Monday, October 5, 2009

Politically Correct - Using Radio to Win an Election

Whether you're running for local, state, or national office, radio advertising can be the most effective (and cost-efficient) way to win the hearts and minds of the voters. A 37-year radio advertising veteran shares valuable insider's tips to help you harness the power of human speech and emotion in your radio commercials, and energize your campaign with the force of real-people endorsements.

As best I can recall, I've never put myself in a position to create a radio campaign for a candidate that I did not want to win the election. Just as I prefer to create advertising for clients whose businesses, products, and services I believe in, I prefer to limit my professional involvement in political campaigns to candidates I'd vote for myself. I am grateful to be in a position to indulge in this luxury.

This is not to say that every candidate whose radio I've handled has ultimately prevailed. The voters have the final say and the outcome is absolute, whether I agree or disagree with it. Fortunately, my track record has tallied more wins than losses over the years; and none of my candidate-clients has ever complained about the quality of my work, regardless of the outcome of the election.

It is a common practice among candidates for office to secure endorsements from voters who support them. Often these endorsements take the form of letters to the editor or newspaper advertisements containing the names of dozens, scores, even hundreds or thousands of supporters. When two or more candidates take this approach (as is often the case), one list of names is pitted against another, diminishing the intended effect.

A much better way to maximize the potential of a personal endorsement is to wield the matchless power of human speech (of which print is an imitation) to create an emotional as well as an intellectual impact, and combine it with the pervasiveness and intrusiveness of radio, the ubiquitous "go anywhere" medium that reaches and influences millions of Americans every hour of every day.

Understanding the bond between listeners and their radio stations is a topic for another day. The Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab (RAEL) has for the better part of the past decade conducted impressive research into radio advertising's emotional engagement, relevance, and influence upon listener-consumers. This research is available free of charge through the industry's national trade association, the Radio Advertising Bureau.

For now, I'd like to share a practical illustration of how an effective radio campaign can be built around real people, using resources readily available to most candidates at their local radio stations.

Five candidates were vying for an open seat on the Washington State Legislature in the recent primary election, held August 18th. Washington being a vote-by-mail state, ballots were sent out at the end of July, giving voters several weeks to make their choice. One of the quirky and somewhat controversial aspects of our primary is that the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election. This particular race was among four Republicans and one Democrat. I am pleased to report that the candidate whose radio advertising I was asked to handle, ended up cinching the top spot by a comfortable margin over the second-place finisher, another Republican, whose late husband had occupied this particular seat in the legislature until his (ultimately unsuccessful) battle with cancer forced him to vacate the position. The individual appointed to fill the remainder of his term, a former state legislator himself, chose not to run again.

My recommendation to my client was to start early and advertise consistently. Given the size of our sprawling district - larger than the state of Connecticut - we had several radio markets to cover. The plan was to introduce the candidate, her background and qualifications, and then build the campaign around the endorsements of people throughout the district who know and support her candidacy.

I did not want to use prepared scripts and risk having the individuals sound stilted and artificial, which is often the case when asking people to read from a printed page words that are not their own. Rather, I chose to interview - in person or over the phone - the people whose endorsements might be meaningful to voters. Most of these interviews lasted from ten or fifteen minutes; some took considerably longer. I had prepared a list of questions designed both to keep the conversation focused and to elicit meaningful answers. But we kept the conversation open enough so that each individual might have ample opportunity to share his or her insights.

As all experienced writers and producers well know, the greatest challenge (and the real work) is in the editing. I'm not referring simply to removing pauses, stumbles, "uhs" and all the little mouth noises - the saliva clicks, plosive pops, excessive sibilance and clipping - though this is certainly a part of the process, and can require scores of individual edits. Rather, I'm talking about the choice of which ideas, words and phrases to keep, which ones to leave out, and how best to combine them to convey the intended message clearly and effectively. It is painstaking and time-consuming; one might devote several hours of concentrated effort to the creation of a single one-minute spot. But this investment of time and effort often makes all the difference when it comes to the end result.

I created seven commercials for my candidate's primary election effort. Most of them went through several revisions and refinements, based on input from the client and her campaign staff. We ran them sequentially, each airing exclusively for a few days before being replaced by the next.

One of the ironies of the outcome of this primary race (to me, anyway) was that the candidate who theoretically should have conducted the most effective broadcast campaign, given his background in television journalism, his current position in marketing and communications, and his campaign promise to be, in his words, "your communications warrior" came in a distant fifth of the five candidates. He did his own radio spots, in which he sounded quite confident (some thought perhaps a bit cocky) that he was the man for the job. But his strategy, as embodied by his radio schedule, proved anemic. He ran ads (fairly heavily) for just two days during the entire campaign: the day the ballots were received in the mail, and again several weeks later, on the Monday before the election. By contrast, the top two contenders' radio campaigns were much more consistent.

Ultimately, my candidate's greater reliance on radio proved the best overall plan. Even her main competitor acknowledged this, specifically citing her radio campaign: According to a newspaper report:

Pat Hailey, republican candidate for the 9th District House position, said Fagan is likely in the lead because she spent more money and had an extensive radio advertising campaign.

Running for office? Enlist the assistance of a radio advertising professional who can help you uncover and tell the story that is uniquely yours. Put the power of radio to work for your campaign.

Approach to Knowledge and Learning Integrity

The resources required to 'deliver' high levels of public integrity are huge though, even if it were possible; arguably greater than the resources one could imagine being available.

This is due to the high costs of achieving:

• Strategic 'doneness' (prioritization/sequencing)

• Local legitimacy (polices come with ideological baggage)

• High quality of knowledge to transfer (appropriateness to context)

• Local commitment or 'buy-in'

All these play a significant role in the application of pro-integrity reforms and are hard to overcome when applying a top-down, internationally driven approach to public integrity reform, such as has characterized much policy to date.

Reformers then face the challenge providing high quality knowledge to a large number of people in a sustainable manner to achieve their objectives. Despite the increasingly year evidence of social benefits from high integrity the capacity prerequisites have delivered very little that is developed and sustained within local education and training sectors.

The purpose of education for Integrity is to meet this challenge and to overborne these persists the impediments to pro-integrity reform:

1. Unsystematic knowledge

2. Poor quality or poorly adapted knowledge

3. Lack of applied knowledge

4. Dispersed expertise

5. Lack of sustainable dissemination of knowledge

The integrity education provides a framework for the best of international (codified) knowledge to be blended with the tacit or experience based knowledge of local actors to raise capacities that will advance pro-integrity reform in countries on a case-by-case basis.

The goal is to develop and sustain high-quality; evidence-based learning delivered through major universities and civil service training institutions. Integrity education basic approach is while great value can be derived from learning from experiences internationally, the delivery, adaptation and development of teaching and applied knowledge creation is best conducted with people who are close to the problems the courses address.

The education is guided by an innovative approach to generating knowledge through courses and resources that draws on four mutually supporting dimensions:

• Organizational/ learning: high quality, systematized applied knowledge for reform;

• Scalability: Ability and cost-effectiveness of scaling-up, respond to demand;

• Sustainability: Demand-driven, self-sustaining over the short to medium-term;

• Measurable: the ability to benchmark, track and scale the quality and improvements of the teaching and learning.

The performance of education is therefore evaluated delivery on all four of these dimensions in a manner that is consistent with achieving its objectives

Parliamentary Self-Government

There is no denying the fact that Parliament is positioned in the supremacy of any government and very ethically, it is the strongest parliamentary feeling in the political organization and as such the political scientists have made their energetic efforts to find out their sources of political powers. Some well-known personalities like John Austin, Wilson, Hans Keelson and HLA Hart have always ransacked to unearth out the ways and means with which the source of power can be identified. In defining the conceptual factors of law, they realized only in the identification of sovereignty as the valid source of law.

In finding out the conceptual background, UK being historically a monarchial state always looked upon the King and the Queen as the source of ultimate power to maneuver the state. With the reduction of King's prerogative powers there came a correlative rise in the sovereignty of Parliament. As an ultimate target to interpret the source of power, the King and the queen has been preferred as the main code of law which affixes some reduction of power rather than uniformity as envisaged in democratic government.

The classical definition of sovereignty offered from a constitutional law rather then jurisprudential standpoint is that of A.V. Dicey drew a stern disjointing between legal and political sovereignty, where people hold political sovereignty, whilst legal sovereignty rests with the "Queen in Parliament". And this doctrine is the main concept of the UK. While judges interpret law they always keep it in their mind that what was the intention of the parliament about those matter. According to Dicey Parliament is legally sovereign due to three basic rules:

1. Parliament is the supreme law making body and may enact laws on any subject matter.

2. No parliaments are bound by its predecessor nor bind its successors.

3. No person or body, including a court of law may question the validity of Parliament's enactment.

According to Dicey, Parliament is the supreme law making authority and may legislate on any topics. In UK as there is no written constitution, parliamentary system is focal point. For example-Septennial Act, 1715, the life of parliament remains for a definitive period of time. Parliament possibly will grant independence to dependant states as exemplified by Zimbabwe Independence Act, 1979 and Nigeria Independence Act, 1960. Although the general force of law remains in demonstration and utilized for the cause of the preservation of human rights.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Anatomy of a Revolution

Some revolutions are eruptive. They gestate over a relatively short period of time, from the conception of an idea, a goal, a promise or an objective, they quickly transform from intellectual concept into mass action. The shorter the gestation period, the more violent the eruption. These are usually bloody revolutions, executed with the kind of force that dramatically changes the landscape of a society, a nation, or in the most extreme cases, the world. From a historical perspective, the Soviet revolution of 1917, while initially having a somewhat limited national objective (the abolishment of the tsar and the Russian monarchy), few would argue its final impact as being anything less than global. These types of revolutions are remarkably akin to a volcano - while the underlying pressure may have been building up over a long time, its explosion to the surface has an unmistakable identity, objective and effect.

And then there are the subtle revolutions, which instead of erupting, creep into existence. They are spoken about with subdued voices, introduced into circles of conversation without the participants even being aware that the revolution is in fact the topic of conversation. These revolutions quietly introduce new words into the vocabulary, ones which once had a different meaning, but are now transformed to inject new ideals and thoughts, and a call-to-action tension. They may be silent at their birth and through most of their progressing stages of maturity, but their outcome can be just as wide-spread and impacting as their more violent cousin.

These are the revolutions which, once they progress to an advanced stage, create a rude awakening in a society with a "how did we allow this to happen" reaction.

For the revolutionary, language is his most powerful arsenal. And within language, the slogan is his most effective weapon.

The revolutionary has honed the slogan to be his most potent instrument. He uses it to inject his philosophy into the dialog. He uses it to introduce new meaning sympathetic to his agenda into the language. And ultimately, once society has been "softened up" with acceptance of the new terms of the conversation, he uses it to polarize society, creating an "us" and "them" division between his supporters and opponents.

In the early stages, subtle revolutions are almost always fought with slogans. Conversations are generally not welcome since they create a platform for a dialog where the revolutionary's philosophy can be debated and usually defeated. However, ideology slogans are weapons to which there are few countermeasures.

An astute citizen will spot ideology slogans easily. Depending on the level of societal "softening" to the revolutionary's agenda, they are either transparent and direct in their presentation of the ideology ("All Power to the Soviets"- a Bolshevik slogan used in the eve of the October revolution) or quite subtle and non-committal ("Change we can believe in" - Slogan used by the Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign).

Slogans usually comprise very few words, so as to appeal to all levels of literacy and intellect. The power (and at the same time treachery) which slogans present lie in their simplicity and clever obfuscation of the real objective which they promote.

A Look at the History of Petitions

A petition is a list of names, usually with signatures, that are collected together to show a support for an idea or decision. Petitions like these are used in order to show those with power relating to the issue that a large selection of people feel strongly about a certain issue. The petition in this way suggests that there will be a large amount of opposition or dissatisfaction should the controlling party decide to act against the wishes of those on the list. Petitions have been around for a long, long time and can be used for almost any matter be it political or just a bit of fun. They have the power to change the course of history, facilitate democracy and sway gigantic decisions, or just to force producers to release the musical score from Transformers on CD.

Like so many things, petitions were perhaps used earliest in China during the pre-modern imperial era. Here petitions were sent to an 'Office of Transmission' where they would be read aloud to the emperor. Petitions could be sent by anyone from officials to peasants giving Imperial China an element of democracy ahead of its time. This system also court on in England during the 18th and 19th centuries where petitions served a popular form of protest and request in the British House of Commons. The most famous of these was the People's Charter in 1838, which stipulated that every man should get a vote (at the age of 21 at the time), that he should get to use a ballot, that parliaments would be annual and that the constituencies should be able to secure the correct amount of representation and choose who represented them and who made up their number. Eventually, through four separate petitions in total, the charter was successful and in this way petitions lay the foundation of democracy in Britain. In the US the 'Petition Clause' in the First Amendment to the US Constitution gave all people the right to petition the government for all matters pertaining to the 'redress of grievances'. This extends to the right to file lawsuits against the government. In Victoria, Australia women's suffrage even took the form of a successful petition which won a vital victory for women's rights.

Today the use of petitions is common place in politics, a recent and well-known example being the 2003 recall election in California that resulted in Arnold Schwarzenegger's governorship which occurred after he U.S. Representative Darrell Issa gathered millions of signatures to bring about the election. Petitions are now used more casually too however, and can be sent to television and film producers to request storylines or DVD releases, or to music producers. Petitions are also common in offices and schools to make changes to the internal workings of these smaller organisations and are encouraged in schools as a way to teach children the fundamentals of politics.

With the advent of the internet and today's large amount of connectivity, petitions far more quickly and easily be created for minor grievances and for fun. Facebook has seen the birth of thousands of petitions where joining a 'Facebook group' indicates support for matters as small as which soap characters should be brought back or cancelled and as large as ending genocide in Burma. Unlike traditional petitions these are not 'sent' anywhere but act more as a way of raising issues and venting frustrations. Joke petitions are also common online with titles such as 'Chuck Norris for President' (we can only dream). With a petition, anyone has the power to be heard and every vote counts; and as connectivity and democracy grows our ability to have a say on policy changing issues is only going to increase.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Politics is a Horrible Way to Run Human Societies in the Present Period

We all know that human primate politics is so very ugly, and yet, we get behind one politician or the other during the election season. Even though we all know that politics are mean-spirited, this is currently the methods we are stuck with. Well, I believe it's not good enough to accept this any longer.

Politics is so very dishonest. It's fake and fraudulent, it is the opposite of what we claim to stand for and teach our children, it is contrary to what we purport as the way we do things. It's all a lie in our political system today, but yes, I agree it is the "best lie" going and that it works because of "confidence" in the system, but the system is wrong, all wrong, and well, it's really too bad, I had hoped for so much more.

Funny thing is you cannot find a better place to live on said planet, the United States is tops. So, we are all very lucky to be living here in this time period. It's just too bad we lie to ourselves, because we can't fix it until we wake up and admit that it is broken, and not serving its ideals and principles. We are to blame for allowing this to occur, and we need to only look in our mirror for the answers. It's amazing that it all actually works, and we've produced this level of abundance and civilization.

Another huge issue is the challenges caused by the revolving door of government and lobbyists. The revolving door is upsetting, and it's on all sides. Regulators become private industry lawyers. In actuality they should have had to run a business before being regulators. Lobbyists are interesting too and as bad as they are every business like every citizen has the right to talk to their government elected officials regardless of how big the check is in their hand or if they show up with none.

Pay to play politics is a nasty business, of course, we had been forewarned, but didn't listen. I am a capitalist, pro-business, but legislators that hold the law out for ransom, well, this is incorrect thinking and a poor way to motivate what's best for this nation, or any city, county, state, territory, school district, etc. or the American People. I am deeply concerned.

Politics - Is It Good At All?

Politics- a word detested by most of the common people. To an ordinary person, politics is a synonym to corruption, misuse of power, money laundering and other malpractices. Politics has earned such a bad name for itself everywhere, that even the most honest political leader is looked upon with suspicion. Elections come and go. Majority of the populace does not bother to vote. They know, once elected a candidate forgets his electorate and runs after money and power. But these elected leaders can play havoc or bring peace and prosperity in the society. It depends on both their decisions and participation of people. It is true that political decisions and activities affect all aspects of people's lives. But is it really unfortunate?

Right from start of elections, candidates go on talking glibly about their plans to work for the benefit of all. They give speeches, hold rallies, fund raisers and waste precious money and time- just for power. It's after they are elected, their ambiguous talk is exposed. Elected representatives often get portfolios for which they are totally unqualified. Imagine an illiterate politician becoming a minister for education. Hard to believe but is commonplace in many backward countries. Such a man will be totally incompetent for office and may end up spoiling the education system. The common man won't be able to do a thing except watching promising careers and dreams fade away into oblivion.

It's nothing new that money gets decisions reversed. Bribe more than your adversaries and the decision or policy will be in your favour. Cigarette and liquor companies with backing of billions of dollars put public health on the path of deterioration. The governments do nothing. This was brought to light after so many years when a big tobacco companies were ordered by the American courts to dole out billions of dollars to people suffering from diseases acquired by smoking. Construction companies cut off trees in hundreds and thousands to build new towers and buildings. All with no objections from the government. The environment suffers.

In most cases common people get most affected while not even being fully aware of the reasons. Thats the whole irony of it. Most decisions and policies get formed without the peoples say. They are helpless watchers of the whole game.