Radio in 2023: Players tuning into growth frequencies

Industry heads say that the sector's revenue is likely to cross pre-pandemic levels with growth driven by tier 2 and tier 3 markets

e4m by Tanya Dwivedi
Published: Feb 13, 2023 8:48 AM  | 7 min read

The radio industry is expecting to draw better ad volume and ad revenue in 2023. Backing up this positive prediction is TAM’s report for the sector, according to which there was a 25 per cent growth in ad volume in 2022. The TRAI September quarter report also says radio ad revenue was up 11 per cent.

As of 30 September, 2022, there were 388 operational private FM radio channels in 113 cities run by 36 private FM radio operators, the TRAI report states.  

This data further supports the significant curiosity amongst brands, advertisers, and radio companies about the sector’s scope of growth this year. We took insights from radio industry experts on the latest trends, about the investment interest among brands and advertisers, and the challenges that lie ahead.  

The feeling is postive 

DB Corp Chief Executive Officer Rahul Namjoshi believes the outlook is positive and the signs are clear that the sector is set to expand. “The radio industry should benchmark FY20 as the base year, and look forward to growing double digits over that in FY24.” 

As for Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City, “The year 2022 focused on economic recovery after the two years of lull caused by the pandemic. The radio industry witnessed a positive sentiment among consumers as well as advertisers to spend, especially during the festive season. This led to the growth of radio advertising in 2022 and we expect this phenomenon to continue gaining momentum in 2023 as well.” 

Sharing Radio City’s strategies for this year, Kukian said, “At the heart of our operations, Radio City is an advertising solutions company that caters to two sets of audiences - listeners, and advertisers. Earlier the core focus was providing radio-specific solutions, but with the advent of our ‘radigitalization’ strategy, we have started providing holistic solutions that include radio plus digital offerings. We are confident that with this approach, radio is pegged to grow further in 2023 and beyond.”  

Abraham Thomas, CEO, of Reliance Broadcast Network, says the revenues are expected to cross the pre-pandemic levels with growth being driven through tier 2 and tier 3 markets. “While the metro markets will continue to grow, those in Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP, Rajasthan and MP will grow faster driven by Nagpur, Jaipur, Indore, and Surat.” 

Who is going to lead the way? 

According to the TAM reports, in 2022 the properties/real estate category witnessed the highest increase in ad secondages with a growth of 80%, followed by hospitals/clinics at 73% growth. Sharing his prediction for the category expected to lead growth, Namjoshi said his bet is on the dotcom and app business that has got some traction apart from regular radioactive categories like real estate, lifestyle and education. 

About categories that are likely to participate in radio advertisement this year, Kukian, said, “The radio industry was majorly supported by advertising from sectors such as Real Estate and Healthcare. This year, along with these categories, we are seeing a growing interest from sectors such as finance and auto to make the leap in terms of ad volumes followed by retail, services and education.”  

Appreciating the real estate sector, Thomas, said, “Thanks to the sustained faith of the real estate industry in radio as a medium, it has maintained its foothold as a consistent spender during and post the pandemic. Health, fitness and pharma have been the other emerging categories. This includes gym equipment and supplements. This sector has grown by 80% over FY20.” 

Tracking the challenges 

Before the Union Budget, experts in the radio sector highlighted how rationalisation of the GST structure is essential for the overall growth of the industry, and how manufacturing of radio equipment within the country could make the sector self-sufficient. According to Kukian, “The advent of multiple formats of content consumption poses a challenge for the radio industry. But, consider these challenges as opportunities to keep thriving by introducing innovative and unique concepts to stay relevant and add value to the lives of our audiences.” 

Sharing the advertisers’ perspective, he further said, “Radio has always been a popular medium for entertainment and advertising. However, emerging technologies are playing a role in altering radio's appearance where future technologies may modify the structure of radio waves, resulting in a diverse environment. The ultimate objective of the radio industry is to enhance the theatre of mind experience of listeners, allowing them to enjoy their favourite broadcasts and expanding radio's reach to all regions, especially across smaller markets. Another important aspect is adapting to the latest developments in the industry such implementation of influencer marketing and artificial intelligence in the radio broadcasting industry.”  

As for Thomas, “While the radio industry, too, has been affected by the overall economic downturn, many new trends are emerging. Only those organizations that can adapt and innovate will be best positioned for success. Multiple revenue streams like Solutions, Digital products, Influencer marketing, and activation/amplifications and events are growing rapidly and will contribute up to 30% of revenues for this sector. Regional IPs and spikes are gaining a lot of traction and emerging markets are growing at a faster pace and crossing pre-pandemic levels.” 

Talking about the measurability issue, he said, “The major challenge for the radio industry continues to be measurability with increasing competition from New Media, but the shift to outcomes over outputs is helping radio + digital to become a potent option.” 

Further, Namjoshi shared how the music royalty issue is not yet sorted and how broadcasters are dealing with multiple litigations. 

“Talent retention is another challenge that the Radio Industry is having, and most importantly we should get back our FY 20 rates back,” Namjoshi said. 

Trend Watch 

According to the TAM reports, 30 to 40-second commercials were the most preferred on radio in 2021 and 2022. 

Elaborating on the radigitalisation strategy, Kukian said, “There have been major digital transformations across industries and radio has also adapted to this transformation led by digitisation.” 

“Radio City is at the cusp of its ‘radigitalisation’ strategy, where the focus lies on the unification of offering radio plus digital solutions to the audience. Through our cutting-edge approach, we strive to effortlessly connect with the audience by developing content that accurately reflects their preferences. The current trends in the radio industry include offering regional podcasts for hyper-local reach, harping on the indie culture, offering value-added solutions to the advertisers, collaborating with on-ground events, and much more to position radio for its next phase of growth.”  

Elaborating on the concept of how radio works beyond radio, Namjoshi said, “Brands no more see radio as just radio. We now work as 360-degree solution providers in the retail market. Our solutions are a mix of radio, digital, on the ground, depending on what is the client's objective from the campaign.” 

Focusing on technological transformations, Abraham said, “Radio’s technological transformation has made it possible for its content to now be enjoyed across audio streaming platforms and also through different mediums such as podcasts, audiobooks, smart speaker’s solutions, chatbots and gamification amongst others. AI will continue to become more perceptive with the influx of new technologies. It will become a powerful tool to analyze data and provide solutions. Radio campaigns have started focusing on Automation via Bots, Gamification, etc. Metaverse too is gaining traction and will lead to some disruptive changes which will be more immersive and interactive. This belief system is visible as more and more digital brands such as Online Games, Fintech, and Edtech amongst others are counting on Radio for better reach and engagement.”  

Revenue Growth  

On the TRAI report’s findings about the increase in revenue in the September quarter, Namjoshi said, “The growth is majorly from retail market advertisers. We are hopeful that Q4 will also register growth.”

According to Kukian, “The radio industry with its new age multimedia strategy is expecting 25 per cent growth.”

Sharing the sentiment was Abraham, “We expect the radio industry’s growth to continue, with categories like Services, Real Estate, Retail, Pharma and Automobile leading this recovery.” 

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e4m Golden Mikes Awards 2023: Radio Mirchi wins ‘Radio Station of the Year’ title

Mindshare, ENIL, Music Broadcast Ltd, and Big FM among other key winners

By exchange4media Staff | May 17, 2023 9:40 PM   |   2 min read

Golden Mikes 2023

The exchange4media group hosted the much-awaited e4m Golden Mikes Radio and Audio Awards 2023 on Wednesday, May 17 in Mumbai. The 11th edition of the awards witnessed the coming together of some of the most well-known voices in the country - radio jockeys, channel leaders and other industry luminaries.

At the dazzling awards night, Radio Mirchi took home the title of ‘Radio Station of the Year’. In its highest-ever haul, the radio station bagged 39 metals of which 12 were gold, 13 silver and 14 bronze.

The ‘RJ of the Year’ title was won by three RJs in Hindi and English language. While RJ Abhilash of Big FM won gold, RJ Ginnie of Radio City 91.1 and RJ Jeeturaaj from Mirchi won bronze. Mirchi Bhushan and Mirchi Mushak Man of Radio Mirchi Nashik / 98.3 MIRCHI respectively won silver. Mirchi RJ Susmita of Radio Mirchi won bronze in the ‘New Aspiring RJ of the Year’ category while RJ Raunac and Annu Kapoor of Red FM and Big FM won Bronze and Silver respectively. Under the ‘Influencer RJ of the Year’ category, RJ Shourya of 104.8 Ishq FM, RJ Ashish of 104.8 Ishq FM and RJ Kartik of MY FM took home Bronze, Silver and Gold respectively.

With the advancement of digitisation in the industry, radio and audio have been expanding wings and strategically exploring broader avenues. To honour the outstanding work of radio jockeys and other channel leaders, e4m recognises the excellence in radios and honours the people who bring out their finest creativity through radio marketing.

Here’s the full list of winners:

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Govt advisory for inbuilt radio in mobile handsets to boost listenership: Rahul Namjoshi

The CEO of MYFM spoke to e4m on the recent government advisory, market expansion plans and the upcoming radio broadcast auctions

By Tanya Dwivedi | May 15, 2023 9:19 AM   |   4 min read


There should be no gaps between what the radio industry wants and what the government decides, says Rahul Namjoshi, CEO of MYFM. He spoke to e4m on investing heavily in manpower training and hiring.


According to Namjoshi, there are a lot of opportunities in the markets. He also spoke extensively on the company’s outlook for the financial year and expectations from the FM broadcast auctions.




MY FM has stations in more than six states of north and west India. Do you have any plans to expand the market in the south? 


We want to stay focused on our core strength which is North & West. We are not well versed with the markets across South India in terms of demography and languages, so we are reluctant to invest in the South. However, we will keep expanding our markets across north and west India depending upon what kind of base price the government decides. 


How is the financial year looking for you, any early trends?


The beauty of our business is that we don’t wait for business to come and we rather work on creating a business and that creation is almost 25% to 30% of our revenue. Our primary markets are tier II & III markets, which is where the growth lies for India. Today almost all categories are focusing on these markets. Moreover, we are not in the race of getting the highest volume but look for the value. We are quite confident that this will be the best year for us.


The central government is planning for FM broadcast auctions. What are your expectations? 


We are yet to receive any notification on this from the government. However, there must be no gaps between what the radio industry wants and what the government decides. We recently had a good meeting with the government and shared our expectations with them to boost the growth of private FM in the country. The radio industry will be in Tango Congo for phase three, the batch three auctions are subject to the right benchmark pricing. Last year phase three batches did not catch much traction just because the base pricing was very high. Moreover, the radio business is a shoestring business so we monitor our expenses to remain a profitable business. 


We have seen a few stations rationalising cost, how are you looking at it? 


We are an eternal optimist brand and very bullish about this financial year, we have major plans for the upcoming year. We can divulge details right now but soon you’ll witness a series of launches and announcements of new shows. In terms of investments besides investing in human resources, we will invest in technology to perform efficiently and effectively. 


As per TAM reports, radio ad volume went up during covid and post covid. How’s the advertising business going and which brands are investing in MYFM in the following year?


Besides FMCG, education, Real Estate, and Healthcare category, jewellery brands are performing extremely well in the regional markets. Moreover, national brands are gradually shifting towards the regional market as the expected ROI is higher and to give higher competition to local brands the national brands are investing heavily in hyper local mediums like radio.


What challenges is radio as a medium facing currently?


Radio broadcasters should be allowed to broadcast news, most of the private FM channels are owned by reputed news media groups and we should be allowed to pick up news and deliver it in our style rather than picking it up from Prasar Bharati. News on the radio will be a game changer. 


There is a recent advisory by the GOI on inbuilt FM Radio receiver features in mobile phones. How do you look at it?


This is a great development and will give a huge boost to radio listenership. We are thankful to the government to give this advisory and we are hopeful all mobile manufacturers will build FM tuners in all mobile handsets in benefit to end customers.

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How ‘Mann Ki Baat’ aids radio broadcasters and brands to expand reach

The programme addresses local issues and has a high relevance across age groups, note experts

By Tanya Dwivedi | May 16, 2023 9:12 AM   |   3 min read

Mann ki baat

PM Narendra Modi’s radio address programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ recently completed 100 episodes, adding another milestone to the radio industry. Apart from adding 23 crore listeners, ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has been drawing private broadcasters, brands and advertisers who want to expand their reach in tier cities.

We asked radio industry experts how FM broadcasters expand their market to tier cities through ‘Mann Ki Baat.’

“RJs from our radio stations promoted the radio programme on social media covering all the important issues broadcasted on ‘Mann Ki Baat.’ Also, what makes radio more unique and powerful in expanding its tier market is the way the Prime Minister and President are coming up and doing a joint show,” said Rahul Namjoshi, CEO, of MYFM.

“Besides providing a platform to address important issues and giving a voice to the voiceless, radio as a medium is doing much better. In the coming years, we are also going to see a lot of things happening on Mann Ki Baat which definitely will help the private broadcasters in promoting more brands and business in tier cities,” Namjoshi added.

Radio remains a primary source of information and entertainment in Tier markets and plays a key role in keeping people connected across the nation. “Mann Ki Baat is a pioneering initiative and our Prime Minister’s choice of radio as a medium to reach the masses is a testament to its credibility and unwavering ability to build trust. It has effectively utilized the reach and power of radio to connect with citizens across the length and breadth of the country,” said Abraham Thomas, CEO, of Reliance Broadcast Network.

“Since the radio program addresses various issues pertaining to the common man, it witnesses a high relevance across age groups driving mass local reach,” Thomas added.

As for Monalisa Mandal, AVP, Marketing & Digital, Fever FM, the advertising revenues from tier cities are going up. “More people are tuning in to radio channels to listen to other programmes, leading to advertisers' interests who want to reach out to the audience in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. This has resulted in increased advertising revenue for radio channels, which has helped them to expand their operations and improve the quality of their services.”

“In terms of its impact on the radio industry, ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has been a game-changer. It has increased the popularity of radio in India and has brought it back into India and has brought it back into the mainstream. The program is broadcast on multiple radio channels, including All India Radio, private FM channels, and digital platforms. This has led to an increase in listenership and has created new opportunities for advertisers.” Monalisa added.

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Zee Media gets board approval to bid for RBNL

RBNL has reportedly been put under the corporate insolvency process by the National Company Law Tribunal

By exchange4media Staff | May 11, 2023 9:09 AM   |   1 min read

zee media

Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) has got approval from its board to participate in the bidding process to buy Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL).

In a regulatory filing, Zee Media said, "The Board of Directors of the Company, vide Resolution passed by circulation on May 5, 2023, have granted the approval to the Company to submit Expression of Interest (‘EOI') with Corporate Insolvency Resolution Professional (‘CIRP’) of Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (‘RBNL’) in relation to the "Invitation for Expression of Interest for Submission of Resolution Plan for Reliance Broadcast Network Limited" issued by CIRP appointed in terms of the extant provisions for Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process of RBNL," 

RBNL operates radio stations under the Big FM brand. It has reportedly been put under the corporate insolvency process by the National Company Law Tribunal. An advertisement has been issued seeking expressions of interest from interested entities. 

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Smartphones should have FM radio access: IT min

The IT ministry has said in an advisory that a sharp fall has been noticed in the number of phones coming with FM radio services

By exchange4media Staff | May 5, 2023 1:48 PM   |   1 min read


The government has issued an advisory asking smartphone makers to ensure easy FM radio access, media networks have reported. 

According to the advisory, there is a need to ensure radio access is provided to the underprivileged. The measure will also help in easy radio access during natural calamities and disasters.

The IT ministry has said that it has come to its notice that there has been a sharp fall in the number of phone makers providing free FM radio services.

The advisory has been sent to the Indian Cellular and the Electronics Association and Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology.

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Entertainment Network India revenue up 37.3%

The Mirchi company shared that investments towards digital platforms have started bearing fruit

By exchange4media Staff | May 5, 2023 11:52 AM   |   2 min read


The Entertainment Network India, Radio Mirchi, has reported an increase of 37.3% in total revenues, driven by healthy growth in radio of 35.7 % and non-radio grew by 33.5% during the year. According to the Q4 financial results of Entertainment Network India Limited, 2023, the total revenues grew by 5.6 % to Rs 104.9 crore with radio witnessing a growth of 13.2 % in revenue.

Detailing more about the growth coming from the digital, the company shared that investments towards digital platform have started bearing fruit as the segment began contributing to the top line from quarter four onwards. The company saw an upsurge in the revenue after investing Rs 7.2 crore in the digital platform and without which the EBITDA for the quarter stood at Rs 23.2 crores and profit before tax was Rs 6.1 crore.

Barring digital, the company shared the figures for the entire year which tells that EBITDA stands at Rs 93.3 crore and its margins have improved to 22.6% in FY23 from 16.2% in FY22. The company’s profit before tax and exceptional items is Rs 19.6 crore as compared to the loss of Rs 28.9 crore in FY22.

Commenting on the results, Yatish Mehrishi, CEO, ENIL, said: “I am pleased to share that we have registered good growth this financial year both in terms of top line and improved margins. We have witnessed an increase in radio revenues post pandemic and a good traction in the Non radio business as well. We have consolidated our industry leadership by gaining volume market share by 300 bps. Our digital platform Mirchi Plus continues to grow rapidly on key metrics of Monthly Active Users and engagement. Our social media assets have seen massive growth both in terms of engagement and virality.”

Looking into the company’s balance sheet, we found that ENIL’s Balance Sheet remains strong with cash reserves standing at ₹ 265.0 crores as on March 31, 2023, as compared to ₹ 227.0 crores as on December 31, 2022.

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All India Radio to be now called Akashvani

Prasar Bharati CEO Gaurav Dwivedi has said in an internal order that the decision was taken earlier but is being operationalised now

By exchange4media Staff | May 5, 2023 9:08 AM   |   1 min read


Prasar Bharati has decided to refer to its radio services as 'Akashvani' instead of 'All India Radio'.

As per media reports, in an internal order Prasar Bharati CEO Gaurav Dwivedi has said that the decision was taken earlier but is being operationalised now.

The name Akashvani was reportedly proposed by Rabindranath Tagore in 1939.

Dwivedi's order for replacing AIR to Akashvani seeks immediate compliance.

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