With the expansion of FM radio from 12 to 91 cities in the second phase, 2007 is expected to be the year of the radio. Biggies like Radio Mirchi, Big FM, Adlabs Radio, Radio City, Radio One, etc. will be launching new stations in the next few months.
Big 92.7 FM has aggressive expansion in the North. Its National Sales Head and Northern Praveen Malhotra said, “Big FM is poised to create history with its pan-India presence, spanning across 45 cities, 1,000 towns and 50,000 villages, reaching out to 200 million listeners. We plan to take radio as a medium of entertainment not only to the metros but also to virgin markets.”
Malhotra adds that Big FM has the capacity to touch every fifth Indian across the country — every third urban Indian and one in every eight rural Indian. “We are launching our stations and by May, we’ll have 45 stations," said Malhotra.
Big FM Associate VP Sudev Datta said that the channel would soon launch stations in both Ranchi and Jamshedpur. “The process of obtaining towers from Broadcasting Engineering Consultant India Ltd is on, and as soon as we get it we’ll begin our operations,” he says, adding it will also begin operations from June-end, if not earlier.
Radio Mirchi is opening stations in Patna, Goa and Jalandar by March-April. “Our plans are to open 22 new stations by the end of the year,” said a senior Radio Mirchi official.
Says SSM 93.5 FM Project Head Nisha Narayanan, “We would be looking at UP and MP markets, besides the Eastern regions in March and April.”
According to Radio One Chief Executive Rajesh Tahil, “More stations are going to be rolled out in Pune, Kolkata and Ahmedabad by the end of the year.”
The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group-controlled Adlabs Radio has already set up stations in the Northern markets comprising UP, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal and J&K, and has plans to set up 20 stations in the region, besides launching the service in Hissar in Haryana.
Adlabs CEO Tarun Katial said, “The response from the cities where we’ve launched has been very encouraging. In the North, we are in the process of launching the services in Hissar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Amritsar and other cities. We also have plans to create history with our presence in 45 cities, 1,000 towns and 50,000 villages.”
Adlabs and Neutral Publications have bagged the tenders for both Ranchi and Jamshedpur regions. BAG Infotainment and an arm of the Jagran Group would have one station in Ranchi, while the South Asia Group would have a station in Jamshedpur.
Chaska 95.0 FM is all set to hit Gwalior by mid-March, provided BECIL is able to put up the infrastructure in place by then. The channel's Director Tarun Goyal said, “We’re waiting for BECIL to complete infrastructure development so that we can roll out our station.”
Radio City National Marketing Head Rana Barua said, “We’re launching in Gujarat, Baroda, Surat, Ahmedabad, Pune, Nagpur, Vizag, Coimbatore and Maharashtra. We’re launching in 13 cities by May.”
BAG Infotainment Chief Executive and the Association of Radio Operators of India Coordinator Rajiv Mishra commented, “It is expected that roughly 200 stations will be commissioned by July.”
Red FM declined to provide any details despite repeated attempts.