Hello FM, owned by Malar Publications Group, has joined hands with BBC Radio to provide some of its content. One of the reasons for this strategic tie-up is the possibility of a Government nod to air news and current affairs, which could help the FM station grow further and allow it to play a much larger role. Hello FM, which is predominantly a Tamil FM station, also plays English songs on weekends and generates its creatives in-house. Hello FM claims to have generated revenues worth Rs 70 million for the first quarter this fiscal, a growth of over 40 per cent as compared to the same quarter last year.
Following this partnership, there would be capsules of 60-90 second duration, titled ‘Hello Nimishyam BBC Vishayam’, which means ‘It’s Hello’s time with BBC’s content/ insight’, which will be aired every hour across its seven stations. The content would include lifestyle and entertainment, which would include Kollywood, Bollywood, Hollywood and Sports as well. This exercise would be launched from August 17, 2009. There will also be a weekly roundup of ‘Hello Nimishyam BBC Visheyam’, which will be aired on Saturdays as part of its breakfast shows, and a sports roundup as part of its English show on Sundays. Thus, there would be two 15-minute capsules on weekends (weekly roundup capsules), while on a daily basis there would be 60-90 second capsules.
In conversation with exchange4media.com, Rajeev Nambiar, CEO, Radio Hello, said, “BBC has seen us as one of the best ways to take their interest forward. We are also excited about the association because this is a relationship that we can leverage on once we get the nod from the I&B Ministry to air news and current affairs as part of our content. Nevertheless, BBC will be putting across a lot of informative capsules, which will see many interesting highlights of subjects that are of interest to our audience.”
“This content is of great value, which can bring in new audience for us, and once we have the mandate to air news and current affairs, we would also have the ability to play a larger role,” he added.
A change of name:
Meanwhile, in another development and keeping an eye on the Phase III FM rollout along with the possibility of getting the nod for multiple frequencies, Hello FM will henceforth be known as Radio Hello 106.4 FM, the reason being that it was the frequency of the FM station that had taken the centrestage, at least in the South. “More than rebranding, we call it a redress. We want a brand name eventually, which would be in synonymous with the category of radio, so we want to be known as Radio Hello and not Hello FM. Secondly, while speaking in Tamil, the frequency was always the hero as it had taken centrestage. We are gearing up for Phase III and cultivating a global audience, therefore, we want to emphasise on the brand name rather than the frequency name.”
While the FM station has both television partners and their own print medium, Hello FM will be taking to on-ground activities extensively in order to promote its name change. In such on-ground activity is called ‘College Sema Star’, which will see the FM station reaching out to nearly 91 colleges in 13 weeks, thus reaching out to over five lakh students. In this process, the FM station will also shortlist around 5,000 radio talents. Each college and the chosen talent will be allowed to manage the radio station on Sundays as RJs on various shows. This activity will continue for a period of 13 weeks.
“We have very clearly strategised that all our marketing initiatives would be audience contact initiatives. We are not going to run major mass media campaigns except as part of deliverable for sponsored activities,” added Nambiar.
exchange4media.com has also learnt that Hello FM will be hiring new talents at the executive levels. With the Phase III launch expected soon, the FM station also has expansion plan on the cards as it does not want to be confined to one region alone. Said Nambiar, “We are looking at expansion and not just confining ourselves to a region. We hope to make this foray either independently or through a strategic alliance.”