India just got its first radio station for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Qradio, which launched in Bangalore at midnight on Tuesday, is a unique on-line radio platform that voices the advocacy, activism and lifestyle dialogue of the LGBT community.
Anil Srivatsa, CEO and co-founder of radiowalla.in, who launched the radio station, says while there are several NGOs, support groups and organisations for the LGBT community in India, they haven’t yet had a mainstream media platform.
“This is a platform that brings together all the LGBT groups together, as well as a space that would create awareness and acceptance about alternate sexuality, and sensitise non-LGBT people to it and bridge the gap between various sexualities,” Srivatsa explained.
He has been planning Qradio, his “pet project” for over a year now. He feels that families of LGBT persons, who often struggle to understand the issue or are homophobic, would find this channel useful to clear their doubts or apprehensions.
Besides music, the first week, starting Wednesday, will mainly have three shows: HQO: Celebrating gender fluidity with Vaishalli - coming out stories of LGBT people; Heart to Heart with Inner Sight - a counselling service; and LGBT (Let’s Get Beyond Ties) with John and Sandy.
“The LGBT population in India stands at two million. Yet they hardly find any mainstream acknowledgment. So, our programmes are mainly documentary features. We’ll have more talk, less music,” says Sunny Ahuja, general manager in charge of programming and operations.
In a week’s time, they will also air debates, discussions and programmes on various subjects affecting the LGBT community, including legal issues.
Well, not everything aired on Qradio will be on a serious note.
There will be fun shows on work, fashion and lifestyle. For example, Queerilicious with Romal, a live lifestyle show, will start next week. “This will be an entirely fun show, actually celebrating being queer,” host Romal Singh says.
The shows and music will be interspersed with nuggets of news and trivia from all over the world about or around alternate sexualities. For example, bits of information such as Oxford dictionary recently including a formal union between partners of the same sex to their definition of ‘marriage’, will be little value-adds for the listener.
Presently, English and Hindi will be used predominantly on air, but including programmes in regional languages is being worked on, as well.