Radio One, positioned as the station for the ‘fatafat’ generation, is completing two years in the Bangalore market. It is the only station that plays Bollywood music among the seven private FM players in Bangalore. To sum up the positioning of the station, it would be apt to quote media planners who are of the opinion that Radio One provides a unique platform for advertisers as the station’s offering allows for advertisers to reach a diverse audience.
On the way ahead, Shyju Varkey, Station Head, Radio One Bangalore, informed exchange4media, “It is to build on the gains that have accrued thus far and strengthen our hold on our listeners by building strong communities. We have a slew of really interesting community building initiatives under way and the larger picture is to offer these communities as platforms for advertisers to build their brands.”
Talking of the learnings in the past two years, Varkey elaborated, “The radio market in Bangalore is very complex and I’d look askance at anyone who claims to have cracked it. I suspect there will be another churn before it settles down. At least one, if not both of the players who gravitated towards Kannada recently, will come scurrying back to Bollywood. It is actually a question of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’.”
He added, “The second is that while size does matter, the Davids have a very good chance of slaying the Goliaths as long as they can innovate – not just in content, but also in packaging their proposition to advertisers. Radio One in Bangalore might never be a No. 1 in sheer numbers, but I wouldn’t be far off the mark if I say we are the perceptual leaders when it comes to our core franchise, that is, Sec AB 18-24 – Bangalore’s fataafat generation, which also happens to be the most influential franchise when it comes to a majority of the advertisers.”
Varkey continued that more learnings came from the fact that even in the incestuous radio market, engendering the right work culture was the surest bet for retaining talent. He said, “One of our finest achievements has been that our attrition rate is less than 5 per cent annually, and we have not lost a single person to another radio station.”
He further said, “The fourth and probably the most important aspect is the total carte blanche given by the management to the individual profit centres of Radio One. The thinking is that the people who know a market best are the ones who operate in it. In the past two years, there hasn’t been a single decision that has been shoved down our throats, or a single idea emanating from here that has been vetoed. The openness and the trust reposed by the management upon those who have their hands on the wheel have been exemplary.”
It may be noted that Radio One did not manage to stick to the game plan which it had charted when it was launched in Bangalore. “We have learnt along the way and have had to make adjustments to carve out a niche for ourselves. We were the first station in Bangalore to start playing Kannada music. When we saw the rest follow us, we had to chart out a whole new roadmap to stay fresh and relevant. When the whole market moved towards Kannada, we went the opposite way, towards Bollywood,” said Varkey.
He concluded, “Radio One has always been known for bold experimentation, innovative ideas and packages, creating an atmosphere of infinite possibilities. We believe that it is our unique, innovative programming that engages our audience, making sure that we are right at the top of the list.”