Radio Indigo 91.9 FM, Bangalore’s only English music station, has completed five years. The station is known for a great line-up of Jazz, Rock, Pop, International hits, and also airs songs by Indie bands such as Pentagram, Mother Jane, Avial, Galeej Gurus, and Thermal and a Quarter. Fondly recalling Radio Indigo’s first phase, K Sanjay Prabhu, MD, Radio Indigo, said, “I remember on this day five years back, we had gone live at 7 am; it was a real goose bumps situation. There was no looking back after that. Now, after five years, we would like to take Radio Indigo to a whole new level and create an impenetrable fortification around our listeners and at the same time expand our universe.”
To celebrate turning five, the station has come out with contests on air with some extraordinary prizes. In fact, an on-air promo runs ‘Christmas has come early’. Suresh Sanyasi, National Sales Director, Radio Indigo, said, “We have come out with a host of contests on-air from September 19-24. The total amount that will go out in the form of rewards comes to around Rs 50 lakh.”
Indigo has also instituted a cash prize in its honour – Rs 91,900. The rest have been sponsored by brands such as Hard Rock Cafe, Seagrams, Papa John’s, Lalit Ashok, The Park, and Surya Samudra, to mention a few. According to Sachin Moogi, Programming Director, Radio Indigo, “Last year, we had around 15 sponsors for our anniversary while around 50 have come forward this year. Some of the prizes that can be won are a Signature series Fender guitar, an all-expense paid trip to Sri Lanka, free lessons from bands such as Thermal and a Quarter, all-expense paid trip to Surya Samudra 5-star spa resort in Kovalam, gift hampers, cash prizes, and more. There are prizes for every listener.” Interviews have also been lined up with a local band every day till September 23. One lucky listener will also get to ‘Meet and Greet’ Lewis Hamilton on September 27.
The station has made small, subtle changes in its content line-up. Sachin pointed out, “The Morning Show used to be conducted only by Blair. Now, we have both Meghana and Blair hosting it to give the show a good balance. We will also be playing more classics with a blend-in of songs by some great Indian bands such as Mother Jane, Pentagram, Soulmate, Thermal and a Quarter, and Galeej Gurus.”
Indigo has stuck to playing English music despite other radio stations in the city turning to the Kannada and Hindi genres. Talking about retaining their tag of an English music station, Suresh said, “Bangalore has a cosmopolitan, mature audience with refined tastes and a more colonial leaning. They have a lifestyle to maintain. We understood this and stuck to our tag of being the ‘only international radio station’. Although ours is still a nascent market, we want to bring in the best talent available outside to give listeners a truly international feel. We have Blair from Canada hosting the Morning Show. As for competition, we track international radio stations and have an entirely different DNA as to what we do and how we deliver.”
A Musical Journey
Reminiscing about the journey, he added, “When we started out, a lot of people in the market raised questions about the station catering to a niche audience. They said that we would inevitably dilute our content in time. But, we have stuck to what we believe in and have done well. In fact, over a period of two years, in terms of clients, we have had just a 2-3% attrition rate. This is because, apart from branding, activations, and visibility, we also offer our clients tailor-made plans both from the sales as well as the creative ends.” There has been an increase of 20-25% in the number of clients and around 75% in ad revenues over the last year. The biggest clients are retail brands (50-60%), followed by liquor/fine dining (15-20%), real estate (10%), and lifestyle brands and telecom (7-8% each).
The station has around 10-13 lakh listeners, ranging from 14-60 years. Trigam Mukherjee, Artist and Repertoire, Radio Indigo, said, “Our most popular shows are the Morning Show with Blair, the Rock Show with Saggy, and Michelle’s afternoon show which is very popular with students.”
Meanwhile, Indigo also plans to make a foray into the events space. This will be an independent arm of the station on the ground. Trigam who is in-charge of picking out the talent, added, “We want to identify relatively unknown/ unheard of indie bands that need exposure and get them to perform gigs across the country. Many of them lose out due to the distance factor. Our first tie-up is with Boomerang, a junk rock band from Aizwal, Mizoram. The live events will take off from the beginning of October.” The station will also look at bringing down international artistes in the future.
The other area that the team is focusing on is Viral Marketing through SMSes, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. “Digital medium is the next big thing. We want to get into smart marketing and monetise the social space. We revamped our website around 2 years back and made it more interactive. Many of the contests that are on-air can also be viewed on our website. This way, listeners who have missed out hearing about contests on-air can participate and clients are also happy,” Suresh explained.
At present, as per Google Analytics, people from over 70 countries visit the site and the average number of page views for this quarter alone numbers 25,000. The site also has podcasts of interviews with singers, prominent personalities in the state, and film stars. The first podcast around February last year was an interview with Michael Schumacher. Sachin said, “A large section of our population is net-savvy. We have used social media such as Orkut and Facebook to showcase our contests and interact with our listeners. Presently, we have more than 4,600 followers on Facebook and close to a 1,000 on Twitter.”
Some Significant Highlights
Some of the significant highlights in Indigo’s five-year span, according to Suresh, were, “We have been associated with many international events. On one occasion, the winner of one our contests got to ‘Meet and Greet’ Lady Gaga in Singapore. Also, our jump in ad revenues of 75% from last year is a benchmark as this figure is usually around 20-22%.” Sachin added, “We were the first international radio station in India followed by Hit FM (Delhi) and Chennai Live. Our Indigo & Blues Concerts, one of the few jazz and blues festivals, are very famous. Around two months’ back, we broadcast from the Yahoo! office for two days during our ‘Radio Indigo Studio Shift’. We were also the first radio station to broadcast live from a Volkswagen Vento, four to five months’ ago.”
Talking about expansion plans, Suresh elaborated, “The third round of licensing is just round the bend. We are considering getting into newer, more mature markets. We already have offices in Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai to take care of the business end. This will make it easier for us to enter these markets later on.” Presently, around 30% of the ad revenues come in from Mumbai and Delhi with ad volumes from these markets up by almost 50% from last year.