Anup Penurkar: Building bridges through radio

In the bustling city of Toronto, where diversity thrives, Anup Penurkar, an electrical engineer and Project Lead, embarked on a journey to bring a piece of his roots to the Canadian landscape. Originally hailing from the rural area of Nanded district in Maharashtra, Anup’s deep love for radio ignited during his early school and college days when he would listen to it with his father for the morning news. Years later, inspired by nostalgia and a desire to give back to the community, Anup set out to create a unique platform - a Radio Station that would resonate with immigrants and offer a space for showcasing their talents.

What prompted you to start the radio station?
To be honest, I have no background in the radio industry. Back in Pune, I used to listen to the radio every night from 10 pm until I fell asleep. When I immigrated to Canada, I felt a void in my day-to-day life. Although I listened to local Canadian radio channels, I still longed for something that would connect me to my mother tongue. Not finding a single show in Canada in Marathi, the idea of creating a radio channel sparked in my mind. I saw it as an opportunity to provide the community with a platform to showcase their talents.

What challenges did you face in starting a new radio station?
Prior to this endeavor, I had no prior experience in the Radio industry, making it a daunting task to start from scratch. To overcome this, I conducted extensive research online to understand the inner workings and requirements. I had two options: FM/AM broadcasting, limited to the local area, or broadcasting over the internet to reach a wider audience, including the entire Canada and even the United States. The encouraging response on social media from both Canada and the U.S. inspired me to opt for the latter. While I faced challenges in editing, scriptwriting, and content creation, I dedicated time to honing these skills and learned through hands-on experience.

Can you share some of the goals and objectives you set for the radio station?
Our primary goal was to support immigrants from diverse backgrounds. Initially focusing on music and entertainment, we soon recognized the need for more comprehensive assistance to the community. We observed that new immigrants struggled to find jobs, while international students faced accommodation challenges. As a result, we committed ourselves to assist them through our Radio Broadcast and social media platforms. By providing information on new job opportunities and accommodations for incoming students, we aimed to help them settle and thrive in the country.

What kind of programming and content does the radio station offer, and how do you ensure it reflects the diverse needs and interests of the community?
Our radio station offers a diverse range of shows in two languages, Marathi and Hindi, to cater to the varied interests of the community. Our programming includes broadcasting news from their home countries as well as local news, events, and music. By offering content in multiple languages, we ensure that our radio station appeals to a wider audience, representing the diverse interests of the community.

How have you engaged with other community organizations and individuals to collaborate and promote community engagement through the radio station?
We actively collaborate with numerous community organizations and individuals to foster community engagement. Organizations like Edmonton Marathi School, Chicago Marathi School, and San Francisco Marathi Mandal have approached us, expressing interest in showcasing shows for their children. These collaborations have strengthened community bonds and facilitated meaningful connections within the diaspora.

What impact has the radio station had on the broader community, both within the immigrant population and beyond?
The radio station has had a profound impact on both the immigrant population and the broader community. It has provided a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talents while offering local businesses the opportunity to advertise their products at no cost through our free promotions campaign. Our station has become a valuable resource for the community, disseminating information, providing entertainment, and creating opportunities for everyone.

What advice would you give to other immigrants who aspire to start their own community-based initiatives in a new country?
I would encourage fellow immigrants to pursue their dreams with unwavering dedication. As immigrants in Canada, we have been given so much, and we have much to offer in return. Embrace your passion, remain persistent, and remember that every journey starts with a single step. Through dedication and a strong commitment to community service, one can make a meaningful impact on the lives of others in their new home.

Anjali Shetty
Written by

Anjali Shetty

A seasoned journalist with 14 years of experience in the field, I have a diverse portfolio of work, covering a wide range of topics from news and entertainment to food and lifestyle. Navigating the world of parenting now, I am inspired to share my insights and experiences on this beautiful and challenging adventure. Writing about Marathi cinema is a passion of mine, as I find immense joy in unraveling the cultural that this industry offers.