| 19 Apr 2024
Radio Mango's Anjana Nayar reveals how radio stations function during elections

MUMBAI: Despite corruption allegations, Congress-led coalition government United Democratic Front, won at the by-poll on 30 June in Kerala. What does it take to be on radio when there is an election going on and major stories unwrap? It has its own set of challenges followed by interesting programming.

The first Malayalam private radio station of Kerala, which is operated by the Malayala Manorama, Radio Mango, spoke about its radio plan. Radio Mango- Kochi programme manager Anjana Nayar said, “Although we do not give live updates, we try to capture the spirit of the on-going discussions in a completely non-political fashion. While counting was on at Aruvikkara today, we ran a contest for our listeners to predict the winning candidate.” Congress Party candidate- K S Sabarinadhan defeated rival M Vijayakumar by a margin of 10,128 votes at the Aruvikkara Assembly by-poll.

During pre-election, the station focussed on the way election processes impact the lives of constituents, and like other stations, Radio Mango also stayed away from opinion polls or discussions about each party's prospects. Nayar further said, “Post election, we do not discuss vote shares or political consequences but focus on what would interest our TG, the youth. In today's by-election result for instance, our focus is on the fact that KS Sabarinathan, the newly elected MLA is to be the youngest member of the Legislative Assembly.”

When quizzed about keeping biases away on-air, Nayar said, “Since we do not talk about parties or candidates per se in the run up to the elections, there is no question of bias or promotions. If at all we talk about candidates - as we did during the last General Elections, when we did a story on candidates celebrating Vishu amidst campaigning - we covered all the candidates rather than a selective few. Again, no politics were discussed.”

Some elections plans might include talking to poster designers or suppliers of public address systems on how the campaigning boosts business.