Radio industry: Trends to watch out for in 2021

Industry leaders say that a hyperlocal approach and digitization of channels will help the industry soar to greater heights this year

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Jan 15, 2021 9:21 AM
radio industry trends 2021

We finally bid adieu to the year of economic woes. Bringing in the new year with a fresh new vision and taking on a forward-looking approach, Radio Industry leaders are optimistic about the turnover and growth of their FM channels.

Throughout the year 2020, the radio industry was equipped to constantly reinvent itself and flourish into new digital avenues. This has set the pretence for 2021, giving more ROI led opportunities to their brands (clients) and has even brought in new categories onboard. There has been an increase in digital strategies to better suit the changing landscape and many FM Channels have made headway by developing and curating their own web radio platforms. While the year of doom and gloom (read:2020) brought in a massive economic slump it was also a year to reinvent itself to developing times. Leaders share that a hyperlocal approach and digitization of channels will help the radio industry soar to greater heights this year.

e4m spoke to Radio Industry leaders to understand the expectations and trends they have forecasted for this new year.

Abraham Thomas, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited


With the advancement of digitalization, we see radio expanding its wings and strategically entering into broader avenues such as gamification, chatbots, social commerce, and others. The seamless integration into the digital space has opened many possibilities for the radio industry to venture into newer avenues where the emergence of audio will take precedence across all innovations. We believe that this will be dominating the industry and become a leading trend in 2021.

Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City


A trend forecast for 2021 would be a growth in radio in terms of listenership and business from the Tier2 and Tier 3 markets. Due to radio’s reach and credibility, brands will reach out to the audiences in these markets through radio. This will be coupled with the increase in usage of radio by local players to amplify their brand message.

B.Surendar, COO & Director, Red FM network


For us, our on-going NBD (new business development) efforts have helped attract a whole lot of new advertisers and categories from national and regional markets into Red FM during last year and hopefully will grow bigger in 2021. Going forward we will be moving away from vanilla FCT and providing Radio + Digital + On ground (wherever possible) solutions to our advertisers leveraging our own influencers i.e RJ’s and our strong rapport with celebrities at large and the film industry across multiple languages. We will also be venturing into highly differentiated and updated content keeping pace with the changed lifestyle and behaviour in people in this new market environment. The trend of Hyperlocal planning and execution by brands to adapt to the new normal and expand their customer base will be seen and radio should be able to benefit from this. Other leverage points this year will be important states going for elections, some spurt in Government and political advertising. Other areas like podcasting, content syndication and other new media initiatives will also gain prominence.

Preeti Nihalani, Chief Revenue Officer, Mirchi


The year of 2021 will be a recovery year for the radio industry. Advertisers believe strongly in the core strengths of radio and in tough times when brands do more tactical and hyperlocal advertising, the radio medium will only garner more prominence.

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