Every morning at 7 am, about 40,000-60,000 people in and around the village of Tilonia in Ajmer district of Rajasthan, turn on their radio transistors and tune into 90.4 FM to listen to Norat Mal and Aarti Devi’s broadcast. Tilonia is a small village, with a population of about 7,500, located north east of Ajmer, about 50 kms away.
The village’s relationship with Tilonia Radio started on November 9, 2009, when Norat, who belongs to Tilonia, was helped by frugal community radio expert Raghav Mahto and four other men and women from Tilonia in setting up a makeshift broadcasting studio in Barefoot College’s Tilonia Craft shop.
Today a centre coordinator at CIRC Mansoorpur in district Vaishali of Bihar, Raghav used to be a radio repairman who learnt how to broadcast radio programmes by a hit-and-trial method. There, Raghav used to run an FM station from 2001 to 2006, which attracted thousands of listeners.