Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS CR-CIT?
CR-CIT (the Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit) is a toolkit that allows community radio stations to periodically assess themselves on their performance.
CR-CIT has been drafted keeping in view: (a) the national community radio policy guidelines (in India) which have several mandatory provisions; and (b) certain non-negotiable principles of community media globally, such as community participation and ownership, access to and inclusion of marginalised groups, gender equity, community-generated content, emphasis on local cultures and identities, and transparency and accountability in practice.
CR-CIT provides for indicators of performance along nine broad parameters: content generation and programming; policies and guidelines; volunteers; technology – access and management; on-air standards of broadcast; governance; feedback and grievances; content-sharing and networking; revenue generation and financial accountability.
Themes such as participation, inclusion, gender, capacity building, etc. have been treated as core principles that cut across all the nine parameters.
In many cases, the indicators (or questions) for each parameter are framed in such a way that the options move towards the ideal; in other cases, the questions provide an exhaustive list of all the possibilities that the CR station may explore. The indicators also permit individual stations to include any practices and processes that are unique to the local context and not mentioned by the toolkit (under the option, “Any others, please specify”).
CR-CIT focuses on principles, practices, and processes. Impact of the community radio station on the community is outside the purview of this toolkit. This is primarily to help stations reflect on the extent to which their everyday practices and policies are in tune with the larger philosophy and best practices of community radio.
CR-CIT could also be seen as a way for CR stations to assess the quality of their overall performance. ‘Quality’ here is not limited to the technical finesse of programmes, but includes active adoption of the core principles of CR by the stations across all the parameters.
CR-CIT is NOT for comparison between different community radio stations. This is NOT meant to be an evaluation held by an external agency, with a pass/fail grade.
WHO CAN USE CR-CIT?
Community radio stations which are at least two years old may like to use this toolkit. We think this is the time it takes for a community radio station to establish itself and put in place various processes to streamline its functioning. In fact, it could take even longer, say something like 5 years, given that most CR stations operate under various resource constraints. But, two years is long enough for a CR station to start looking at itself to decide how and where it can improve itself. CR-CIT may also serve relatively new CR initiatives to understand what goes into the functioning of an ideal CR station.
WHY USE CR-CIT?
CR-CIT allows community radio stations to inject a dose of positive reinforcement into its staff and volunteers about the good work they have been doing.
CR-CIT provides an opportunity to the CR station staff to pause from their hectic day-to-day schedules and reflect on their vision and mission along certain specific parameters.
At the end of the Self-Assessment and Peer Review process (described below) using CR-CIT, individual CR stations would be able to set their own goal posts for the future, with the objective of continuously improving their
CR-CIT would help CR stations identify gaps and constraints in their functioning and enable them to plan ways to bridge the gaps and overcome constraints.
The Self-Assessment and Peer Review process (SA&PR) using CR-CIT would provide pointers to managing CR stations efficiently and serving their listening community more effectively.
Although CR-CIT is not meant to be used as a tool for external evaluation, the SA&PR process using the nine broad parameters would assist CR stations to better prepare for any external evaluations commissioned by funding agencies.
Overall, the aim is that community radio stations strive continuously to match best practices followed globally.
WHEN TO USE CR-CIT?
Community radio stations can use this toolkit after a period of two years of their existence.
CR-CIT is designed to be self-administered periodically by the CR stations. If the toolkit were to be used in its entirety, the review could typically be done on an annual basis. however, the modular design of CR-CIT permits CR stations to review their performance along any one or more of the parameters at any given time of their choice.
HOW TO USE THIS FORUM?
It’s simple. If you are a Community Radio station that meets the criterion mentioned above, just register. Next go to the forum, click on the relevant parameter you wish to participate in and either start a new topic relevant to the parameter or just respond to an earlier post.
Note: It doesn’t matter which type of CR station you belong to. Neither does the country matter. The parameters apply to CR stations across the world.