In Melbourne’s vibrant Indian community, community radio isn’t just background noise – it’s an integral part of daily life. Wilma Serrao, a PhD candidate from Manipal Academy of Higher Education, recently delved into the working dynamics of Indian radio stations in Melbourne as part of the Australia India Research Students (AIRS) Fellowship program. Here, she sheds light on the role of Indian radio in fostering a sense of community.
What motivated you to explore Indian radio stations in Australia, particularly as part of the Australia India Research Students (AIRS) Fellowship program?
My PhD research at Manipal Academy of Higher Education is focused on the impact of media on migrant communities residing in the United Arab Emirates. The AIRS Fellowship program provided a unique opportunity to gain a global perspective by studying Indian diaspora communities in Australia.
In Australia, and particularly Melbourne where my study was focused, the number of Indian radio stations has increased due to increased listenership and a move to digital broadcasting. This presented an excellent opportunity to explore how Indian radio stations contribute to the cultural fabric and fostering a sense of community among the diaspora.
What did your Fellowship entail?
I was hosted by Deakin University at the School of Communication and Creative Arts. My time was predominantly spent immersing myself in Melbourne's Indian radio scene and engaging with the local Indian community. Interacting directly with Melbourne's Indian community, whether through interviews or events, offered valuable insights into interpersonal dynamics, social structures, and community relationships.
I studied how the Indian community engaged with radio programs, considering factors such as language, content relevance, and audience participation.