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Harrish M Bhatia

CEO | 27 Oct 2010

“At the time when the Bhaskar Group decided to foray in the radio industry, everybody else followed top-down approach while we followed bottoms-up approach. The strategy was to cater to the audience where the brand already has a strong hold. Moving along the same ideology 94.3 MY FM was incepted to cater to the Tier-II cities of the nation because we knew these markets and had strong connect through Bhaskar’s presence.”

Mr. Harrish M Bhatia is the Chief Executive Officer of 94.3 MY FM the Radio Brand from the Dainik Bhaskar Group and the driving force behind the station’s record breaking performance in the short span of its existence. Starting in 2006, he led the MY FM brand through 17 spectacularly successful launches in less than two years and to the operational break-even in just three years. As a versatile and multi-tasking individual, he has been spearheading innovations within the brand and the business operations to maintain the dynamic performance of MY FM. Under his visionary leadership, MY FM sailed through recession unscathed and showed excellent results through highly evolved resource optimization and revenue generation strategies.

During his tenure at MY FM, Mr. Bhatia’s efforts have been recognized through several awards which have been bestowed on the radio station as well as on him individually. MY FM has won awards like the Best Station Launch at IRF 2008, Brand Leadership Award at the World Brand Congress 2010 and the extremely prestigious NAB International Broadcasting Award 2010, a first for the Indian radio industry.

In individual capacity also he has been honored with several awards including the Radio person of the year Award by Global Youth Marketing Forum, 2008, Pride of the Industry Award for Radio in 2009 by Stars of the Industry Forum and Super Achiever Award by Indira School of Management, Pune in 2005.

Mr. Bhatia’s association with the Dainik Bhaskar Group has not been merely limited to the radio brand. He is an old hand at Bhaskar and has to his credit the launch of Divya Bhaskar in Gujarat in 2003 and Dainik Bhaskar in Jaipur. Since 2005, he had been in Mumbai as - Sales and Head Marketing.

Prior to joining Bhaskar, he had served as the National Product Head at the Korean Multinational LG Electronics in India. He also worked very closely with the JVC-Victor Company of Japan from 1986 to1993 for the launch of their products in Indian market. Prior to that, he has worked with brands like Onida and Aristocrat Luggage. He is credited with spearheading the Rural Penetration Campaign for Onida under project “Gramin Bharat”, using VOW. He also spearheaded the launch of Onida’s modern retail format.

Launched in 2006, 94.3 MY FM – Jiyo Dil Se! is the radio brand of the national media network Dainik Bhaskar Group which operates multi-faceted media outlets like print, television, radio and outdoor activations. The D B Corp Ltd. is one of the largest media groups of the country and is the largest read newspaper group in the country with over 1.55 crore readers.

Q. It has been more than four years since 94.3 MY FM was started. How has the journey been till now and what has been the biggest learning about this industry?

MY FM has grown a lot with time, the journey has been challenging and we have witnessed our share of ups and downs. The voyage of 94.3 MY FM began in Jaipur with the launch of its first station 4 years back followed by 16 more stations in various cities. We are immensely pleased and satisfied by the way the stations are performing as we did an operational break last year. At the time, when we stepped into the Radio Industry, it was in its nascent stage. New channels were evolving and every radio station was trying to mark their space. Taking in view this scenario, we had to create a niche for ourselves. This we created with our innovative content and differentiated programming. Constant listener feedback is one of the most needed and important thing that kept us going. We share a soulful and immensely strong connect with the listeners in these markets all thanks to the ‘Bhaskar’ legacy present in them.

Q. What is your target audience and what is your USP compared to competition?

Our target audience is mainly the listeners who fall under 18 – 35 years of age (m/f) and have a passion for music and want to live a hearty, lively life. We have differentiated ourselves with competition in terms of content i.e. exclusive shows as well as positioning i.e. ‘jiyo dil se’ (our strong belief) to build an emotional connect with the listeners. This Jiyo Dil Se philosophy of ours is a unique proposition and none of the other radio station captures the same. Through this proposition we strive to give the best mix of entertainment and music to our listeners which in turn helps us in building an impactful connect with our listeners and keeps us on the run to provide the best. In all our on ground and on air activities we go all-out to live up to our proposition of Jiyo Dil Se and fulfill the entertainment musical desires of our listeners.

Q. Digital is increasingly eating into Radio space. Do you perceive digital to be a threat?

Radio connects with consumers on an emotional and personal level. This unique aspect of radio is difficult to replicate in any other media. I don't see any medium as a threat. It can be used effectively by each and every client to leverage their existing radio campaigns.

Q. How do your foresee the Radio industry to be in five years from now?

Radio is still evolving and favorable. The government policies and the phase 3 roll out would only make it reach new heights. Now radio is being used more at a strategic level to build brands. Big brands are coming on radio. Soon time will come when their will be campaigns which will be only radio specific and will be broken on radio. The radio industry is huge and has a gigantic reach. Nowadays, every small to big thing is promoted on radio, be it films or music. Radio has become a hub for communication related to all aspects of the society to the large audience. Five years from now I still see radio as one of the most important means for spreading awareness all around. It has been and will be used as strong medium like any other medium. Huge potential for radio to grow as share of radio in Indian pie comes closer to the global average of 8 per cent of media spends.

Q. Which are the strongest markets for your Radio channel and which are the weakest? What is it that you are doing differently in strong regions that can be a learning for the latter?

As per our last Ormax research MY FM has been rated as no.1 in 16 out of our 17 markets. This only shows how the brands have gained listener preference and loyalty. Every market throws new and unique challenges that have to be addressed differently. We conduct regular research in all our markets to keep our product relevant and connected with local needs.

Q. It seems like 94.3 MY FM has consciously stayed out of tie-one cities. Could you tell us the reason for not venturing into metros?

At the time when the Bhaskar Group decided to foray in the radio industry, everybody else followed top-down approach while we followed bottoms-up approach. The strategy was to cater to the audience where the brand already has a strong hold. Moving along the same ideology 94.3 MY FM was incepted to cater to the Tier-II cities of the nation because we knew these markets and had strong connect through Bhaskar’s presence. Now as we are familiar with the intricacies of the industry we are ready for the metro markets. This was pre-planned decision as we were new and diversifying into altogether a new field.

Q. What was the total revenue for your channel in 2009? What are the targets for 2010 and how has the performance been till now compared to targets?

We did an operational break-even in 2009 and targeted a 25 per cent growth in 2010. Till now the performance has been encouraging and it is on track vis-a-vis targets.

Q. What are the development areas that are taking your immediate attention?

Constant innovation in programming and lot of investment in training talent is the 2 key areas.

Q. Could you name a few new programmes that 94.3 MY FM is planning to introduce in the near future?

It would be premature to comment now. We will share details when the time comes.

Q. Who are your creative and media agencies?

We work with multiple creative agencies. Media is handled internally.

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