Praveen Malhotra, CBO, BIG FM, India’s one of the largest radio networks with a total of 61 stations shared her socially relevant campaigns and views on CSR with India CSR Network. She says, we are very excited and positive to bring about a social awakening by making our listeners the harbinger of change. Through our innovative campaigns, we ensure that we are being heard and the message reaches out to a larger demographic creating maximum impact. Edited excerpts:
What are the major focus areas in which the company has done CSR?
BIG FM has always been the front runner in CSR initiatives. Centered around conservation of the environment, promoting eco-friendly practices, associating with NGOs to connect with unprivileged kids, among many others.
By far our biggest initiative, BIG Green Ganesha marked its 10th season this year. The concept of eco-friendly Ganesha idols made from paper mache was initiated by us back in the year 2008. Since then, it has spread across 20 major cities. This year in Chennai, we went all out and distributed Ganesha idols made out of clay. On the occasion of World Environment Day, we have been hosting the largest painting competition for kids with the theme based on an important message. While the first two seasons focused on water conservation, the latest edition educated people about the need to plant more trees to curb pollution. The enormity of the activity made us enter the esteemed Limca Book of Records in the first season.
In a bid to work towards the welfare of the society, we initiate socially relevant campaigns. BIG Heart and BIG Dariyadili are impactful campaigns. While BIG Heart focused on providing the underprivileged with basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. BIG Dariyadili urged listeners to donate woollen clothes, blankets and other essentials to help the people withstand the harsh winters of north India. Marking its success for the last 5 years, BIG Dariyadili bagged immeasurable support from the reputed NGO Goonj & ace cricketer Virender Sehwag along with many other prominent personalities. ‘Sutta Chodd De Na Yaar’, ‘Be Santa’, ‘BIG Green Durga’, ‘BIG Gandhigiri’ are also some of our other initiatives that focus on creating awareness and contribute towards making an impact in the society.
Highlight the role/contribution of BIG FM MJs in the socially relevant initiatives.
Our MJs play an imperative role in driving the thought behind innovative campaigns. For example, on the occasion of ‘World No Tobacco Day’, with self-devised activity – ‘Sutta Chodd De Na Yaar’, the MJs encouraged listeners, who are smokers, to accept a 72 hour no-smoking challenge. In this manner, we hope to make a positive difference in the lives of smokers and their families by helping them quit this unhealthy habit. Our most heard MJ Siddharth, led ‘See the Radio’ initiative, and visited an institute for the hearing-impaired kids in Mumbai to create awareness around the challenges and issues faced by them on a daily basis. Chennai’s popular MJ Balaji was honoured as the ‘Indian of the Year’ by former Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley at the 10th edition of CNN News 18 for displaying a heroic act of helping people during the devastating Chennai Floods in 2015. MJs feel deeply about these causes which helps take the campaign to the next level. They go an extra mile to create awareness among listeners.
How as a radio platform BIG FM has leveraged its reach in implementing CSR initiatives?
All the causes taken up by BIG FM adhere to the radio network’s ideology of providing entertainment with a cause. Through our innovative campaigns, we ensure that we are being heard and the message reaches out to a larger demographic creating maximum impact. Our MJs go on-ground to connect with the locals and spread awareness around social causes. We invite participation from listeners and urge them to pledge their support to make it a success. With an unparallel reach of 61 stations and exclusively designed campaigns, we have been able to make an impact by promoting the thought of collectively working towards addressing issues prevailing in the society.
MJ Khurafati Nitin is specially known to take up social causes. How has his association with the radio station contributed in driving CSR initiatives?
Having MJ Nitin on board was like adding another jewel to the crown, he is immensely concerned about tackling social issues which need attention. Having an extremely strong determined voice & opinion, MJ Nitin successfully led the radio network’s social cause #care4her in Delhi. Here, he connected with listeners from different parts of the city, highlighting issues relating to women’s safety. MJ Nitin’s interest towards speaking-up about social issues fits in perfectly well with BIG FM’s ethos, making this an apt association.
What kind of response/feedback your CSR campaigns have received?
Over the years, the campaigns driven by us have received commendable response from listeners and have shaped the radio network’s brand identity. We are pleased to see that our efforts like ‘BIG Green Ganesha’ & ‘BIG Green Durga’ have paid-off as this eco-friendly concept has seeped into the mass consciousness.
‘BIG Gandhigiri,’ an initiative to paint the public spaces like walls, staircases and keep them clean by leveraging the participation of Delhites was well appreciated. Another campaign that created a major impact – ‘BIG Disha,’ was led in the year 2013, it reached out to more than 6 Lakh youth across 325 towns in Bihar, MP, UP, West Bengal and Gujarat with career and grooming workshops.
The social initiative of Pani Bachao, Life Banao as a part of the World Environment Day entered Limca Book of Records with over 12500 entries in its 1st season held in 2015. This year as well, with the proposition of No Pollution More Plantation’ the initiative aimed at making the future generation aware of the adverse effects of pollution.
For 5 consecutive years, we have been successfully organizing the BIG Chandigarh Marathon acknowledging efforts of the individuals and administration of the Tri-city that contributes to positioning Chandigarh as City Beautiful.