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India maxes out on radio as election approaches

If you are a politics junkie, India is the country for you. Right now 814.5 million Indian voters are qualified to cast ballots in the impending elections for India’s 543 member lower house and the country’s president. They can choose from 50 regional parties and two national parties. Ten million polling officials and security people will staff 930,000 polling stations.

How will they decide who to vote for? This year it appears that radio will play a huge role in their choices.

An estimated 100 million Indian citizens tune into radio every day, the above NDTV feature says. India’s Election Commission is pouring money into public service announcements to get out the vote. But it looks like the political parties are also investing in radio like never before, bombarding commuter ears with political ads that can last from three seconds to three minutes. A ten second ad costs 1,000 Rupees or more, around 16 USD.

In 2009 political parties spent only around two to five percent of their campaign budgets on political radio ads. “Now it is anything between 10 to 50 percent,” the NDTV reporter notes.

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