afaqs!

Radio stations gearing up for AIDS initiatives

By Justin Thomas , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | November 28, 2008
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, radio stations across the country are getting ready to spread awareness through various initiatives

Combating & #BANNER1 & # arguably the deadliest disease in the world - AIDS, is an arduous task. If the accompanying social stigma is considered, AIDS victims fight a losing battle.

With World AIDS Day being commemorated on December 1, various radio stations across the country are taking up initiatives to spread awareness on the issue.

Speaking to afaqs!, Anil Srivatsa, chief operating officer, Radio Meow says, "Initiatives taken by our radio station address social taboos, which need to be addressed urgently." The station plans to distribute five lakh red ribbons across six cities - Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Amritsar, Patiala and Jodhpur -- where its stations are based. "There needs to be a support system in place for the victims. Our message through this initiative is not to treat them as outcasts," he adds. The initiative is called 'Pin on a million hopes'.

Big FM is focussing on diverse initiatives across cities. Smita Thackeray will visit its Mumbai studio, endorsing the campaign, 'Big 92.7 FM ko sirf ek se pyar hai! What about you?' In Hyderabad, the radio station, in association with various college students and the Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, will take out a procession, a 'Red Rally' from their office to Wesley College.

Commenting on BIG FM's role, Nirupam Sonu, vice-president, programming, Big FM says, "AIDS is one of those rare conditions for which medical science is yet to find a cure. Another reason that makes it rare is the fact that people contract it out of ignorance…ignorance about how it is caused and about its deadliness. The bottom line is to make everyone aware about AIDS, to rid them of their ignorance. This is where we see ourselves playing an important role."

Radio City is initiating a drive titled 'Take the lead - stop AIDS', which includes on-air and ground initiatives. Its stations in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad will feature relevant information on the issue across shows on air. These include interviews with various medical experts addressing myths associated with AIDS, messages from well-known citizens, testimonials and inspiring anecdotes of HIV/ AIDS survivors.

Rana Barua, executive vice president and national head - programming and marketing, Radio City says, "As a condition looming large on humanity, every step towards HIV/ AIDS awareness counts. It is very important that people realize that HIV/ AIDS awareness can not only help prevent this condition, but timely identification can also help expedite the curative process." He adds that the sheer compelling reach of radio makes it an excellent vehicle to take this message across to the people.