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Message on the radio

DJ trainer Georges Collinet is conducting two workshops on how to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS



DJ WITH A DIFFERENCE Georges Collinet

With a fuzz of milk-white hair and a pair of glasses that keep sliding down his nose, Georges Collinet looks more like a professor than a disc jockey. In fact, he is a disc jockey and more — an internationally acclaimed DJ trainer as well.

However, he surprises you with an admission — that he's never spun the discs at a discotheque. He quickly explains the terminological hitch. "In the West, radio jockeys are also called disc jockeys."

Years ago, Collinet landed a broadcaster's job with the Voice Of America. As someone hailing from Cameroon, he was asked to focus on Africa. Over the years, he has hosted numerous shows. Two of them have given him an almost celebrity status. While one picks the brains of cultural figures across Africa and also attempts to find solutions to problems plaguing the continent, another sends out African music, actually "Afropop", across the world.

Collinet is in Chennai to conduct two workshops, one currently on at the MOP Vaishnav College For Women and another which will take place at the Anna University. The workshops are aimed at local radio jockeys and the student teams who run the community FM stations at these colleges, on how effectively to send out HIV/AIDS awareness messages and also develop presentation skills. VJs from private television stations and students are also participating.

Workshops

The workshops are called "Young Voices" because youth speak to youth about a disease to which youngsters are most vulnerable.

The programmes are an outcome of Mediaids, a project funded by the European Union, with support from the UNICEF. Partnering in this effort are: Internews, "which addresses issues surrounding health and specifically HIV/ AIDS in a number of countries by producing investigative news pieces, documentaries, talk shows and features for television and radio", Formedia (Foundation for Responsible Media), which conducts training programmes for young electronic media journalists, and Deutsche Welle Akademie, the German international broadcasting service.

Collinet says radio is a friendly medium and listeners look up to their favourite RJs and "so what a presenter says matters a lot". It's also a powerful medium, adds Collinet. "America won the Cold War because of the Voice Of America."

PRINCE FREDERICK

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