RJ Priyanka stands tall and full of pride. She has the distinction of being the first transgender RJ of the country (on air since May 2010) and through her work and activism, represents the Sexual Minorities Community with extraordinary sensitivity and openness. She launched and hosts the show called ‘Yari Varu’ which focuses on issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, including sexual harassment, problems relating to employment, lack of housing facilities, and more. She is also actively involved in the day-to-day management of the radio station.
Fondly called the ‘Drama Queen of Radio Active’, RJ Priyanka has been a finalist for two years at the prestigious Namma Bengaluru Awards (2013- 2014 and 2014-2015). She won the ‘Suvarana State Award’ and ‘Yuva Sadheke Award” in the year 2015 for her consistent contribution in empowering members of the sexual minorities community. She has been featured in multiple publications and interviewed by many TV and radio stations. She has also acted in a short film titled ‘Jayanagara 4th Block’, in a television serial called ‘Suryakaanti’ that was broadcast on Zee Kannada, and in a play titled ‘Mohinibasmasura’. She has also participated in reality programs ‘Pekkin Express’, ‘Divided’, ‘Matandre Mathu’, to name just a few!
RJ Auto Shiv Kumar
Shiv Kumar is an auto-driver by profession and a poet at heart. Following an invitation to be interviewed at the station, he took up the opportunity of becoming the voice of the auto driver community! In 2010, his first weekly live show called Mukha Mukhi debuted and created a common platform for discussions between the auto-driver community and the general public. The show has addressed a range of issues from faulty meters, road aggression, and customer treatment to health and nutrition, occupational hazards, family issues, dealings with the RTO and the traffic police. The show ran successfully till June 2015. He then launched a new show titled ‘Mathandrae Mathu Manadalada Mathu to capture stories of auto drivers, interesting encounters with passengers and a sneak peek into the personal lives of the rickshaw drivers. This show is recorded at various auto stands in the city. He has also produced another show titled ‘Gurukula Budhukina Hadi’.
RJ Auto Shiv Kumar’s story has been extensively covered by various publications and TV channels. In the past he has also won the Honesty Award from the Bangalore Traffic Police Commissioner. He was also a finalist at the Namma Bengaluru Awards 2012. He has the unique distinction of being the world’s first Autodriver RJ.
Children dominate RJ Manjula’s radio universe. She hosts and produces the kids’ special show called ‘Chinnara Chilipili’, which helps our youngest listeners voice their ideas on literature, happenings around them, and more. She has also led a special radio series that brought back to life old, local Kannadiga games that have slowly disappeared from children’s lives. A sub-series initiated by her helps children engage with ideas through Kannada puzzles.
RJ Manjula has been an integral part of the storytelling outreach and competition project that Radio Active and its partners realise every year, attracting hundreds of students from around the city. She was part of the planning and execution committee of the first-ever Read Aloud Festival held in partnership with the Buguri Community Libraries and Hasirudala in February 2019. She is also the host of ‘Masada Kai’, which focuses on the workplace struggles and needs of domestic workers in the city.
A resident of Dasarahalli, RJ Manjula’s community connect is strong and she is known as the radio girl throughout her neighbourhood. Aside from her hosting duties, RJ Manjula takes on an enviable load of editing and final production work, making her one of the strongest audio editors in the Radio Active fold.
RJ Asha is the host of ‘Behind the Label’, a show that brings to light the life and workplace concerns of garment workers in the city. These decidedly gendered issues of the mostly-female workforce include low and unequal wages, intense production stress, sexual harassment, lack of safety procedures, and nutritional gaps. RJ Asha helps feed the show with pertinent concerns through her strong connections with the Garment Labour Union (GLU).
RJ Radha Mani
RJ Radha is a soft-spoken force of nature. She has been a passionate voice of the PLHIV (People Living with HIV) community for over 5 years. Through her mainstay show, ‘Chigurida Badaku’, she features the life-stories of persons living with HIV/AIDS, often focusing on how financial disadvantage compounds their access to ART services and healthy living. Through a wide network of NGOs and hospitals, she has presented shows centred on the need for privacy and respect when it comes to patients, social schemes that benefit them, and The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act of India, 2017.
Through another show titled ‘Ganatheya Dudimegagi’, she brings forth the concerns and challenges of persons from the sexual minorities’ communities. The episodes document important human rights stories concerning sex work and sex workers, including police violence, lack of social acceptance and protection, violence perpetrated by clients, and their precarious family lives.
RJ Radha hosted the show, ‘Active Srirampura’ for many years, documenting the area’s typical culture, happenings, workers, and communities.
RJ Radha’s radio profile is inextricably connected to her advocacy work. She is a senior activist at the Bangalore HIV Forum and is the Secretary at Arunodaya Network, in charge of district-level activities. A strong proponent of diversity at the workplace, she also advocates for hiring of PLHIV at mainstream companies.
RJ Usha is a researcher at heart and a radio professional at work, which has been centred around waste management practices, the lives of informal waste workers in the city, and waste management laws and policies. ‘Kasa Shramika Parisara Rakshaka’ is an essential audio archive composed of the life-stories of waste workers whose toil is often invisible. Her focus has helped bring out the realities of running Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs) in Bengaluru. In a special set of episodes, she has chronicled the lives of the bone collectors of the city. She has been part of multiple workshops, meetings, and consultations that expressed the concerns of waste workers and made suggestions for improvement.
In February 2019, RJ Usha, along with RJ Manjula, attended a 3-day Workshop on Community Radio and Electoral Literacy at the University of Hyderabad, organised by the UNESCO Chair on Community Media, in partnership with the Election Commission of India. She then led the production of a 12-part radio series titled ‘My Vote My Right’ to raise voter awareness and to become a source of fundamental electoral information in the lead up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Shanthi is a transgender artist and activist working towards justice, rights and equality for the LGBTQiA Community in India.
She is currently working on a book of poetry accompanied by autobiographic illustrations that map the course of her unique life fighting for the womanhood she has so desired for herself. The project is a poignant, funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking self-portrait of finding oneself through the difficulties of family acceptance, societal awareness and eventually self-celebration in India.
Shanthi is a radio jockey for Radio Active, which is the first community radio station in Bangalore where she host’s a regular show about sex workers called “Ganatheya Dumenagagi Navvu Manushuru”. She gives sensitisation and awareness talks at LGBTQiA events, art exhibitions, schools, corporates and public forums. Shanthi is also an important facilitator during the Aravani Art Project’s public art happenings throughout India ensuring that passers by and collaborators enjoy a full engagement with their local the transgender community.
Her work as a principal artist and a documentarian with the Aravani Art Project, has given her the power to mix art and activism together to contribute to changing local perception within her own community as well as in local communities across India.
Uma, as she is fondly called, represents the sexual minority community. After working for over 14 years on the community issues, Uma was disappointed with the lack of space in the mainstream media and so turned to community media. She registered an NGO called “Jeeva”, to specifically work on advocacy of community media and mental health issues.
She also produced a documentary titled “Shruthi Saranya Love Story”, on lesbian couple, whose family had severe opposition to the relationship. At Radio Active, Uma hosts the popular show “Jeeva Diary”, and runs a quarterly magazine “Ananya”, a Kannada magazine dedicated to bringing sexual minority voices to the forefront.
Mansoor is not your regular scrap dealer. He is a man with a mission. A member of Hasiru Dala, he completed the Scrap Dealer Certification Program, jointly run by Radio Active- Jain University and Hasiru Dala, and shortly after took charge of managing the operations of a Dry Waste Collection Center in Ward 168 at Jayanagar. A school drop-out, his tryst with technology began when MindTree launched the “I Got Garbage”, an android app that makes it possible to manage the center’s operations by keeping track of inventory, waste pick-ups and more. He soon took it and got on the social media sites like Facebook and started using what’s app to connect to the community. He dreams of building a scrap dealer cooperative, which will enable in creating a fair market place and price, and so decided to work towards building the Clean City Recyclers Association ( CCRA). He also has the unique distinction of representing India, at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP (Conference Of Parties) 21. He also volunteers at the station and co-hosts the daily show “Kasa Shramika Parisara Rakshka”
RJ Salma and Siddique
RJ Salma and Siddique, residents on Nayandahalli, hold the distinction of being the world’s first wife and husband waste-picker RJ. They co-host the daily show “Kasa Shramika Parisara Rakshka”. The show broadcasts programs in different Indian languages – Kannada, Tamil, Urdu and Bengali as it caters to listeners in various slums speaking multiple languages.
Salma and Siddique is also working on the “Daastan-e-Nayandahalli “, series, documenting the stories of the recyclers in Nayandahalli .
RJ Lakshmi Karunakaran
Lakshmi is an art based educator and communication professional from Bangalore, India. She worked at Infosys Ltd, as an audio/visual content writer, presenter and producer for InfyTV, India’s first corporate TV channel. She later worked with other IT companies, Oracle Corporation and Sapient Technologies as a communication specialist.
In 2013, when she decided to move to the social sector and work with children and arts, she relocated to Kolar Gold Fields, to work with government schools for over a year. Since then, Lakshmi uses art as a medium of education while working with children at risk in Government schools in urban/rural areas, and in alternate and remedial schools, disadvantaged communities with a diverse population of children and educators.
Her interest in film and memories from childhood, led her to create two short documentary films Taboo or Not based on personal experiences of sex education told through artists from different parts of the world and After the Revolution, a film on childhood memories and growing up during the times of political conflict. The films were presented at the Sommerfest 2015 at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany. Currently, she is a community media professional at Radio Active 90.4 MHz, and produces shows on arts, education and inclusivity. She is a Trustee at Hasiru Dala, a member-based organization of waste-pickers, which through its various programs is bringing recognition to waste pickers and informal waste workers as important contributors to urban economy. She is instrumental is running BUGURI, Hasirudala’s community library project for children of waste workers in Bangalore and Mysore. She is also a trainer at Rangashankara’s Theater in Education program. She conducted the Young Journalist workshop at the Bangalore Literature Festival 2016. In 2017 she was selected as an artist in residence at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Poland. She is a part of the advisory committee of SPARROW (Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women).
She writes regularly for the The Better India Blog and the Teacher Plus Magazine. She is a graduate in Telecom Engineering and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communications.
RJ Padma Priya
RJ Padma Priya has dedicated her radio career to raising awareness on health and mental health concerns. ‘Active Health’, hosted by her, has been one of longest-running shows at Radio Active and continues to find high listenership both on air and online. ‘Mano Charchae’ is a radio show that breaks down mental health issues and topics to make symptoms, treatment, and support more understandable and stigma-free. She led a special series titled ‘Nayonika Abhignanam’ that raised critical awareness on issues of eye care and health. In her early career, which started in 2008, she produced multiple shows on issues ranging from the public distribution system, pension schemes, and social schemes, to environmental concerns. Through ‘Active Women’, she has chronicled the life-stories of many incredible achievers from the city.
RJ Padma Priya also headed a collaborative series titled ‘Toilet Talk’ on Bengaluru’s Community Toilets, which included collection of case studies, personal testimonies, production of radio shows, and a consultation with stakeholders and experts. She strategised a focus on the typical problems that women in areas with community toilets face because of the lack of focus on community sanitation. The final report released made recommendations to change the existent ecosystem of neglect about the subject.
With over a decade of experience in her corner, RJ Padma Priya is one of the senior community media-persons in the country and has led presentations and workshops on using community radio as a medium to raise awareness about mental health topics.
RJ Urmila Chanam
Urmila Chanam is a menstrual hygiene management activist, a global campaigner of women’s right to dignity and health, founder of ‘Breaking the Silence’ Campaign, an initiative focussed on ending myths, taboos and stigma around menstruation so that 355 million menstruating girls and women in India can manage their menstruation hygienically and with pride and privacy. She is an integral part of MH Alliance India, the national level consortium of organizations in India working on menstrual Hygiene Management and is engaged in National level consultations, dialogue and cross-sharing. She works closely with the government of India, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Swachh Bharat Mission(Gramin) and Panchayati Raj at different levels in states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Manipur and Karnataka and United Nations and other international development organizations. An advocate of digital empowerment of women, she is Ambassador of World Pulse using social media to amplify the impact of Breaking the Silence.
She is an active supporter of Radio Active, and hosts the show around Breaking the Silence- Men Take Lead Ride and North East ki Awaaz- where she brings rural North East stories to the fore front.
RJ Vijaya is proud of her story. Originally from a small village in Karnataka, she has walked a determined path to become the longest-serving, continuing community radio RJ in the country.
She is the host of ‘Eco Talk’, a show that focuses on sustainable living, environmental policies, and citizens’ activism in favour of environmental protection. She led a special series on the lakes of Bengaluru, documenting efforts at reviving the legendary water bodies by citizens and experts with the support of BBMP.
RJ Vijaya’s favourite radio show, however, is Active Cooking, though which she has recorded hundreds of recipes from different Indian cuisines and also organised cook-out sessions at the radio station. It remains a listeners’ favourite as well.
RJ Vijaya has helped document the music and art traditions of Dharwad and Tulunadu, and in 2018 was part of a limited series that profiled past winners of the prestigious Namma Bengaluru Awards.
Ashish Sen, Advisor
Ashish is an independent media consultant, community radio educator and advocate. He has over 30 years’ cross-sectoral experience in development communications, print, broadcast, theatre and community media, development education and programme management. He is currently an Advisor to the Board of AMARC Asia Pacific and was earlier President of the Board. He has also been professionally associated with organisations including VOICES, and ActionAid India in the past. He has been actively engaged with theatre for social change in Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. He is currently a theatre and media consultant with Interweave Consulting Private Limited and Innnobridge Consulting Private Limited. He is also a Trustee of the Dev Nandan Ubhayeker Trust.
Ramya Gowda K, Co- Comms Manager and Design Head
As the first employee of Radio Active when it was established in 2007, Ramya has had a unique view of this station’s activities and growth. At the station, she is involved in documentation of the station’s activities, coordination of volunteers, designing communication and promotional materials, in addition to handling and managing the technical set-up of the station.
Ramya co-assisted in the production of the ‘Active Women’ series in 2008 which has nominated for the Radio Duniya Awards 2008. Ramya was also a representative member of the RTE Task Force from the station. The activities of the Task Force included production of radio programmes, creating awareness, policy advocacy and documentation. As part of the Task Force she also had the opportunity to work on the design and documentation of the India Literacy Project on the implementation of the RTE Task Force chapters in Gulburga and Chikkabalapura. She has also worked on other projects like assisting students from Jain University on the National Entrepreneurship Network’s E-week event in 2010 on the Aerobic Rice Plantation in Kolar.
Ramya volunteered to work on the Radio Mathematics project awarded to the station by the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, as the Principal Investigator. This project involves production of 180 episodes of radio series and conducting outreach activities. In 2014, when One World Foundation invited applications for Community Radio Facilitation Centre’s internship program, Ramya applied and was selected for a four-day seminar that focused on Community Radio licensing procedures and steps involved. Following the programme, she was certified to assist potential applicants.
Over the years, Ramya has taken on a wider communications role, including the management of Radio Active’s social media pages and keeping up blog updates. Her work is critical to ensuring the amplification of the station’s Kannada programming.
RJ Shruti Sharada, Communications Manager
RJ Shruti Sharada entered the community media space almost by accident but today counts it as her calling. As the Communications Manager, she strategises on the tone, focus, and direction of the messaging communicated by Radio Active. She makes the final edits on all programming-related content that is uploaded on the blogs, reports, forms, and social media pages. She is responsible for striking up new collaborations with partners who value the community radio platform and helps plan new shows. She has planned and executed many topical social media campaigns, including for air pollution, Women’s Day, World Menstrual Hygiene Day, Read Aloud Festival, Poshan Maah, and Community Toilets. She was the one-woman team that managed the social media for the first-ever Radio Festival held in New Delhi in February 2018.
RJ Shruti Sharada is the host of the podcast called ‘Gender Jalebi’, which is a collaboration between Radio Active and Sandbox Collective. The show won the ‘Best Community Radio Show’ at the Radio Connex Awards 2018. She moderated the ‘Queer Readings’ session in 2017 in support of Namma Pride, and was part of the facilitation of a Podcasting Workshop at IIHS in February 2019. She was a panellist at the ‘Gender on Air’ panel at City Scripts 2019 at IIHS.
As an RJ, her focus is on radio programming that tackles issues of gender, sexuality, the arts, and women’s rights. She also is a poster designer and a video editor, when called to do so!
Bonnie, Manager- Stress Management
On a regular day you will find Bonnie intently watching traffic. When she is not taking her power naps or watching traffic, she awaits the visitors of Radio Active for a brief Bonnie style welcome! Is she a terror then? No, you’ve got it all wrong. The innocent eyes and the wagging tail keeps everyone at Radio Active stress free even on days when the deadlines are catching up. And she is always on time for all the meetings! A desi by breed and heart, Bonnie is also quite a foodie like most of us and was adopted by Radio Active as a part of Stray Pals project. Tricks to make Bonnie your friend – Marie biscuit works like a magic!
Beula Anthony, Station Manager
Beula carries sunshine in her pocket. She manages the Radio Active station with an unfailingly positive outlook and a sharp talent for multi-tasking. As the chief admin of the station, Beula also leads the execution of financial decisions at the station. With over a decade of experience in the community radio field, her insights into team management, relationship-building, and community connect are invaluable. She remains instrumental in the hiring of RJs from identified communities in the city and in the management of the Radio Active internship programme for college students.
Over the years, Beula has led workshops and presentations on community radio and media, and on sustainable waste management practices. She has been part of grassroots projects dedicated to women’s rights, and hosts and edits special episodes of radio shows, especially with a focus on children’s programming.
Beula is also closely associated with CoMedia Lab, an initiative of Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz and Citizen Matters.
Pinky has over two decades of experience spanning careers across international education, research, training, community mobilization, waste management, livelihood development, policy advocacy, communication and strategy, and community media.
She joined IDP Education Australia, in 2000, as a key member of the start-up team and was instrumental in establishing operations, building networks, and identifying opportunities for partnerships. She was able to successfully work across all verticals of counseling, business development, consulting, and customer & client services, day-to day operations, marketing & branding, training, event management and market research. She was responsible for facilitating the Articulation Program between Christ College, Bangalore and Griffith University, Australia in 2003 and also coordinated the activities of the IDP Peace Scholarship in 2004.While at IDP she received two awards from the IDP Global Network; for Outstanding Service to IDP for initiative, leadership and dedication above expectations; and for Outstanding Service to IDP achievement through excellence in customer service, innovation in marketing, training and mentoring and outstanding teamwork.
Pinky joined the Jain Group of Institutions to head the Training & Development Division in 2005. A certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming from the National Federation of Neuro-linguistic Psychology (NFNLP), USA, she has trained over 2500 individuals on leadership, team building, customer service, personal development and effective interviewing.
An ardent believer in the power of community media, she has been instrumental in the launch of Radio Active, a community radio station, in June 2007 in Bangalore. The station is dedicated to providing a space for different groups to come together to create their own media landscape. Under her leadership, the station has reached out to different communities of interest, community based organizations and institutions, expanded broadcast hours to 24 hours and has attained an exemplary status of being one of the most inclusive and community – centred station in the country.
As an active participant in the advocacy of community media, she was elected as the Joint Secretary of the Community Radio Association, India, and Secretary of the South Zone Chapter of the Community Radio Association, India, from April 2012 to February 2015. She continues to be a lifetime member of CRA.
She has been part of various working groups and committee, set up on by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting like the Working Group on Peer Support Network and Revisions to Community Radio Policy (2013), Technical Committee, for Community Radio Support Scheme (2013) and was also a Jury Member- National Community Radio Awards, instituted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (2013 and 2014)
She has also been deputed by Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) to mentor Deccan Radio – a community radio station in Hyderabad to develop a sustainability plan (2012-13) and was deputed on behalf of the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, GOI on behalf of Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia ( CEMCA) to conduct Baseline and Capacity Building Workshops for the Planet Earth project to Kongu Engineering College, Erode, ( 2009) and MOP Vaishnav College, Chennai ( 2009); the Science for Women’s Health project to VIIT Baramati ( 2009 ) and FTII, Pune ( 2010)
She is a steering committee member of the South Asia Network for Community Media ( SANCOM), a virtual network that was launched in 2015 to promote community media in the South Asia region, for a democratic and pluralistic media environment
Pinky is an active campaigner for decentralized community based waste management and is a founder member of the Solid Waste Management Roundtable, (SWMRT) Bangalore. She has worked on several policy related documents and reports and has co-authored a paper on “A Working Observation on SWM Policy- Karnataka State and ULB Bangalore”, and “A working observation on the Dry Waste Collection Centres”, to gauge their performance and contribution. She has co-conducted a study for the Revenue Department, Government of India on “Temple Waste Management in Bangalore Case Study of 10 temples in Bangalore “. She has been instrumental in co-promoting the concept of Dry Waste Collection centres in Bangalore, and has spent over two years with her colleagues documenting the operations of the pilot centre in HSR Layout. In addition, she has been a key contributor to several policy initiatives for the city. She is also the lead author in yet to be released report titled ”A Mirage: Assessment of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and SWM Rules 2016: Wastepickers Perspectives across India”.
As one of the trustees of HasiruDala, ( means “Green Force”), a social justice organisation working with waste-pickers, sorters and itinerant waste-buyers in Bengaluru, working towards improving working conditions and access of waste, she is focused on training and capacity building for waste-pickers and has developed the “Waste-picker Training Manual and the “Scrap Dealer Training manual”. A keen researcher she has also co-authored a paper on the “Informal Waste Workers Contribution in Bengaluru”, to determine their economic contribution to the city. She was the lead author and researcher in the book “Valuing Urban Waste: The need for comprehensive recycling policy in India- 2018” that mapped informal recycling clusters ib Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.
In 2012, she was selected among 600 candidates as a delegate for the inaugural Australia- India Youth Dialogue; the AIYD was created with the aim of forging a sustainable strategic dialogue between the youth of Australia and India in the areas of education, economics, business, security and climate change. In 2014, she received the AIYD Alumni grants for a small study titled “Community Radio: Lessons from Australia”. The report was released in January 2016
She also serves as a Board Member of SMART, an NGO working on social change and has co-conducted Capacity Building Workshop for operating community radio stations and Mahila Samakhya Groups in the Asha Jyoti Kendra districts of Uttar Pradesh, on behalf of Department of Women and Child, Government of Uttar Pradesh and UNICEF and Co organised Community Radio Awareness Workshops, on behalf of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, in partnership with SMART at Vadodara ( 23 – 25 January 2016), Varanasi ( 18 – 20 February 2016), Ranchi (25 – 27 February 2016), Udaipur ( 11 – 12 November 2016), Patna (12 – 13 December 2016 ) and Allahabad (17- 18 February 2017), Manipur ( 21 to 23 September 2017) Goa ( 21 to 23 November 2018) Port Blair ( 28 to 30th Jan 2019).
She has co-authored “Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals-A Toolkit for Community Radio Stations”, developed by SMART and Supported by UNESCO and UNICEF
She has co-founded Co Media Lab, an independent and convergent community media platform that serves as resource centre, newsroom and a space for dialogues and discussions, for community / citizen contributors.
An animal welfare activist, she makes it a point to devote time to tend to street dogs in the city and has co-founded Stray Pals which works on policy advocacy issues on street animals with the municipality, in addition to training, sensitization and handling cruelty cases.