Underwear ads, leaked question papers, homosexuality in Indian cinema – all are there for the taking on RJ Harsh’s show ‘Hello Mumbai’ on Radio Mirchi. The station is sparing no expense in publicising the show within the city of Mumbai, especially within the realm of outdoors. Mirchi asserts that after the avid promotion of its morning slot within the city of Mumbai, it would repeat its initiatives(pertaining to the morning slot) in other cities as well.
Says Sameer Soni, Station Head, Radio Mirchi, “Hello Mumbai is essentially a public forum, wherein common people can discuss their thoughts on subjects that are relevant to the city. The strength of radio is that it is a city-specific medium and it thrives on local content. The morning band forms the backbone of our total listenership and we thought it necessary to enhance our communication within this sphere. For any radio station 7 am to 11 am is in fact the premium band. With our creative agency, McCann Erickson, we came up with initiatives to boost the morning brand and adopted the baseline ‘Masala Maarke’ which fits in perfectly within the Mirchi mould.”
The show deals with controversial subjects, which may be unpalatable to some listeners. Isn’t Mirchi worried about treading toes in the bargain? Soni asserts, “It is not our intention to rake up subjects which may be deemed as titillating or unpalatable. We are merely inviting people to share their views on subjects that have occupied headlines in most newspapers or been a part of mainstream media. The question is: What’s the buzz in the city? And all of the issues that are taken up configure around the views of the common people. Radio Mirchi doesn’t have any fixed views on any of this, which is why we don’t feel that we are stepping on any toes, as far as Hello Mumbai goes.”
Is a large part of the propagation of the morning slot dependant on a bid to cash in on new audiences, especially now that Malishka’s Breakfast show is off air? Soni asserts, “In any case, Win was addressing a miniscule percentage of listeners, so we don’t expect to capitalise on Malishka’s show going off air. Besides, RJ Harsh is quite popular with the masses and he’s managing things well on that front. Promotion of the band is a part of our well timed and thought after marketing campaign. Depending on its success, we would be taking on initiatives such as these in other cities as well. And would extend it to other properties, besides the morning offering.”
Soni never forgets to talk about Mirchi’s triumphs. “It’s been a continuous struggle to maintain our leadership position. We were the first to position ourselves as the ultimate Hindi music station and to launch ‘Mega 983 Kismat Khol De’ contest. We were the first one to align ourselves with Bollywood and the first to launch the Radio Kaan Awards. And now, we are the first to promote our city-centric positioning through the morning breakfast show,” he says.
How has radio, as a category (with special reference to Mirchi) evolved with time? Soni answers, “As far as radio is concerned, the client mindset is changing and 95% of the clients who have resorted to radio, have used it repeatedly. As far as Mirchi is concerned, we work as an extended arm of the agency and the clients, in the capacity of a solution provider. In many cases we are a part of the creative brainstorming undertaken to position, reposition, or launch a brand etc. On a continuous basis, we advise our clients to use radio for its credible strengths such as interactivity, frequency, tacticality etc. We also advise our clients on the message complexity, message uniqueness, message wear-and-tear etc. on regular basis.”
Soni asserts, “Mirchi cuts across categories, be it finance, entertainment, FMCG or anything else. It’s a medium of the masses, which explains our growing list of clients.”