Udaya TV, part of the Sun TV Group, which has the license to operate a radio station in Vishakhapatnam has firmed up concrete plans to launch radio services in Vishakhapatnam by June. The new station would be branded as Teja FM, though a name clearance is expected soon. The company has also suggested names like T FM, U FM and Sun FM, as other names apart from the preferred name Teja FM to the authorities. The equipment for the radio station is expected to come by the third week of February, after which the installations and pre commissioning activities for the radio station are expected to start.
Speaking to exchange4media, Mr. Sharad Kumar, Director of Udaya TV and Gemini TV, which is the parent company of Teja FM, said, “We took the license for Vishakhapatnam, as we feel that the city has a cosmopolitan culture and would be a viable business proposition in the radio business.” Initially there were three licenses that were to be awarded in Vishakhaptnam but eventually only two were issued, one to Sun TV group and the other to Vertex Broadcasting (Dabur). It is widely expected that Vertex would not start its operations leaving Teja FM as the only player in this market. The license of Vishakhaptnam was awarded to Teja FM for Rs. 50 lakhs per annum, which is the minimum bid amount possible. Apart from Udaya TV, Sumangali Publication, which is part of Sun TV also has three other radio licences.
The licenses in Andhra Pradesh, were initially to be issued for Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam. Initially Sun TV group had plans to go for the license of FM radio services in Hyderabad, but the amounts that were being bid in the first round of bids made it shy away from Hyderabad. Mr. Sharad Kumar added“ Some of the players were bidding as high as Rs. 7 crores for the Hyderabad license, which in our opinion would have made the business unviable, hence we did not go further. We however feel that when the second round of bidding happens in Hyderabad, more realistic values as bids would be put forward and by that time we would have also had experience in running one radio station and that is when we might go for it”.
One thing to look forward is whether once Teja FM is launched, it can emulate the success the parent company has had in the TV business with a near monopoly in of its programs in TAM ratings. It’s too early to answer that question and we would have to tune in after a few months to make a judgment on it