With no formal training, the 16 year old taught himself programming from borrowed books and online lessons.
Umar Nisar, a 16-year-old Class 10th student from a small hamlet in Tral-Awantipora area of south Kashmir, has set up an online radio station (Pannun FM International) that can be heard anywhere via its android application and website, pannunfm.in The station airs programs on daily life in Kashmir, informative programs on science, education, culture, besides also playing Kashmiri music. Nisar, who studies in a government school in Tral, says he developed the radio application for the online radio after over eight months of hard work. During this period, without any formal training, the young boy taught himself programming from borrowed books, besides taking online lessons from the web. Nisar says he is running the station all by himself, with the support of a few friends, and all the financial support needed to run the station comes from his parents.
How did the idea of starting an online radio station 'Panun FM international' strike you?
I’m fond of the modern electronic gadgets and I often spend a lot of time to understand the basic technicalities of gadgets. I was eager to do something different and that is when the idea to develop an online radio station came to my mind. I wanted to make an online station which could be heard from anywhere in the world beyond the limits of frequency. I worked on the idea and by the grace of Almighty my dream came true.
Moreover, increased use of smart phones and internet usage in Kashmir made this innovation a success. Since many people these days have internet access, they can easily listen to this radio station online.
How did your parents react when you discussed the idea of starting an online radio station with them? Did they support you financially as well?
Yes, when I discussed the idea of starting an online radio station with my parents, at first they thought it’s impossible. But they believed in me and provided all the help, including financial support, to realise my dream.
Did your friends, classmates and teachers encourage and support you in this unique venture?
All my friends, classmates and teachers encouraged me when I discussed this idea with them. They also put in their efforts and provided all help in setting up the station. It boosted my morale and I worked on the idea till the station was successfully set up.
How long did it take you to write the code for the online radio station? How did you learn programming and other technicalities required to setup the radio station?
It took me almost eight months to develop the online radio system. During those months, I was a bit tense and always thinking about completing the project successfully. But in the end my eight months of hard work and continuous efforts bore fruits and I made it.
Actually I was keen to do something different. Developing an online radio station was quite a challenging task. I didn’t have any formal training. I used to surf internet for hours to learn programming from some experts online. I also borrowed books from computer professionals and learned some technical aspects about setting up the online station.
What kind of programs are you currently airing on your station and how do you put together the contents for the station?
Presently programs on education, science talks, peoples' grievances, music, interviews of people from different backgrounds etc., are being aired from the station. My friends and peers help me in collecting the content from different sources as I’m currently short of manpower. I believe in collective approach and that’s what I and my friends are doing. Without their support, it would not have been possible to run the station.
How are you able to manage funds required to run the station?
I do not get financial support from any of the external agency, neither I have been adopted or sponsored by any organisation. Whatever meager sources of funds I have, it was raised by the hard work and toil of my parents which makes it possible for me to run the station. Some of my friends from local media fraternity and some of my peers are also putting in their efforts with me to run the station on volunteer basis.
In the years ahead, what is your vision for this online radio station?
My vision is to make my station offline available to the entire world which could cater to the needs of common masses irrespective of their age, taste and temperaments. I am working more on it and I would like to make it a better station that could air quality programs in future.
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By Majid Maqbool