Dir General | 07 Feb 2011
I am optimistic about the Indian radio industry as it is poised to become quite a big industry by any international standard in the coming years. It now looks more open to International collaborations.
Jan Hoek has been Director General of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, which provides people news and information around the world in ten languages. After obtaining a degree in Information technology, Jan completed his MBA from Webster University. He has been with the organization since last 16 years and has progressed in the company from a position of Controller to Director General. Jan is the Chairman of the International Broadcasting Group of the EBU (European Broadcasting Unin)and of the BVN Foundation (Dutch language satellite television. He is also the Vice-Chair of Euranet (cooperative group of radio stations from EU countries), a member of the executive committee of the AIB (Association for International Broadcasting) and a member of the supervisory board of Free Voice.
Radio Netherland worldwide (RNW) has been a part of the Indian Radio Industry through its tie-up with AIR since 2009.The International State Broadcaster co-created Earth Beat,a program that highlighted environment issues for almost one year for AIR reaching out to millions of viewers across India. The company is now making strides to reach out to a larger viewer base through a host of other tie ups and collaborations and is seeing India as one of the most potential country to expand its operations in.
exchange4media’s Deepika Bhardwaj interacted with Director General, Jan, to know his views on the Industry and the developments in this sector. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. India is amongst the markets that you have looked at closely – what were some of the highlights of the last year that you think helped in shaping the industry?
Being an International broadcaster of repute, India was surely a priority country for us right from the beginning. We have made our first inroads three years back however real success came only last year. Amongst all our co production deals, the one with All India Radio was a highlight, because it was for the first time that AIR worked in co-production with an international broadcasting company on a regular radio show. The co-produced program got aired through a national hook up, reaching nearly 99 per cent of the population across the pan Indian region. It was produced in Hindi and English together. It looks like industry is opening up for more international co-operations.
Q. What is your overall view on the Indian Radio Industry?
I am optimistic about the Indian radio industry as such, which is poised to become quite a big industry by any international standard. We will also be looking very closely at licenses with multiple companies that engage in talk radio. This would be a first for us. India has more song based programs, as there is an embargo on news and current affairs. If this embargo is lifted, it will allow more players to do more interesting programs.
Q. Do you think news on private radio stations in India can be a major boost to the industry as a whole?
Yes, coming from a news organisation myself I believe it would be a sure hit, since private radio has more operations in the pan India region and they operate on the periphery of about 100 km. I feel this will allow them to narrow cast the news element to pinpointed local and cultural issues rather than talking about holistic news as such as news of national importance. This will no doubt give a major boost to the news and also to the industry.
Q. Any major practices in the Radio industry in ‘radio developed markets’ that Indian players really need to adapt and work on?
I feel that convergence is the name of game and one should adapt that strategy in their business plan. Let me give you our own example. We are currently working in India on internet, broadband, mobile, DTH, cable, communities and on a social media level. All this enhances our current reach and the brand gets the benefit at the end.
Q. How is the Indian radio industry being looked at by the international radio players?
The Indian Radio Industry has immense potential. India is a huge country with ample diversities and there is so much work to do in so many cultures and languages. Also India is now being stated as developed country. You cannot only look at radio but should also at its ancillary services in convergence. I believe that other international broadcasting companies share the same view. We all look at India as one of the most prominent and major growing markets in recent times.