94.3 Radio One kicked off its 5th anniversary celebrations with a new initiative that, it says, will kickstart the next ‘radio revolution’. At the press conference organised by the team, Shyju Varkey – National Marketing Head and Station Head (Bangalore), Anil Machado, National Programming Head, and MJ Rakesh, Executive Producer, outlined the plan and the dynamics behind it. Shyju Varkey said, “This is the first in a series of initiatives that we have planned to commemorate five years in Bangalore. We are the only station in the city that plays 100% Bollywood music, with a listener base of 1.5 billion. Over the past week, we began to notice that a sizeable chunk of our listeners were voicing their demand to get the right to choose what they want to hear on-air. So, we decided to come out with an initiative that would allow our listeners to select the kind of music they wish to hear. Such a project has never been taken up by any other radio station or any other medium before.”
Common listener complaints on-air were – songs were not played regularly, songs were cut off mid-way, and too many ads were crammed in with very few songs actually played. MJ Rakesh, Executive Producer, Radio One, stated, “When the calls started coming in, we presumed that only a few listeners had these complaints. However, when they refused to abate, we decided on this idea to give our listeners a 100% say in deciding the tracks. The station had earlier talked about and supported the citizen-initiated campaign ‘Citizens Against Swalpa Adjust Maadi’. So, when our listeners refused to ‘adjust’ to the music we played, we decided to actually let them make a choice themselves.”
The station plans to have a public feedback forum that will enable listeners to decide what they want to and don’t want to hear. Radio One will pick out 600 participants, knowledgeable about Bollywood music, by holding an on-air contest beginning tomorrow. During the week-long contest, listeners will be quizzed on the film industry as well as about Bollywood music. The best 600 will form part of the team to conduct the research commissioned to a prominent research agency which is still being shortlisted. Commenting on a sample size of 600 to represent an audience of 1.5 billion, Shyju elaborated, “The RAM ratings are based on data taken from 500 households in the city. To be extra cautious, we added an extra 100 people. Also, the agency confirmed that this is the minimum number that will be required to extrapolate the data to the rest of the universe.”
Recounting the various initiatives that Radio One has come out with in the past to connect with its listeners, National Programming Head Anil Machado pointed out, “Two years back, we opened our doors to listeners to co-host shows with our MJs, participate in song selection for celebrities, and co-create programmes. We have hosted ‘Play your Music Day’ on the last Wednesday of every month where listeners co-host programmes with our RJs, and ‘Top 10 at 10’ where we play songs based on votes through SMSes, call-ins, and through social media such as Facebook. On star birthdays such as Kareena Kapoor’s last week, we asked our listeners to choose the ten best songs of the actress, which we then played. So, we have been coming out with initiatives to give more power to our listeners but this time, they will have a 100% say in choosing the playlist.”
At the end of three weeks, based on the most popular songs picked by the selected 600 listeners who will represent Radio One’s larger audience, the station will compile a playlist which will be announced on-air and then begin playing these songs. Presently, the station plays, mostly, contemporary hits with a retro show on Sunday from 7-11 am.
About Radio One:
94.3 Radio One was launched in July 2006 and currently has six stations across India, in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune. It is primarily targeted at the urban youth, known for its innovative and fun-filled programming and providing infotainment. The station has won the IRA Promax Best Show of the Year award for its breakfast show ‘Bangalore Fataafat’, and RJ Prithvi won the ‘RJ of the Year’ title.