Similar sounding stations? Radio Stations defend

Similar sounding stations? Radio Stations defend

Author | Jagadeesh Krishnamurthy | Thursday, Feb 22,2007 8:09 AM

Similar sounding stations? Radio Stations defend

There have been discussions of varying degree on the content available on radio stations. Specifically, there have been debates on the commonness of content available on the medium. exchange4media.com readers will remember that media planners had unanimously voiced that radio content needs to be differentiated. Further to this, we trigged conversation with some of the radio players to get their views on the topic.

Almost everyone agreed that by playing contemporary music all the time, there is no differentiation among the channels. As a result, all the stations are doing their bit to create a unique identity for themselves. Every block radio station has experimented with celebrity talk shows and cricket discussions and the results are mixed. Some of the bigger players are also calling for multiple licenses in a single city for creating stations for catering to different audience preferences.

Defining differentiation in content, Kaushik Ghosh, Senior VP – Marketing, Radio Mirchi, said, “It can only happen when there are different kinds of music played on radio. Different kinds of music means different language - Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, English etc or it can be differentiated by say different genres within a language - you may play old or new music. Currently, most stations play contemporary music. That is because it has largest audience.”

Agreeing with him, Vishnu Athreya, VP, Programming and Brand, asserted, “We will give what the listener wants.”

“At present, more or less, everyone sounds the same. But we expect that in the future, due to competition, some players will be forced to shift their formats when they find that they are unable to make money,” continued Ghosh.

Speaking on the topic, Rana Barua, National Head, Marketing, Radio City, said, “We have identified differentiating programming content for our audience. Whatever we do this year, it is going to be TG oriented. For this, we have a two point strategy – Identify the TG and Develop content as per the TG profile segmentation.”

Manav Dhanda, National Programming Head, Big FM said, “As our TG is 15 to 45 year olds, we play contemporary music and we are trying to differentiate from other stations with our music. We have designed a Fixed Point Chart (FPC), a programming schedule that is designed for each and every city individually, as we believe that it should not be generic across all stations.”

Abraham Thomas, COO, Red FM, observed, “We don’t play different music at different times. And, we have been delivering the promise of providing only super hit numbers (proven hits). We also have some differentiated content, which we have wrapped under a personality which is now being recognized by the listener’s as the station’s personality – ‘Bajaate Raho’.”

Adding to it, Athreya pointed that creativity, programming and more importantly RJ’s stand will be needed for differentiation. He also asserted, “New ideas are the key and the content available on the channel needs to be relevant and work for it. For our advertisers, we also create differentiated products that will work for them.”

In the meantime, Fever FM’s Mumbai Head, Sajjad Chunawala pointed that as Fever caters to the demographic TG 24 - 37 years and believed that their TG will never be alienated as the same kind of music and programming will be on at all the time on their station.”

Speaking about non-music programming available on radio, Ghosh said, “Radio stations don’t really follow the format of talk shows because radio is all about background music. One listens to radio for music and radio stations will continue to play larger portion of music only.”

He added, “Even after the launch of our non-music shows, we do not stop playing music and keep talking. But yes, our idea is to in interesting content in between songs to make it sound interesting for the listeners. Radio will be based on music and not on talk.”

While City’s Barua stated that the station has been coming up with interesting content over time and also promised that many innovative shows are on the anvil from the station. Big FM’s Dhanda also added that even they have done several innovative programs over the past few months and with the tremendous response they have received, the channel is planning to continue such initiatives.

Abraham noted that Red has been by and large consistent with their work. He also mentioned some of the initiatives from the station, and also revealed some of their plans for the upcoming Cricket World Cup. He asserted that the channel has never done these shows at the cost of music and remarked, “It’s nice to see other stations copying us.”

Station believes that they are catering to the audience but they need to also remember that it is important for a station to treat its audience to fresher and differentiated content. While most channels vie for multiple licenses across big cities, it has been observed that it is the semi-urban cities that are seeing a considerable increase in the number of listeners. So, it is vital to create an identity across all their stations for any station to be completely successful.

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