After the high-pitched battle for eyeballs, Kerala is poised for another battle, but one that begs to be heard. Come November, and there would be a lot of zing in the airwaves in Kerala as several FM radio stations are expected to go air. National players like Radio Mirchi, Sun Network and Relaince ADAG-controlled Big FM will slug it out with sons of the soil, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi.
The Mathrubhumi Group of Publications is foraying into the FM radio broadcasting business through its Club FM in Thiruvanathapuram, Thrissur, Kannur and Kochi. On the other hand, Malayala Manorama, which has christened its FM venture as Radio Mango, will be present in Kochi, Thrissur, Kannur and Kozhikode. This apart, Asianet Communications Ltd will be launching its FM stations in Thrissur and Kannur.
“We are all geared for launch. We will be going on-air once terrestrial transmitters under a common transmitting infrastructure are set up by BECIL. There is a palpable excitement in the air and people of Kerala are waiting with a lot of anticipation for the launch of Club FM. The name Club FM will result in immediate visibility, instant recognition and high recall. The brand name might appear as a brand targetting the young urban audience, but then the word ‘club’ is not new to the people of Kerala as there are so many reading clubs and sports club in every village in the state. So, this would obviously help the channel create an instant connect with the listeners,” said G Srinath, COO, Club FM.
If the initial observation is anything to go by, the print Goliaths of Kerala -- Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi -- will have an edge over the other players as these two brands command a great deal of respect among the people of Kerala, and this factor is expected to rub off on their FM ventures as well in the state.
“We have always delivered value for money to the advertisers and the brand name Malayala Manorama carries a lot of weight, which would give an edge over the other players,” said an executive from Malayala Manorama.
BCCL’s Radio Mirchi is expected to replicate its tried and tested success formula of other cities in Thiruvanathapuram. Amit Satpathi, Cluster Business Head for Radio Mirchi in Karnataka and Kerala, said, “As is the case in the other cities where we are present, Radio Mirchi will cater to the local flavour in Thiruvanathapuram too. The Kerala market is quite big and there is enough space for all the players.” He added that the advantage for Radio Mirchi was that the people were aware of the brand Radio Mirchi and what it stood for.
The entry of private FM players in Kerala would also throw in new opportunities for advertisers. The players would be also eying the sizeable advertising budget of some of the real estate, textiles and jewellery industries in Kerala, besides corporate advertisers.