Programming Head | 27 Jun 2005
“The way the radio industry has grown in India is phenomenal. The amount of listeners that the radio industry has got is tremendous. We never expected that private radio FM in India would be so popular. The technique that we use is far superior than what is used in foreign radio stations.”
Jaideep Banerjee’s career with the radio industry goes back to the mid-90s when he started his stint as a Radio Jockey in one of the most popular shows of its times, ‘The Amazing Long Playing Hour.’ After being one of the most sought after voices in Delhi in the late 90s and early 2000 and a stint as a sports programme host on television, Banerjee joined Radio City 91 FM Delhi as Programming Head in December 2004.
In conversation with Sumita Patra of exchange4media, he shares his views about the radio industry. Excerpts:
Q. Every FM station claims about their innovative programming but that is hardly apparent. What is your take on this?
Currently, FM stations are running on contemporary hit radio (CHR) format. It is a scenario where all the stations play hit music. But I guess what is important is the way you design your programming in the CHF format. But Radio City is the only channel right now in the market, which has dared to innovate. Our programming is totally skewed towards listeners. Radio City definitely understands that at the end of the day it is the listeners that are the most important. So, we make sure we give them both equally i.e. content as well as music.
Q. Where does India stand in the radio industry vis-a-vis the international market? Do you think we have a long way to go?
The way the radio industry has grown in India is phenomenal. The amount of listeners that the radio industry has got is tremendous. We never expected that private radio FM in India would be so popular. The technique that we use is far superior than what is used in foreign radio stations. The competition is taking more seriously over here so obviously all this helps in growth and it is just the beginning. It is expected to grow very fast and I won’t be surprised if radio in India is one of the best things to happen in the world.
Q. What are the new programmes that you are going to come up with this summer?
We have a lot in store. I can’t really reveal all of that right now. Some big stuff coming as far as Radio City, Delhi is concerned. So we have got a big plan worked up for covering college admissions and we hope that it’s a success.
Q. Do you have any plan to innovate on your jingles?
Radio City is present in four centres i.e Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai and Bangalore as far as jingles are concerned. We would see as to how we take it by the year but right now as things stand we would like the sound of the station, sound of the jingle, sound of the brand to be the same across. That is something that has worked for us.
Q. What really led to City Bajao and how successful has it been?
We were looking for a line, which best describes Radio City. We wanted just that one line that would take Radio City further into the masses and City Bajao is a line that has worked wonders for us.
Q. What is your take on the government’s move towards bringing liberal policies for the sector especially in licensing norms?
It’s a fantastic idea. Radio is one medium that has the potential to grow beyond any form of media its got a growth pattern that is unlimited that’s something advertisers would soon realise and it would be one of the key drivers of revenue with the opening up of channels. Besides, music a private FM channel thrives also on information. It’s not news on a national basis or international basis, but news on a local basis is something that I think should be definitely be there as far as private FM channels are concerned. Having said that I am sure that the government would have their very own good reasons for that, I can’t really comment on that.
Q. You have had a stint as radio jockey. How has the transition been for you from a jockey to a programming head?
I have not really had much of a problem as far as the transition from being a radio jockey to being a programming head is concerned. On the contrary it has helped me because I do understand the psyche of a radio jockey because I have been there myself. I think that has helped me to deal with my programming team. But I must say they have been two very different stints and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them.
Q. You have also been a sports programme host on television. Between radio and television what did you enjoy more?
It’s radio any day I don’t have to think twice because it’s a very personal medium. I personally find in television you are always addressing a group but as far as radio is concerned the most appealing part of radio is that you are actually addressing just one person and there are so many people listening to you. So the basic difference is that radio is one to one medium, while television is one to many medium. And because radio is a one to one medium, it really appeals me.
Q. What is the balance that RJ’s should maintain? Don’t you feel that music has do the talking for the station not the RJ’s?
It is very essential to make sure that you strike the right balance. I think if you have the entire thing planned out then you will never have a problem of any listener saying that jocks talk much. We at Radio City have kept a solid check on these things this is just a reflection as to why listenership of Radio City has been on the rise.
Q. Do you have any plan of introducing English music?
We don’t have any plan of introducing English music in a Hindi music channel. I personally feel that it’s not a very good idea to have English music in Hindi station. If we are going to play English music it’s got to be an English station.
Q. Previously radio stations used to focus on good music, whereas now the stations have extended their role to branding exercise as well. How far do you think it to be a sustainable model in the long run?
No, I don’t think that they like it too much it has to be planned out. I think when jockeys are talking they should use it to connect with the listeners. Radio is here to entertain, anything that is interference to entertaining and a listener has to switch it off because of too much of commercial plug-ins happening, I think that it doesn’t make any sense. Station branding should be planned. I feel that jocks should not be doing any commercial plug-ins they should not talk about any product there is a space to talk about a product that comes as part of a commercial time we don’t do it in Radio City. At Radio City we do not have any commercial plug-ins by our jockeys. There is a space given where all the commercials are put there and that’s exactly also explains the fact that as to why we had such phenomenal response.