With a staggering 814 million people entitled to vote this general election, political parties are experimenting with different types of media to reach out to voters. While door-to-door campaigning was once a favorite, social media campaigning and extensive use of radio have also taken center-stage this time.
The reason is obvious. For lakhs of commuters, radio is a loyal companion. No surprise then that all political parties are using the medium in a big way to grab the attention of an estimated 100 million listeners, who tune in to nearly 300 private FM channels and many more government-run stations every day.
On FM radio, prime time slots are being bombarded with political advertisements as political parties are spending considerable part of their campaigning budget on the medium. Jingles can be 15 seconds to 3 minutes long; a 10 second slot costs Rs. 1000 upwards.
"During the 2009 polls, political parties were spending just two to five per cent of their advertising budget on radio ads. Now it is anything between 10 to 15 per cent," Rohit Upadyay, CEO and Director of iBroad 7 tells NDTV and adds that what makes the radio so popular is the fact that it can reach audiences even in remote areas and allows the message to be delivered in a more personalised manner in regional languages and dialects.
And it's not just political parties, but the Election Commission has also used the medium extensively to encourage voting.
Radio jingles, it seems, are certainly striking the right note this election season.