Tarun Katial, COO, Big FM had showed his inclination to bet on formats in his earlier stints. Now even though in a different medium altogether, Katial still has some formats to lure the FM listener, and the strategy would be seen more so in the Mumbai market. The station has finally gone on-air in one of the most active FM markets in India.
Arjun Singgh Baran, Station Head, Big FM Mumbai, enumerates two factors that the FM station has been talking about even before its launch – investment in research on music that works and isn't played, and differentiation in the form of celebrity radio jockeys, formats – in all programming meant for young contemporary adults.
Baran said that music was one of the biggest areas of focus and hence, the channel's strength came from music itself. He said, "The AMT (Auditorium Music Testing) we undertook has really been the guiding line in the programming strategy. We have tested 6,000 songs across India and have come across many songs that people like and are familiar with that are just not played anywhere – mostly people are into CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio), but we will stay clear of that route."
Baran divulged that most of the songs that had scored in these tests were the pre-2000 numbers and these could be expected to be played quite a bit on the channel. "It is money, time, energy and even risk right now on our programming, but we are taking significant learnings from western radio and the driving point for most decisions is that the listener must feel that if you miss one day on Big FM, you could miss on something. We have a lot of formats here that we believe brings an edginess in content, and that really isn't something that the Indian listener has been exposed to."
Giving an example here, he spoke of 'Spousal Arousal', wherein the wife tries to tempt the husband into coming home early without divulging that she is on any kind of a contest. Big FM has a programme on these lines. Another property is a confessions show which airs at 10.00 pm.
"Stations right now are missing on the 'Aah!' factor and that is what we will try and bring on Big FM," said Baran. He also elaborated that given the entire Mumbai focus, 80 per cent of the content was Mumbai centric. "We will cover Mumbai like no one else," asserted Baran.
The programming initiative is supported by quite a few marketing stunts as well. In addition to outdoor broadcast of the channel that is happening at a daily level, the station would be involved in numerous activities daily – some examples seen are anti-terrorism efforts, Big FM Big Baraat, road shows and so on.