For the future of radio in India, to give variety to listeners – do believe what listeners have to say, do believe in doing things differently! It is easier to say, but not as easy to follow, since the objective of doing meaningful radio is different for every organisation. It has its own priorities based on revenue, content, team, experience, learning, risk appetite and belief.
What does diversified mean on radio? Variety?
Is “variety” based on listener and the City of operation?
How much variety do we compare with other Radio Stations?
Does the organisation believe in the team that gives variety or they change the team often?
How different is one station than the other in its music, jock talk, segments, advertising breaks and productions?
It’s an impossible task to reach out to all listeners. If a radio station drives towards profitability, the game is very different. There will be compromises, in every segment, jock endorsement, OB links, like events without relevance, going off air during the night time band, etc. The listener will be compromised all the time. They will switch the dial and why should they come again? Is there appointment listening? Here are my seven points on how we can bring in real ‘variety’ in radio content.
Listen to the listener: Sharp focus on local content. Radio is local, intensely so. Only a few things broadcast in Delhi will also find resonance in Mumbai. Also, there is more to a city than what is known to our listeners. Learn it and make others learn. Radio Jockeys connect the city with listeners. And if they do a good job, differentiation will be much bigger than what is actually done. Variety is your baby, nurture it well and make it grow!
Positioning your station: Positioning is to the listener, to the advertiser, to the employee and to the organisation. Create a strong position and consistently establish the same through various initiatives. The myth that more listeners deliver better results is not always true. Positioning differently in a crowded place and consistently making a point will attract audience loyalty and that will become your promise of coming back again and again.
Music Mix: It would probably work wonders for radio listenership if differentiation of content goes beyond a few programming innovations and addresses the actual sound, music and attitude of the station. There is more music than what our ears can hear. Music selection is the key. Rotation of songs and shows has to be in sync with the listeners whom we want to attract. Variety comes from formats like contemporary, talk radio, sports, news (based on regulatory approvals).
Station Packaging: Make the station stand out with the help of jingles, sweeps with promos and the right attitude. Productions will definitely need to reach out to listeners. You know your listeners really well and you want to impress them, again and again. Do it in a way that attracts the listeners and makes them passionate about sound.
Interactivity: Tap into the immediacy of radio, where ‘in-the-moment’ reactions of listeners can be captured, thus leveraging the ‘live’ aspect of radio. Involve and engage your listeners every hour and create enough value for them to believe that it’s not about the money. Properties that add value to the advertiser and the listener should be unique. This is an opportunity and appetite to bring in great value. Work hard to differentiate. The creative team can deliver good properties and not copy-cat concepts. Variety can come from listener interactions with varied offerings on interactivity.
Management: Management’s thinking on variety can drive radio content to new heights. Variety and outcome is based on what the management expects. It can be short term or long term. Don’t get excited with early signs. Remember, since there is ability to differentiate, stations have to put their heads down and work harder.
Great Team delivers great results: A passionate and talented team can definitely deliver better results and bring in variety, which is essential in making a complete radio station. Believe in your team, identify and nurture skills of the team so that you get the best out of them. Variety can come if the team thinks and works hard. Radio will allow the team to apply their mind, every second, every day.
(Sanjay Hemady is Chief Operating Officer, Hit 95 FM.)