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Chennai: FM Radio’s next battleground

06-November-2006
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Chennai: FM Radio’s next battleground

After Delhi and Mumbai, Chennai is emerging as the next FM battleground. The Southern metro has been witnessing heightened FM radio activity in the past two months. Big and Hello FM were launched in September and October, respectively, while Muthoot Group, Radio One and Kumudam Publications are set to enter the FM fray early next year. Radio City, Radio Mirchi and Suriyan FM are the other players currently operating in the city. Foreseeing a tough contest ahead, several existing stations are chalking out strategies to take the bull by the horns while others say they would cross the bridge when they come to it.

Among the five FM stations in Chennai, Radio Mirchi and Suriyan FM have completed more than three years of operation. Radio City, which hit the airwaves three months ago, is pinning its hope on the recent programming makeover, while Malar Publications’ Hello FM believes that its mix programming content is enough to romp home.

Hello FM also has an English fare which is on air every Sunday from 6 pm to 9 pm. The channel also has a programme called ‘Central Station’ where they play Hindi and English music. And Big FM boasts of its pan India presence, celebrity RJs and its positioning as adult contemporary music station. The channel is now trying to position itself as a mass channel.

S K Ramesh, Executive Vice-President and Head-Content, Hello FM, said, “Hello FM has been doing remarkably well and we have not chalked out any pro-active or pre-emptive strategy so far. We have an inherent trend and we understand the local market better than anybody else. However we would keep track of the existing and upcoming FM channel and react if the need arises.”

Subrahmanian Sankaranarayanan, Branch Head, Big FM, Chennai, said, “We want to connect to the people and that is exactly what we have been doing so far. We do not want to compromise on technology, content, coverage and listenership which is the key.”

Lakshmi Sharath, Vice-president, South, Big FM, said, “We want to connect to the larger audience. We want to take the ivory tower of radio to homes, malls, colleges and several other places to make our presence felt everywhere.”

I Ahmed, Programming Head, Radio City, said, “Radio City is an FM station targeting the premium segment and we have revamped our content offering recently to suit the segment we are targeting. Among the present FM players in Chennai, we are different. We play 70 per cent English music. I do not know what the new stations strategy is going to be and we would cross the bridge when we comes to it.”

Officials from Suriyan and Radio Mirchi were not reachable for comment.

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