Solidarity comes alive on radio wave in Calcutta – Telegraph India

Kolkata News

A group of Calcuttans on Tuesday launched a community radio station to “bring back social solidarity to social isolation” in the wake of the lockdown because of the novel coronavirus.

Radio Quarantine Kolkata, the web-based station, was launched at 4pm. The programmes on Day 1 included story-reading sessions, an interview of a junior doctor on the virus and how it affected the daily lives of doctors and nurses, and diaries of ordinary citizens on social isolation.

Internet-based radio presents listeners with a continuous stream of audio, much like traditional broadcast media. FM radios, on the other hand, are limited to a geographical area.

For now, the operations are being handled by a team of 10 administrators. Since there is a ban on travel, the members are creating and uploading content from their homes on a free-to-use streaming platform.

“Some programmes are being repeated on the first day. As we expand our content base, we will not need repetition,” Sujaan Mukherjee, one of the persons behind the project, said.

One of the highlights of the day was the interview of a junior doctor of the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. The doctor spoke of his colleagues being denied rides by app cabs for “fear of Covid-19 transmission”. “Some of us are being asked to leave houses by landlords. These are the same people who clapped and clang utensils on Sunday evening,” the doctor told the interviewer.

The day’s and the station’s first programme was a 30-minute story-reading session by Mukherjee, who is researching on the Calcutta’s urban history at Jadavpur University.

A Class VII student did a podcast, reading a Bengali short story. “We plan to have a session by a ‘junior’ every day,” Mukherjee said.

A schoolteacher shared his experience of the lockdown in the first session of a series, titled “Diaries of isolation”, where “normal people will share what the lockdown means for them”.

A mixed bag of songs was played in between the sessions.

“We plan to have much more music from tomorrow (Wednesday). We are encouraging people to come up with curated lists of songs they would like to be played in these trying times,” Darshana Mitra, another administrator and a teacher at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, said.

The dashboard on Day 1 showed a sizeable audience, some from abroad, one of the organisers said.