Hello FM, Malar Publications’ FM venture, is set to launch its first station in Chennai in September 2006. It will launch with the tag line ‘106.4 FM: Idhu thaan right number’ (This is the right number). While the content will be mostly in Tamil, attempt will be made to keep it ‘local yet hep’, with the core target being all existing FM listeners in the city.
Music will form 70-75 per cent of the content on the station. One thing that the station has set out to do is to ensure that it is perceptibly different from the present offerings on air.
“Fortunately for us, we’re part of an entity that’s seven decades strong and enjoys numero uno status in the morning and evening daily space. The expectation is to play one. The entire brand building route would tell the market that ‘We are sons of the soil’, and that this is a new station built by the people of Tamil Nadu. We’re going to embark on a quiet yet highly visible and simple communication from September 1, 2006,” said Rajeev Nambiar, President & CEO, Hello FM.
A team of 12-14 RJs is in place, and except for popular RJ Niladri, who will handle the English part of the programming (to be aired 3-4 hours on weekends), all the other RJs have no prior RJ-ing experience.
“The idea was to have fresh voices and break convention,” explained S K Ramesh, Head, Content & Marketing (B2C), Hello FM. The channel will attempt to be universal in its appeal and not focus on one segment of listeners. According to Ramesh, whoever consumed Tamil entertainment was a target for the station. “We will be playing more to moods than to demographics,” he said.
Ramesh further said that on the content side it would not be a branch of Hello FM in Coimbatore, but ‘Hello FM Coimbatore’. On the overall positioning of the channel, he said, “More than young or old, it’ll be fun. My dad still has fun. My son also has fun. Quality fun, responsible fun.”
With Daily Thanthi reaching out to a crore people each day, the channel should not have an issue communicating the frequency to its audiences. According to IRS figures, a large percentage of FM listeners also read the Thanthi. And in Tamil Nadu, we are reminded, only 10-15 per cent of radio listeners tune in to the radio in their cars, a majority of them preferring to listen to the radio at home. Keeping that and the moods of individual audience segments in mind, Hello FM hopes to define its own ‘prime hours’ instead of sticking to the ‘drive hours’. A 50-strong team that prides itself on its ‘high Tamil entertainment quotient’ is at work to bring the magic of Daily Thanthi’s leadership to the radio space.
Chennai currently listens to Radio Mirchi, Suriyan FM and the recently launched Radio City. MidDay, AdLabs, Muthoot and Noble are some other FM players preparing to enter the market there.
After attempting to make 106.4 the right number in Chennai, the next stop would be Trichy. Malar Publications hopes to say Hello to Trichy by November or December 2006, and then venture into Madurai and Coimbatore in January 2007. By April 2007, Hello FM hopes to be present in the other three cities it has licenses to operate in – Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Pondicherry.
“From there on, we believe radio can be sold as a medium,” noted Nambiar.
Malar Publications to launch its first FM station in Chennai, appoints Ramesh SK as Content Head