCNode, has a unique name
  • Synchronous messages – RPC
  • Asynchronous messages
  • Persistent messages
sample configuration
Sample Configuration

UI Machine

Controller

Resource Manager

Playout Service

UI Service

Servlet

IPCServer

SBC

Preview Service

Archiver Service

Library Service

Index Service

Monitor Service

Servlet

resource manager
Resource Manager
  • Availability of resources
    • Resource Table
      • Resource Name -> (Type, MachineID, State, List of holders, Persistent Requests)
    • Resource Reservation
    • Resource Interests – Notification
  • Link Monitor
playing media
Playing Media

Playlist Controller

PlayoutProvider

IPC Server

Audio Service

GStreamer

API: play(file-id)

Create IPC message

PLAY file-id

Forward the message

PLAY file-id

Create session and Invoke GStreamer

API: play(filename)

SUCCESS or FAILURE

return value

STATUS code

STATUS code

API: Callback(status)

archiving media
Archiving Media

Controller

Archiver Provider

IPC Server

Archiver Service

Index Service

API: startArchive()

Create IPC message

START ARCHIVE

Forward the message

START ARCHIVE

Invoke GStreamer

API: updateIndex

STATUS code

STATUS code

API: Callback(status)

robustness
Robustness
  • Need
    • Rural setting – lack of experts, difficult to reach
  • Approach
    • Error Avoidance
      • Testing, Extensive Logging, Log shipping for continuous monitoring
    • Error Isolation
      • Errors in one service should not affect functionality of others
    • Proactive Checking
      • Heartbeats
    • Diagnostics for hardware
    • Error Recovery
diagnostics
Diagnostics
  • Network connections
    • Ping
  • Audio connections
    • Check for audio levels
    • Distortions
  • Give feedback (graphical) to the user.
error recovery
Error Recovery
  • Hardware Errors
    • Encourage users to use diagnostics before using the system
  • Network disruption
    • Timely detection
    • Important messages – Persistent messages
  • Service crashes
    • Wrapper scripts to bring them back up
    • Registration IDs for instances help in maintaining state consistency
    • Notifications
  • Content
    • Backup & restore
audio errors
Audio Errors
  • Noise
  • Clipping
    • Adjust gains
  • Clicks
alsa parameters
ALSA Parameters
  • Sample Rate
    • 8kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz
  • Period Size
    • Size (in bytes) of data written to the soundcard at a time.
  • Buffer Size
    • Size of buffer expressed in the number of Period Size worth of data
  • Interface type
    • hw:0
    • plughw:0
    • default:0

Buffer Size

Latency Size

data path
Data Path

Archiving

Sound Card

ALSA

GStreamer

Playout

GStreamer

ALSA

Sound Card

Monitor

SoundCard

ALSA

GStreamer

ALSA

SoundCard

audio quality
Audio Quality

Audio Quality

Clicks

Latency

IRQ Rates

CPU Utilization

Buffer Size

Period Size

Archiver

Playout

Monitor

Encoding

Resampling

Archiver

Playout

Monitor

audio quality1
Audio Quality
  • 40ms in delay insensitive streams
  • 10ms in delay sensitive streams
experience at bundelkhand
Experience at Bundelkhand
  • Playlist management
  • Content management
  • Validating fault tolerance
more than just radio
More Than Just Radio
  • Dial-in to the station for live commenting
  • IVR system for offline commenting, and to access archived content
  • Text messaging for personal messages, audience feedback, and polls/surveys
  • Internet connectivity for live streaming and offline sharing of content
slide56

Community media

Leverage the existing infrastructure of radio, cable TV, and telephone networks to deliver interactive community media applications

uniplanar applications
Uniplanar applications

Communication planes

Uniplanar applications

Internet plane

Email

Voice communication, SMS

Telephone plane

Radio broadcast

Radio plane

multiplanar applications
Multiplanar applications

Communication planes

Multiplanar applications

Google Voice: Read voicemail over the Web

Internet + Telephone planes

Interactive radio through dial-in support

Telephone + Radio planes

why multiplanar applications
Why multiplanar applications?
  • A single plane is not sufficient
    • Economic context
      • Broadband Internet is not available everywhere
      • But a rich and diverse local communication infrastructure of radio stations, cellphones, and cable TV is widespread
    • Social context
      • Everybody is not literate
  • Need to capture the best features of each plane to build novel applications
multiplanar communication
Multiplanar communication

The MINP platform can leverage available infrastructure to deliver rich community media applications

Community media

Distance learning

Agri consultancy

Solns

Videos

Slides

Playout

Archive

Online

Offline

Search

Share

Services

Television

Audio

Telephony

Content

CATV

Radio

PSTN and Cellular

Internet

Infrastructure

60

a platform oriented approach
A platform oriented approach
  • MINP allows us to build novel applications for different verticals that can:
    • Simultaneously use radio, telephone, television, and the Internet
    • Leverage existing infrastructure
    • Work with different agencies in the value chain in a seamless manner

Example verticals

  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Community media

a

b

c

61

education
Education

a

  • MINP can be configured to support distance learning from study centers of educational institutions to local cable TV operators in the area

62

agriculture
Agriculture

b

  • MINP can be used to support applications for agricultural consultancy and community marketplaces in a novel manner

63

community media
Community media

c

  • MINP can enable the delivery of community media in a low-cost and appropriate manner

64

system design 1 3 one box automation platform at media outlets
System design 1/3: One-box automation platform at media outlets

Apps

Info broadcast

Education

Marketplace

Online

Offline

Syndicate

Video

Playout

Archiver

Search

Telephony

Platform services

CATV headend

Library on HDD

FXO card

SIP

FM transmitter

IP network

Cable network

Radio broadcast

PSTN or Cellular

Infrastructure

Broadband

WiFi mesh

Lo3 mesh

system design 2 3 example of voice connectivity paths
System design 2/3: Example of voice connectivity paths

E1 cards with toll free numbers

Syndication over PSTN-to-SIP

FXO card, but no Internet

Landline within community

Syndication over PSTN voice call

Phone calls to media outlet

Only Internet

Lo3 calls to media outlet

End-device: PSTN phones

No landline within community

End-device: PSTN phones with ATA

system design 3 3 example of data connectivity paths
System design 3/3: Example of data connectivity paths

Central library

Offline synchronization

No Internet, local library

Online synchronization

Informal local information collection through USB recorders, mobile phone cameras, Android applications, etc

Internet available

Informal local information collection

overarching technology goals
Overarching technology goals

Goals

Meeting the goals

Open architecture and protocols

Seamless integration of different planes

Easy installation and configuration

Low cost

Robust

Flexible to deploy in different settings

Scalable

Multiplanar Application Management Protocol

Service API

Pre-configured boxes, plug-n-play

Off-the-shelf equipment and SBCs

Rigorous testing

Individual services are distributable on different machines, different platforms

Focus on scalability right from the beginning

research challenges 1 2
Research challenges (1/2)
  • Versatile setup and protocols for a multiplanar Internet
    • Automatic device and service discovery
    • Application development transparent to underlying infrastructure
    • Low-cost integration with locally available communication planes
  • Multiplanar node naming and addressing
    • Phone number, IP address, flat/hierarchical name?
    • Lookup service accessible through multiple channels?
  • Routing algorithms
    • Stream routing: Construction of multicast tree instances? Cost, fairness
    • Routing of recorded content: Time varying graph in disconnected environments? Latency, load, urgency
research challenges 2 2
Research challenges (2/2)
  • Establishment of routing tables
    • Control channel over IP, or out-of-band DTMF, SMS?
  • Content forwarding
    • Streams identified by callerid?
    • Recorded content identified by provenance, metadata predicates?
  • Content discovery
    • Centralized or distributed index?
    • Multilingual search and indexing?
  • Low-costand low-power consumption
    • CPU scaling Vs temperature, IRQ reduction Vs buffer latency
    • Duty cycling