RJ Priyanka 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 and has mentored different community groups and students. 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 Priyanka was also a special invitee for an art project, for Facebook in San Francisco in June 2018, led by the team of Aaravani Art Project
Shiv Kumar is an auto-driver by profession and a poet by heart. Following an invitation to be interviewed on the station, he lapped up the idea of being the voice of the auto driver community. In 2010, his first weekly live show called Mukha Mukhi was aired, with a view to provide a common platform for discussions within the auto driver community and the general public. The show addressed a range of issues from faulty meter, aggression, customer service, to health and nutrition, occupational hazards, family issues, dealings with the RTO and the traffic police etc. The show ran successfully till June 2015. He then launched a new show titled “Mathandrae Mathu Manadalada Mathu”, to capture the stories of auto drivers, interesting passenger stories and a sneak peek into the lives of the rickshaw drivers. This show is recorded at the various auto stands in the city. He also produces another show titled Gurukula Budhukina Hadi.
He has been extensively covered in various publications and the TV. In the past he has also won the honesty award from the Bangalore Traffic Police Commissioner. He was also the finalist at the Namma Bengaluru Awards 2012. He has the unique distinction of being the world’s first Autodriver RJ.
RJ Manjula joined Radio Active, in May 2010, as a volunteer, for a baseline survey, for the project Planet Earth, by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Post the workshop, Manjula continued volunteering learning editing, and being part of Listener Groups.
Children dominated RJ Manjula’s radio universe. She started hosting and coordinating 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, riddles, and games. She has been part of the radio series Ruthumathi, produced by the girls from Byrasandra, on menstruation and reproductive health.
In 2014, Manjula was part of the core team that anchored the Radio Mathematics series, The Radio Mathematics Project was awarded by the National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Dept of Science & Technology, Govt of India. She played an active role in the baseline survey, focus group discussions, scripting, production, and post-production. She also worked on community outreach, including listener surveys
RJ Manjula has been an integral part of the storytelling outreach and competition project that Radio Active and its partners realize 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 Hasiru Dala in February 2019.
She is also the coordinates the production of ‘Masada Kai’, which focuses on the workplace struggles and needs of domestic workers in the city. In addition, Manjula, also covers all the community events for the station, in addition to maintaining archives and log sheets.
A resident of Dasarahalli, RJ Manjula’s community connection is strong and she is known as the ‘Radio Akka ( Sister)’ throughout her neighborhood. 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 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 centered 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 the hiring of PLHIV at mainstream companies.
A burns survivor, Asha A went through a series of financial and economic lows, before she started working. She had to take charge of the family, as her husband had invested in the lottery and kept losing money to the point that their three autos had to be sold off. She had never worked before 2008 and started working as a Checker in a garment office, for six months. She then learned, tailoring and started working as Tailor. In 2013, she joined Garment Labour Union, as a member and started working towards the benefit of fellow women garment workers in Peenya and Laggere.
Asha joined Radio Active in March 2016 as a volunteer hosting the Behind the Label, daily series produced by the Garment Labour Union. Behind the Label, series 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).
In addition, as part of GLU, she managed memberships, fieldwork to raise awareness of labor and human rights issues. She also organized community women as part of self-help groups and raised awareness on issues of micro-financing etc. She was actively involved with the members of GLU, as part of crisis intervention and remediation, both at the workplace and the personal front, and has also been involved with counseling.
In 2019, she started engaging with street vendors, construction workers, and auto and taxi drivers and mentored the community to start producing programs. She participates in all the events hosted by the groups, to build solidarities. At Radio Active, she actively participates and covers all the community events and programs, including live coverage. Diligent and extremely hardworking, Asha is ever ready to help out with different community groups and learn new things.
She also conducted Read Aloud workshops in schools and was part of the team that engaged in training students from different schools on Story Telling. In her free time, Asha joins thread work and crochet
Fairy tales are not just a thing of movies. Sometimes, real life happy endings become more poignant than reel life ones. A housekeeping staff, to a sex worker and now an RJ, Shanthi is definitely not your quintessential Cinderella, but her story definitely sets up a precedent for a modern day Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman).
Born as Shankar in Bangalore, Shanti, as a child, always preferred the company of girls, to boys, and also loved spending time with her mother, doing household work. Even at an early age of 7, she walked and spoke like a girl. At 16, when boys her age wrote love letters to their girlfriends, she wrote unrequited love letters, to boys she secretly harbored a crush on. Though being this way was not at all an easy option for her, who was constantly harassed and belittled by her classmates. Adorned in clothes, that her sex was expected to wear, she always felt like a misfit. The woman in her bones exulted in her mom’s saris that she wore and the makeup she put on. At 19, when she finally knew that this was who she wanted to be, for the rest of her life, she mustered up the courage and confessed to her parents, who misconstrued it as abnormal thinking, and forced her get married. However, she turned the tables and told the girl, whom her parents had chosen, “the day I get married, the whole society will look at me differently”. This put off marriage talks for a while, but she was treated like a pariah, and slowly entered depression.
Around this time, she found work as a housekeeping staff at a medical store. It was then that she was approached by a member of her community, who introduced her to Sangama, where she was given a place to express the ‘Shanti’ in her. However, this came with a price and she was asked to choose between begging or sex work. So, the choice was made, and she chose sex work, which required her to stand on highways, and woo potential clients. One incident that she can never forget, was when seven men kidnapped her, took her to a jungle nearby and gang raped her, for four to five hours continuously. She was asked to perform with a knife at her throat, and they assaulted her without any protection. When they were done, she was only worried about one thing – if she would contract some STD and die. As a sex worker, there is very little justice she could hope for. A profession which was sneered upon by the society, they felt that she was not worthy of the blind justice which our constitution awards to every single citizen. Also, she was scared that if she went seeking for help, the gang would come back and kill her so kept mum and continued to suffer silently.
In May 2015, she was invited by a fellow sex-worker to a discussion program at the station, and it was hear that she spoke her heart out through a poetry she composed, and shortly after she started volunteering at the station and soon launched a show titled “Ghanateya Dudimegaagi Naavu Manushyaru”, which features life stories of sex workers and also address issues of housing, social security and the need for decriminalization of sex work.
Rukmini is the voice of the Garment Workers and hosts the series “Behind the Label”. She is also the President of Munnade a community based women’s organization that educates women about their rights. The organization started in 2002 as a pre-union concept to work with women on issues of domestic violence and challenge patriarchy in their daily lives. It was officially founded in 2004 and registered in 2011. She is also an active member of the Garment Labour Union – a women-led trade union based in Bangalore, engaged in organizing garment workers and protecting their rights. She is also the country’s first garment worker RJ. She is currently on a yearlong break.
Sowmya is the voice over artist of the show “Behind the Label”. Before joining Radio Active she was a worker in the garment industry. While working in the industry she came across issues and stories of sexual harassment in the work place. She was moved by the stories and wanted the world to know about it. She volunteered to work with Radio Active and now hosts “Behind the Label”.
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 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, 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.
Venkatesh has over nine years of work experience in the social sector. His work revolved around social security issues like Education, Health, Water, PDS and ICDS Integrated Child Development (ICDS). Specfically with education he has mainly worked on organizing State and district level programme about RTE and SDMC. He has organised workshops related to creating School Development and Monitoring committee (SDMC) in all BBMP Schools and sensitization on the role and responsibility to the SDMC members. He has also worked on awareness camps for women groups on legal issues, domestic violence and government schemes.
His constant work with Slum dwellers has benefited them with awareness and benefits about BPL Card, Bhaghya Lakshmi Bond, Labor Card, RSBY Card Voter I D Card and Student Scholarship. He has also organized Grievance redressal mechanism (GRM) programme. He also has a vast experience with Baseline Survey on Schools and Anganawadi’s and PDS Shops Survey. He also has a good rapport with Government departments and officials to discuss on Policy level problems. Venkatesh also has a flair for writing, and has written street plays and songs He also completed a Diploma in Theater from Hampi University. He has also collected awareness Songs on environment, Water, Health, Education and published the same in the book Geetha Sangama.
Padma is a fervent conservationist – be it know-hows, heritage, culture or environment. With a recent beginning in wildlife conservation, she is equally passionate and committed in her new role of Founder Trustee of Save Tiger First, as much she is in her profession of Marketing that spans to 20 years now. As a consultant her focus has been establishing brands and developing the markets for her clients. She is adept with all the Marketing tools such as corporate films, go to market strategies, market development, market research, PR campaigns and so on and so forth.
Her life-mantras “adaptability above circumstances” and “drive to make things happen” have enriched her journey in life. She is married to Ashok Hallur, a professional photographer and also the Founder Trustee of Save Tiger First.