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TV soaps and shows ride the radio waves

07-March-2005
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TV soaps and shows ride the radio waves

What do Radio Mirchi and Sun TV have in common? The soap 'Selvi', of course! While Radio Mirchi in Chennai has tied up with Tamil serials, Red FM is creating programming based on reality shows on SET.

The trend of TV soaps being aired on FM stations began with Radio City airing the popular 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' serial from STAR Plus. It has been successful enough for others to follow suit. However, Radio City may now have to look at alternative TV soap content following the recent change in ownership, whereby it is not a part of the STAR stable any more.

Sumantra Dutta, CEO of Radio City, who is moving back to STAR following the change of ownership, feels that the relationship between television and radio has been mutually beneficial so far. "When STAR's 'Coffee with Karan' went on radio, it reached a section of the masses who did not have access to television. So radio increased the mass contact for the programme. At the same time, radio had access to a fabulous programme with the best of anchors interviewing the best of Bollywood personalities, something that may have been impossible for radio to create."

In Chennai, Radio Mirchi airs 'Mirchi Chinna Thirai' in the afternoons on weekdays, in a tie-up with several television channels. Every week, one serial is picked up and the cast and crew of the serial interact with callers and the RJ. Elsewhere, the station has tied up with Sony to promote the 'Indian Idol' show too.

Said Tapas Sen, Programming Head, Radio Mirchi, "If there is commonality of target audience and if the brand image of the programme fits with ours, we will continue to create content on the base of television programmes. At Mirchi, we do not air soaps or programmes as they are, but create content on that platform. If a particular property creates a certain level of public interest, we can extend the platform of deliveries through radio."

Sen said that issues and properties of interest to the audience should be delivered. "Just because I deliver radio, it does not mean that I keep people away from other things of interest to them. People consume media in isolated capsules of entertainment. Ultimately, the delivery is entertainment," he added.

Red FM has tied up with SET to promote the popular Indian Idol show and it seems that the branding exercise for both Red and Sony has been symbiotic. Jimmy Tangree, Station Head, Red FM, Kolkata, said, "Red FM did a rerun of the Indian Idols show, the next day it was aired on SET. The response we received was phenomenal. For SET as a brand, what we returned is multiplicity."

"Radio is such a medium that with just a percentage of extra spends, you can give multiple exposures. For instance, with Indian Idols winners we had an interview while they were on the move from the airport. This went on air live. We also had an unannounced ground event with the winners, which took the city by surprise and pulled a crowd of 12,000. And this is other than the lakhs listeners we reached out to," he said. Between soaps and reality shows, RED FM is certainly game for the latter. Tangree said, "Game shows and musicals make the difference. It's far more exciting and involving."

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