It's not just the Election Commission that is going all out to motivate the Indian electorate to exercise their right to vote. Radio operators have also launched aggressive campaigns for this.
While most radio operators are using the airwaves to get their message across, Red FM and Big FM have come on-ground to deliver their messages. Big FM recently took out an 'animal rally' in Hyderabad to exhort listeners to make use of their right to vote. Meanwhile, Red FM has sounded a warning to its listeners to go out and vote; otherwise, the station would get them to vote.
Big FM's 'You have the Right, Vote for the Right' and Red FM's 'Vote - Karega Ya Karvaaon' campaigns are pushing hard to achieve their common objective.
Ramesh Bhaskar, station director, Big FM, Hyderabad, says, "Big FM is a bold and outspoken station; and like with every issue, we have taken this issue head-on. The insight that we worked on was that people generally vote in a herd mentality, which is wrong. By taking out an animal rally, we wanted to impress on our listeners that while animals can't think; you can think. So, put that faculty to good use by electing responsible leaders. Our proposition to the people of India is not just to vote but vote 'positively'."
He explains, "We felt the need to do something which goes beyond building awareness and actually get people to go and vote. As part of our social initiative, Bajaao for a Cause, Red FM believes in not just raising issues but also driving action. This initiative will aim to drive people out of their homes and vote."
Both the stations began their campaigns on April 6. While Big FM's campaign will culminate on April 16, the voting day in Hyderabad; Red FM will continue its efforts till April 30, Mumbai's D-day.
Though both the stations talk about the importance of casting votes, there is a fine distinction. Red will ensure that Mumbaikars go to polling stations, by sending its RJs to visit listeners' homes and urge them to vote. Big, on the other hand, is not just talking about casting votes, but is asking listeners to vote 'positively'.
During Big FM's animal rally in Hyderabad, the message was communicated via horses and camels, with banners draped on their backs, with messages such as 'Do not vote for Corruption, Do not vote for Criminals'. The positive voting message is also being promoted heavily on-air, especially in the station's breakfast show hosted by RJ Shekar. Shekhar covers the latest developments on the political front on the show -- while providing listeners with information, he also spreads the clear message to vote.
As for Red FM, the campaign starts with the aggressive proposition of asking people to not blame the Government of India for giving them corrupt politicians, but putting their index finger to good use by voting. Initially, the station is using on-air promos that ask listeners to not just vote themselves, but also take the responsibility of getting others in their social groups to cast their votes. For the duration of April 6-18, the station has tied up with several NGOs, working on similar initiatives, to answer listeners' queries and doubts related to the elections. After that, Red FM RJs, along with celebrities supporting the cause, will personally visit listeners' homes and ask them to vote on April 30.
Singh says, "We have rolled out an extensive plan for the upcoming elections, which uses peer pressure and mass involvement to encourage people to vote. The concept will encourage people to become leaders of their groups and take up the responsibility for getting them to vote."
The climax of the campaign will see Red FM's teams again visiting listener's homes, as well as the polling stations, to interact with people.
Both the stations have conceptualised and are executing their respective campaigns using their in-house resources.First Published : April 16, 2009