Private radio channels in city to boost awareness of voters

Prajakta Joshi
Monday, 28 January 2019

To create awareness among the public with respect to elections and voting, private radio channels along with community radio stations in the city have planned a series of programmes to educate the voters.

Pune: To create awareness among the public with respect to elections and voting, private radio channels along with community radio stations in the city have planned a series of programmes to educate the voters.

With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the government and several public and private bodies have started programmes to encourage the public to vote. Similarly, the FM radio channels have started running awareness campaigns.

“We held a campaign recently to urge our listeners to register as voters. Similarly, we have started this feature, where playing on words in Marathi, we tell people ‘Mat Kar’ (which means ‘Vote’). While this has already begun, as the elections are close, we will have many other hyperlocal drives and initiatives,” said RJ Sangram of Big FM. Shubhra Mishra, Cluster Programming Head at Radio One said the channel has planned several activities sans commercialisation, with the objective of voter education. “Our national team has been planning programmes for the same and we are waiting for their instructions.” 

We will have drives for everything, right from encouraging people to get registered, to urging them to go out there and give their precious vote,” Mishra added.

Community radios to join the drive
“In the next 15 days or so, we will be starting with our regular spots on voter awareness. Also, we have recorded one programme on democracy and its features. We will start airing it at regular intervals after a few days. We will also educate our listeners on the importance of voting in a democracy and teach them about the power of NOTA (none of the above),” Sanjay Chandekar, Head, Radio FTII said. Radio FTII is a community radio centre run by the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

Anand Deshmukh of Vidyavani, community radio centre run by Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), said since last year, the centre has started planning and running several programmes for the purpose of voter education.
 
“With the big elections coming soon, we will now be conducting similar programmes at the radio station. Instead of just making the message reach people in the regular manner, we will also try to do so in form of other media like drama, music, etc., so that it appeals to more people. We are looking forward to hold meetings with the officials of Maharashtra Election Commission, and will be running the campaign with their support,” Deshmukh explained.

As Sakal Times had earlier reported, the three community radio centres in the city have reached to slum areas surrounding them. While Vidyawani, which is mainly for students of SPPU, also has its reach in the slum dwellings of Aundh and Pashan, another popular community radio centre Radio FTII has its listeners in Kelewadi, and the slums of Mahadevnagar, Swami Vivekanand Vasahat, Ganesh Mala off Sinhagad Road.

“The community radio has a huge potential to make impact as it has a direct connect to the communities it reaches. Hence, it would be beneficial if these centres conduct such programmes before the upcoming elections. They should not promote any party, but should educate the listeners on their rights and on the need to vote,” Vilas Rabde, a consultant of electronics who is associated with Pune’s community radio scene said.

Initiative by ECI
Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) conducted a workshop for Radio Jockeys (RJs) of leading FM channels on voter awareness. A total 19 RJs from major FM channels participated in the interactive session, where they participated in activities for dissemination of voter education. The workshop familiarised the RJs with the election process so that they can help in dissemination of information to their listeners. There was special focus on EVM VVPAT awareness and ‘Verify your details on Electoral Roll’.

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