Kannadigas across the world will now be able to listen to radio shows made specially in different dialects of Kannada.
NammRadio, a Bengaluru-based digital Kannada radio station, recently launched weekend shows in Kannada dialects.
The channel said it has listeners in over 196 countries and the new shows will help them feel closer to home.
“There are so many people around the world who speak in various dialects of Kannada. There’s Sankethi, Kuntha Kannada, Havya Kannada, the North Karnataka Kannada and Havyaka dialect. They feel closer to home when they listen to their native tongue and we want to help them experience that,” RJ Varsha, who hosts some of the shows, said.
And the shows have already started to garner a following and the response, especially from abroad, has been encouraging.
Varsha said, “It’s amazing. Whether we like it or not, we identify ourselves with languages that we connect to. Although we’re all Kannadigas, we will connect to our own dialects, those jockeys and the radio station more. More than in India, the response from abroad is phenomenal because here we do find people who we can listen to or speak with someone in our dialect, but there it’s very hard to find that.”
The weekend shows that cater to the dialect-specific audience include talk shows of celebrities who speak a particular dialect. “Apart from talk shows, there are discussions on topics that are relevant to the dialect specific community. For example, the Havyakas are predominantly farmers. So, we have agricultural shows for them,” she added.
The people who organise and conduct the shows live in different countries. CEO of NammRadio, Avnidhar Hawaldhar, said, “The person who does the show in Sankethi dialect, Ashuthosh Dikshit, is placed in London. After his work everyday, he goes home, records his shows on his iPhone and sends it to us.”
Although the weekend shows are meant for a specific audience, the RJs said that they do make it a point to keep their regular listeners entertained.
“Over the weekend, we split the Kannada shows over three different streams. We distribute it in such a way that anyone who doesn't want to listen to a particular show can switch to another. Our App provides listeners with this feature,” added Avnidhar.
Apart from a few live shows, most of the NammRadio shows at present are pre-recorded. With over 35 staff members working from four different stations in Karnataka, the little-over-a-year-old station aims to go fully live in the future. They also plan to expand their streams for listeners in South-Asia and Australia in the coming years.
“Digital radio is going to change the future of radio in India. We expect it to become stable in the next few years. Digital stations are making good money and gives jobs to so many people in the country. NammRadio will be the first to have played its part in giving rise to this trend in Karnataka,” said Avnidhar.