Radio has generally been touted as a weekday medium, with listeners tuning in to their radio sets only while driving to and from work, or occasionally even during work. Weekends have been believed to be completely dominated by the television medium.
However, if the recently released listenership patterns from the Indian Listenership Track (ILT) Wave 3 2006 are anything to go by, radio listenership has grown considerably during weekends. The statistics reveal that listenership has increased by close to three per cent during weekends, as compared to weekdays, in Mumbai and Kolkata. In the meantime, the figures have registered a negligible drop of 0.5 per cent in Delhi in weekends.
When exchange4media spoke to the radio players on their view on weekend listenership, most agreed that that is the slot where content differentiation is coming in.
Abraham Thomas, COO, Red FM, said, “There is a noticeable change in the profile of listeners who call in and SMS their messages. This has prompted us to look at weekend programming more actively.” Red FM claims to be the first station to recognise this growth in weekend listenership trend and lay out an incredibly exciting fare that caters to weekend listeners.
Kaushik Ghosh, Senior Vice President-Marketing, Entertainment Network (India) Ltd (Radio Mirchi), observed that the number of listeners differs from city-to-city. In some cities, there is an increase in listenership on weekends than weekdays, whereas in some others, listenership on weekdays is more than the weekends. He however added that Mirchi has its differentiation for weekends. The station considers Saturday as a weekday and hence, has the same format as rest of the weeks, while Sunday has a relaxed format with large segments of uninterrupted music.
However, Rana Barua, National Head-Marketing, Radio City, was quick to point out that contrary to other media, the weekend on radio begins on Saturday night. “Industry research indicates that there is a nominal increase of two to three per cent between weekend and weekday radio listenership,” he added.
Radio City intends to take forward its daily dose of fun with its travel shows and English music countdowns. In general, all the stations have tried to slot their weekend programming with a mix of comedy shows and countdown charts.
Agreeing with Barua, Vishnu Athreya, Vice President-Programming and Brand, Radio One, believes that there is some kind of trend of home listenership growing. He pointed out that there is a considerable listenership on Sunday mornings. “Nevertheless, the weekend growth rate is high, but the number of listeners is still lower than weekdays,” he remarked.
Throwing more light on their respective programming tailored specifically for weekends, the players shared information on their shows and approaches taken by them. Radio One has a special line-up of shows targetted at the weekend audience that is generally more fun-filled and relaxed than the other shows, which includes its talk show with prominent political leaders talking about the other side of their lives.
These programming differentiations from the players have clearly illustrated the segmentation between weekends and weekdays, and that in the growing FM phase, which is welcoming a new generation of listeners, weekends are becoming as important as weekdays, if not more.