Weekly Kannada audio show comes from USA

Weekly Kannada audio show comes from USA

A couple living in Dallas produces weekly podcasts of stories for children. In just six months, their show has garnered 1,500 regular listeners

Parimala Deshpande and Anand Hemmige, working to take Kannada stories to kids.

A couple living in the US is producing an audio show in Kannada to popularise the language among children. Anand Hemmige and Parimala Deshpande run the show, called ‘Kelirondu Katheya’ (Listen to A Story). The couple hit upon the idea when they looked for Kannada stories online for their children, and found very few.

“We are both Kannadigas and are acutely aware of the shortage of quality child-suitable content in an increasingly technology-driven world. So, it seemed a natural reason to create in Kannada,” Hemmige told Metrolife.

The couple read up on the harmful effects of television and decided podcasts could benefit children. The idea is to inculcate listening skills in early childhood. “Podcasting is a popular medium for listening. We also figured it was a great medium to help reach millions of Kannadigas across the world,” Hemmige says.

‘Kelirondu Katheya’ was launched at the Association of Kannada Kootas of America, Dallas, seven months ago in the presence of eminent Kannada poet Jayant Kaikini.  

The stories are taken from books the couple read to their children. “We take great care to make sure the stories are child-friendly, devoid of violence, and fun to listen to,” he says. They also look for stories with morals.

With 26 episodes published over six months, the audio show has an audience of about 1,500. It has logged 20,000-plus listens from 20 countries.

Storytellers Ashwini Karthik and Dr Nalini Nagendra have become popular among young listeners.

“We get positive feedback from our young listeners in the form of voice mails, emails, and drawings. So, we know people are enjoying our shows,” he says.

The audience is mainly from Karnataka and the US. Some non-Kannadiga listeners tune in, too.

“Certainly, there is a decline in Kannada speakers. It is especially challenging outside India for Kannadigas to preserve our language,” he says.

Excited by the feedback, the couple aims to reach every Kannadiga child with their stories.

The team plans to explore themes from Disney and get eminent Kannada personalities to tell stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. They are on the look-out for partnerships with radio stations, schools and Kannada groups in other countries.

About the podcast
‘Kelirondu Katheya’ is a Kannada audio show featuring stories from around the world. It is available on all major podcast apps as well as on their website www.kelirondukatheya.org. They publish one story a week.

The founders
Anand Hemmige and Parimala Deshpande live in Dallas, USA, with their two sons, seven and four years old. Parimala is from Hangal in Haveri district, and Anand from Mysuru. They moved to the US in 2010. Anand is a techie, while Parimala is actively involved in non-profit work benefiting Kannada and Karnataka. She also runs a media company specialising in podcast production.

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