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India Radio Forum 2006: Radio stations – the challenges and strategies

India Radio Forum 2006: Radio stations – the challenges and strategies

Author | Saiprasad Kandalkar | Friday, Jul 14,2006 7:22 AM

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India Radio Forum 2006: Radio stations – the challenges and strategies

The Indian Radio Forum 2006 held on July 13, 2006 in Mumbai is the culmination of an industry sitting up and taking notice of a rejuvenated medium called radio. With new licenses given, new technologies coming up and new sources of funds pouring in, the radio industry is running through its transition phase.

India Radio Forum invited international speakers and Radio Corporation heads on a dais to share their knowledge and strategies through a number of sessions on various topics. One of these sessions was ‘Making Your Station Different’ by Karen Tobin, Director of Marketing, CBS K-Earth 101 FM. Talking about branding of a radio station, Tobin said, “Insure that your brand is clearly differentiated, desirable and present it in a dominant manner. Listeners should know ‘who’ you are and ‘why’ you should be their choice.”

Tobin presented her ‘secret recipe’ on how to make a radio station different. “Build a strong marketing team with communication as the key, enhance on-air promotion, but maintain simplicity, clarity, consistency and creativity, strengthen the brand campaign by integrating on-air and off-air messaging and target key and geographical press outlets with publicity stunts,” she said.

The next session brought together regional radio broadcasters, who discussed on ‘The Challenges before Regional/Local FM Radio Broadcasters and the Strategies to Triumph’. The session was moderated by Rajiv Mishra CEO, BAG Infotainment. The two speakers for the session were Naval Toshniwal, Head, Radio Operations, Pudhari Publication and Manmeet Gulzar, who had recently acquired a radio station in Gwalior.

Toshniwal pointed out the four most important factors for a radio station’s functioning, the road blocks and strategies to overcome these blocks. He said, “Technology, content, marketing and sales and human resource are the most important factors one should consider. As far as technology goes the right choice is crucial. The strategy to overcome this would be to tie up with established players for knowledge transfer and getting into a consortium of regional broadcasters.”

Gulzar, who is a new entrant in this industry, said, “I might not know much about the industry, but I am prudent to know that I will face problems like poaching of professionals, omnipresent competitors and lack of marketers. I hope AROI lays down some regulations on this.”

Following this was a session by Neil Curry, Senior Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service English Networks on ‘Fast Track: International Strategies’. Curry’s presentation showcased the diversity in ideas of different BBC executives from different countries running the radio stations in their respective regions.

Talking about the changing radio market, Curry said, “With increasing media choices to the consumer, it is necessary to segment the market and come up with ideas like specialised radio stations and catering to segmented audiences.”

Curry also brought to the audiences’ attention the new and emerging platforms for radio such as Internet, Digital TV, Dab Radio, Podcasting, etc.

The last session for the day was on ‘Successful Audience Growth Strategies’ by Dave McDonald, Senior Vice-President/Market Manager, CBS Radio. Providing insights into strategies, McDonald said, “People choose to listen to a radio station which is more entertaining, informative and is relevant to them. It is a simple statement, but difficult to bring into practice. So, the strategy should be to attract the most number of individual and extend the amount of radio listening by them.”

McDonald put forth his 3M strategy, which meant providing Music, that is, popular music, Morning, that is good morning shows, and Marketing, that is, aggressive and continuous marketing.

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