Radio is emerging as a strong ally for most political parties in their campaigns for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. While it is not known how much of the total Rs 10,000 crore poll spend would be cornered by radio, it is expected to be sizeable considering the widespread reach of the medium and the scope for innovations.
Radio is a localised medium that reaches out to 19 crore listeners (above the age of 12), and unlike print and TV, where there are time and space restrictions, radio allows parties to communicate with listeners in their language.
BJP spokesperson Sidharthanath Singh told exchange4media, “With the poll panel putting restrictions on the expenditure for campaigns, parties are looking at less expensive outlets. It is natural for political parties to use radio channels, which are popular among youngsters.”
He further said, “We have launched our campaigns in 298 constituencies across the country. Our radio campaign involves 280 FM stations across the country. We have found the radio to be a very effective medium.”
Fever 104FM, which claims to be the No. 2 FM radio station in Delhi, has already begun airing the BJP campaign. Neeraj Chaturvedi, Station Head, Delhi & Mumbai, Fever 104, said, “We are already running the BJP campaigns and also pitching for the Congress party. I am sure very soon we will air the Congress campaign as well.”
He further said, “We are expecting radio to have a 10 per cent share of the political advertisement budget. It is a happy situation for the entire radio industry as it is being considered as a strong medium of advertisement by even political parties.”
Praveen Malhotra, Senior Vice President – Sales, Big FM, said, “We are airing the ‘Jai Ho’ campaign for the Congress and the ‘Majboot Neta Nirnayak Sarkar’ campaign for the BJP.”
Radio City is also airing BJP’s ‘Majboot Neta Nirnayak Sarkar’ campaign, which has been on air since March 16. Rana Barua, National Head – Programming, Radio City, was not available for comments at the time of filing this report.
My FM did not give any official confirmation on the political ad campaigns, but did share some different plan of action for the general elections. Harrish M Bhatia, COO, My FM, said, “We are planning several programmes for the masses, which are focused on the elections. In an effort to increase awareness about the responsibility and the right to vote, My FM has partnered with the Election Commission and each of the 17 My FM cities will have special vans with officials from the Election Commission in a special road show to urge people to get their voter ID cards made.”
He further said, “The OB vans will have officials having the complete infrastructure to get the voters ID card made on the spot. We have also planned a social initiative called ‘Your Vote Counts!’ to urge the masses to get actively involved and vote intelligently during the elections. Apart from that, My FM is planning to invite political leaders to come on air and interact with the listeners.”
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