Saumitra Shukla
Programming Head, Music and Content Strategist,
Radio Mirchi

Vocal for local

Lockdown period? Thinking about it gives us goosebumps and we can silently pat our back for being patient and dealing with it with utmost care and caution. The Prime Minister gave the mantra of going Vocal for Local, and this mantra fits perfectly and smoothly for the radio as a medium, which echoes voices of the city.

During the lockdown, we all had been subject to problems and daily life struggles. It impacted directly to small and big businesses. Work-from-home became the new normal for everyone. During this time, radio content was normal as it was earlier, and it emerged to be the most powerful and trustworthy medium. Being local is key for FM radio industry and this worked wonders for the medium and advertisers having radio as a part of their media plan. When audience required smooth and reliable content, which was credible and entertaining, radio stood with them as their best friend.

This phase gave us a key takeaway that radio is relevant and most essential medium when it comes to going vocal for local. All the radio stations were giving updated information of COVID-19, local information, emergency assistance, and echoed voices of the city administration, public representatives, which kept the audience informed. The thorough broadcast of such information reduced the state of chaos, lowered the hearsay becoming news, and cleared myths floating around.

This need-of-the-hour radio programming has shown remarkable growth in radio listenership. As per the AROI report, radio home listenership jumped by 22 percent to 86 percent from 64 percent. According to the study done by AZ research across a sample size of 3300 people, 82 percent people have been tuning in to radio during COVID-19, with FM channels emerging as the second most credible source of information for the masses.

Apart from being local and giving local updates to listeners, radio became more responsible than ever. Remember the time when we were flooded with fake news, myths, and misconceptions related to COVID-19, radio content was bursting all such false information. Got a forward on the family group that vaccine was found? Or drinking some home remedies is the cure for coronavirus? Or some noted public figure being positive? Radio content stood there and cleared the mist for people.

Another major role radio played in this lockdown was of your best friend and a person you can rely upon. Lockdown resulted in unwanted stress and psychological issues among people. Radio jockeys, who normally carry friendly relationship with their listeners, were the support system for many people. Radio came out with live sessions of interactions with psychologists, therapists, and healers so that people can gather strength to handle tough times with convenience.

With cancelled shoot scenes and productions coming at halt, TV GECs were completely dependent on the old content. Remember the epic rebroadcasts at 9 am? Radio served fresh entertainment, which has been the main reason people switched back to radio again and again, and was very much visible in the AROI report and respective surveys being conducted.

When Unlock–1 approached, local market associations got an opportunity to connect with consumer through radio only. Post-lockdown time radio stations like Radio Mirchi came up with the campaign on jobs to help people in this tough time.

Radio dealt this situation with utmost responsibility and ensured that listeners continue to get the Khushi advantage. Making people smile, when everything was blue was a tough task, but thanks to modified programming, establishing real time connection, and our prolonged bond with the listeners, the RJs did their radio shows and used their social media handles pretty efficiently to bring in live sessions with influencers, artists, singers, and the experts, which hosted informative and entertaining sessions.

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