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Modi, Obama to share thoughts on Mann ki Baat radio address


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama will share their thoughts in a "special" episode of the 'Mann ki Baat' radio address Jan 27.

Modi, who has addressed three episodes of the 'Mann ki Baat' (from the heart) so far, has also invited questions from listeners which can be sent till Jan 25. The address will be broadcast on the state-owned All India Radio and Doordarshan channels.

"This month's 'Mann Ki Baat' episode will be a special one, where our Republic Day guest President Barack Obama and I will share our thoughts together. I am eagerly looking forward to the special 'Mann Ki Baat' programme with Obama, which will be aired Jan 27," said an official statement from the prime minister.

"'Mann Ki Baat' with President Barack Obama will not be complete without your participation! Send your Qs till the 25th, using #AskObamaModi" Additionally, MyGov gives you the opportunity to post your questions on a specially created Open Forum.", the statement said.

Modi has so far addressed three such episodes, on Oct 3, Nov 2 and Dec 14, last year. The half-hour episodes have the prime minister speaking in a chatty manner to listeners about how to better society.

He also recounts suggestions by listeners on his portal - or through letters - on how to improve services. Obama is no stranger to radio addresses, as he himself addresses a weekly one from the White House.

In the US, the radio address was begun by president Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, who had his inauguration broadcast on radio and later also delivered a presidential address on radio.

But the weekly address system originated with president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who did his first "fireside chat" radio address March 12, 1933.

He did 31 fireside chats between March 1933 and June 1944, in an era before television, cell phones and iPods existed to reach out to the public via radio.

On April 3, 1982, president Ronald Reagan revived the Weekly Radio Address in an effort to convey his thoughts regarding the country's under-performing economy.

The address was continued by George H. Bush but he did not adhere strictly to the weekly format. President Bill Clinton began the weekly address from Feb 6, 1993 and delivered a weekly address without fail until Dec 30, 2000.

President George W. Bush did his first radio address Jan 27, 2001 and his final address Jan 17, 2009. He did not miss a weekly radio address in eight years.

President Barack Obama did his first weekly radio address Jan 24, 2009 and has continued with it. He has added a new element to it: a YouTube video.

Almost every Friday, President Obama retreats into a quiet chamber of the White House - most often the Map Room or Roosevelt Room - and sits before the microphones and a video camera for several minutes. He will reflect on the past week. He may wish you a happy holiday. Sometimes, the address is jovial, other times sombre, says the Boston Globe in a report.