Radio has changed election campaigns (and continues to do so)

Dr. Louis Perron
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With all the hype about social media, big data and more recently, artificial intelligence, people forget that technological changes have always impacted campaigns. Structurally speaking, this is nothing new.

Radio, for example, has dramatically changed electoral politics some hundred years ago. Radio made it possible for candidates to communicate with masses of voters remotely and without being physically present. Franklin D. Roosevelt was said to be one of the first politicians who not only used radio, but wholeheartedly embraced it. While voters were used to always see and hear politicians from distance before, FDR used it to give his communication with voters a personal touch.

When talk radio became popular, it has again impacted campaigns. During the Covid pandemic, radio was a powerful tool to engage voters tied down in a lockdown.

And today, I still like to use radio in political campaigns. It’s fast and flexible, easy to penetrate, a good tool to target voters and, well, can be done remotely.

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