It is rare to find a Maharashtrian who is not interested in Marathi dramas and music. Of course, Sydney was no exception. While Marathi Mandal organised the dramas and the musical programs, Radio was a medium with wider reach and the ability to link the overseas community to India on a more regular basis. This was a medium with huge potential waiting to be tapped.
This was the start of Marathi Radio.
The name - After a lot of brainstorming, this initiative was named as ‘Akashwani Sydney’. It was suggested by Dr Vijay Prabhu.
And so ‘Akashwani Sydney’ started in 1996 as an initiative of a handful of Maharashtrians in Sydney who wanted to bring the rich Marathi culture from their motherland to their new homeland. This was a brainchild of Dr Purushottam Sawarikar. Ably supported by a group of likeminded individuals, the first Marathi program was broadcast on Friday, 26 September 1996 at 9:15 pm. This program was presented by Vaijayanti Mone and Jayashree Sathe. Since then, it has grown into a popular medium as well as a community platform for thousands of Marathi speaking Indians in and around Sydney.
The title song of the program is written by Sadanand Kelkar. The music director is Kiran Pradhan and the singer is Kumud Powar.
‘Akashwani Sydney’ presents these programs through Multi-cultural Radio Association on 98.5 FM on Sunday mornings between 11:00 am and 12 noon and Tuesday nights between 8:00 and 9:00 pm.
Ujjwala Barve from Pune regularly presents the Marathi News every Sunday. Her first news broadcast was on 28 June 1998.
Akashwani Sydney is by the people and for the people. A competition was organised in 1999 to select the logo for ‘Akashwani Sydney’. The design by Pradnya Kanitkar was the winner and became the official logo of ‘Akashwani Sydney’.
Initially recorded programs were broadcast on the radio. This has now been replaced by live programs. The presenters go to the studio and present the programs with the help of panel operators. The panel operators are an integral part of the program. They handle the technical aspects of the program. A team of well trained panel operators undertakes this responsibility in a professional manner.
With the advent of the internet, it was just a matter of time before this medium was used by the internet savvy community. The first radio program was uploaded on the internet on 15 October 2005 by Deepak Bapat.
Suddenly the audience for the program increased dramatically. The program crossed the border of Sydney and even Australia. People from across the world were able to listen to the programs – this included the family members of the people involved in India as well as interested people across the world! These programs can now be downloaded as podcasts. A group of dedicated volunteers ensures that the programs are uploaded in a timely manner.
With the help of this motivated and dedicated group of volunteers, Akashwani Sydney will continue to flourish and present programs which are meaningful and enrich the lives of overseas Marathi community.