MUMBAI: BBC World Service has announced that BBC Hindi's six-week Your World, Your Voice campaign in northern India, during November to December last year, connected with over 73,000 people.
Your World, Your Voice toured 14 towns across the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, debating issues of importance to the local residents – from jobs, education, pollution and crime to water supply, land reform and naxalism.
At least 45,000 people engaged with the BBC via audience-participation events including debates, quizzes and street theatre. The BBC also reached around 28,000 people with promotional activities in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttaranchal.
The entire agenda for Your World, Your Voice was shaped up by a special BBC-commissioned research project which identified the main concerns of listeners in northern India. This was supplemented with questionnaires on the ground distributed during the events.
BBC Hindi head Achala Sharma said, "Wherever we went, we were humbled by the level of engagement people showed us. While thousands came to each debate, nearly 11,000 local residents had their say via the questionnaires and around 13,500 people subscribed to our newsletter, BBC Hindi Samvad.
"BBC Hindi is the most popular international broadcaster among our core audiences in India's heartland, but the feedback Your World, Your Voice received shows we are much more than that. Those who came to meet with us appreciated the BBC's engagement with the issues that affect their everyday lives.
"They said that they felt 'the BBC is not only concerned with news, it is also concerned about the people, that the BBC belongs to the people…' or, as someone put it, 'commoners became VIPs at the BBC events'. This is what BBC Hindi means to millions of our listeners – and we will keep it front of mind as we plan our future programming."
Through the questionnaires, the local residents expressed demand for increased air-time of BBC Hindi's Hum Se Poochiye (Ask Us) and Career Kya Karoon (Career Advice). They also want more content on health, science and arts as well as entertainment.
BBC Hindi programmes are produced from studios in London and New Delhi and are set in a rolling format, with news, current affairs and features. The interactive morning and evening programmes, Aaj Ke Din and Aaj Kal, bring the BBC Hindi listeners news, analysis and interviews on a range of issues, from current affairs and careers to showbiz and sports.
BBC Hindi is available on short wave and medium wave radio and via cable television. Hindi-speakers across the world can access BBC Hindi programmes in text and in audio at the site bbchindi.com.