|The radio, which entertains and informs fishermen while in the sea, hanging on the light post|
Fishermen in Pallithottam are amused to see the black and blue box which M Ambrose is carrying these days to the fishing boat and back. The former district president of Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation proudly displays his new toy, an FM radio set, to the people.
By tuning into the radio frequency of 107.8 FM by Community Radio Benziger, he can listen to music and more importantly, get to know the weather information between Thanni and Azheekkal even while he is 30 km away from the land.
There was another reason for him to be proud of as he got to know about the elections, road shows in his area while in the sea.
He was given the set by the Rotary Club of Tangasseri to get his feed back. Soon around 100 fishermen in Pallithottam-Tangasseri hamlet will be able to enjoy the FM service, thanks to the FM sets to be distributed in partnership with the community radio service by the club. The handsets would be distributed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Lalji on April 12 at St Stephen’s Parish Hall.
“As of now, Kollam’s fisherfolk are fortunate to be the only fishermen in India to receive a regular marine weather forecast by the radio,” said John Shibu, president, RC Tangasseri.
A club member and former Merchant Navy officer John Thekkayam transcribes the weather data received from an Ocean State Forecast issued from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and feeds it to the community RJ.
The weather forecast is broadcast three times daily- at 8 am, 12 noon and 6 pm- to over 4 lakh listeners of the radio station.
The club started sharing weather forecasts in 2012 but for want of FM radio sets, the fishermen could not carry it while fishing.
Now the FM broadcast can be received 30 to 40 km into the sea, fishermen are encouraged to carry these radio sets to sea while on fishing trips.
“The radio set with a special box to recharge the batteries and the mix of music and information would help its popularity among fishermen,” Shibu said.
The club is also planning to change the weather bulletin to suit the requirements of the fishermen.
Ambrose’s fishing partner Kurushayya Solomon is also a fan of the new entertainment.
He keeps the set fastened on the lamp post of their boat and occasionally switches station to listen to his favourite Tamil songs.