Radio One, a Mid-Day Multimedia and BBC Worldwide venture, has hit the airwaves in Mumbai from June 7, 2006. Radio One has licenses to operate FM stations in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune. Radio One is slated to become operational in Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi in the next few months.
Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Rajesh Tahil, CEO, Radio One, said, “With Radio Mid-Day becoming a national player in seven major metros around the country, it was only natural that we would evolve what we were doing in Mumbai into what is going to be a robust national player. As a single city player, being niche made sense, but a national presence gives us the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and look at opportunities to shed our niche image and broaden our markets, both in terms of audience and revenue.”
Commenting on the opportunities that the FM Phase II licensing allows for the growth of private FM in India, Tahil said, “Being a significant national radio player is of great strategic significance for both Mid-Day Multimedia and BBC.”
The strategy to move to a mass platform is now being executed. Shariq Patel, VP, Operations, and Head of Radio One, Mumbai, said, “We have tested the new format and have seen a healthy improvement in numbers from our own internal tracking. With FM becoming a truly mass medium, we are on our way to building a mass brand.”
This also reflects in the programming of the station in Mumbai. This will be the first significant change in rolling out the national brand and is in tune with Radio Mid-Day’s stake to become the No. 1 station in the cities that it is present in.
Vishnu Athreya, VP, Programming and Brand, said, “The new radio station will still have the flavour of GO FM, which stood for fun, energy and exuberance – all the characteristics that reflected the city of Mumbai. However, there will be a little change in the language and the context.”
Athreya further said, “For us, music and Bollywood are an integral part of the programming mix. Hindi music itself has come a long way and the attitude that Abhishek Bachchan reflects in a new Bollywood film or the fact that Himesh Reshammiya is popular in clubs tells us that the audience preferences are changing.”
The company is optimistic about the new format, giving a boost to their revenues. Avinash Pillai, who recently joined the company as VP, Advertising Sales, explained, “As the market share (audience) of the radio station increases, we are certain the share of revenue will increase as well. We have already seen interest from a wider list of advertisers that may not have considered us a necessity earlier.”
Commenting on the evolution of radio, Tahil said, “It is too early to comment on that as private FM is only four years old in this country, and Radio One’s play for the No.1 spot is as good as any.”