Unified measurement currency is the need of hour for radio industry: B Surendar, Red FM

For an emerging economy like India, radio, with its immediacy and powerful local impact, will play a key role for advertisers in the years to come, says Surendar, COO of Red FM South

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: Jun 27, 2019 8:12 AM

Red FM’s geographical coverage is one of the best among radio players in south India. They launched its first retro station in Hyderabad last year. Red FM has collaborated with ‘Bharat Army’ for the ICC Cricket World Cup and is running a successful radio campaign titled ‘Mera Josh Mahaan’.


In a conversation with exchange4media, B Surendar, COO of Red FM South, spoke about the need to have a unified measurement currency in the radio industry, their retro station in Hyderabad, World Cup campaigns, expansion plans in south India and more.




Last year, you launched your first retro FM station, Magic 106.4, in Hyderabad. How do you assess the station’s performance in this one year?

Magic FM 106.4 Hyderabad has been delivering on the objectives we had set for ourselves till now. There was a clear market gap for the music and movies of the golden era of 80s and 90s, and we have tapped into it quite well. Our launch effort and star RJs have created a huge impact and have helped us bag a few prestigious awards already. Our brand recall and market share are on an upward curve. We hope to build on this momentum further as we move forward.



Tell us about Red FM’s campaigns on ICC World Cup?

Red FM has collaborated with ‘Bharat Army’ for the ICC World Cup and is running a successful radio campaign titled ‘Mera Josh Mahaan’. The campaign will enable a few lucky winners to go to the United Kingdom and cheer for our Indian cricket team. We consider sports to be one of the key pillars of our on-air content and so are doing a lot of interesting stuff around this marquee event.


According to the Nielsen report, radio is one of the most trusted mediums in both metro and non-metro cities. What are the initiatives or strategies followed by Red FM to strike an emotional chord with listeners?

People relate to radio and RJs quite well in India and they even seem to look at them as their FPG (Friend, Philosopher & Guide). There is a lot of natural intimacy and credibility to this relationship. Establishing a strong emotional connect with audience is the single biggest factor in becoming a top radio brand.


We at Red FM try and put together the right mix of entertainment, information and social consciousness in our content on a consistent basis to gain space in the hearts of listeners.


The Nielsen report says advertising on radio is the smartest move today. Your thoughts?


While the digital onslaught is taking a toll on the traditional mass media like Print and even TV to some extent, Radio is one medium which has remained steady and relevant the world over. Increasing mobility of people, emerging of new platforms and the mobile revolution have only strengthened this vibrant and dynamic medium. In fact, a lot of big advertisers who had left the medium seemed to have come back in a big way in countries like the US.


For an emerging economy like India, radio, with its immediacy and powerful local impact, will play a key role for advertisers in the years to come.


In the absence of a unified measurement currency, the radio industry adopts RAM or data from third-party research agency. How does it work for the radio industry?

Unified measurement currency is the need of the hour for our industry. RAM, with coverage of just four cities, will not serve the purpose. While IRS data does provide indicative inputs on radio’s reach across the country, we surely can do with a more accurate measurement currency. Efforts are currently on to come out with one.


Which part of South India gives you the highest reach and why?

We are extremely strong and dominant in South. Not only do we have the highest number of radio stations, the gap in the listenership base of Red’s Suryan FM network as compared to the competitors is huge if we refer to IRS. While we have always led in Tamil Nadu, we have became a strong No.1 in Kerala and Andhra-Telengana regions more recently, beating the stiff competition. We are No.1 in our genre in Bangalore as well.


What kind of listenership growth you are anticipating?

IRS 2019 shows a sharp growth for us as compared to IRS 2017. While further growth should not be an issue, we are more focused on getting closer to the hearts of our audience through our style of entertainment.


What are your expansion plans for the southern region?

Our geographical coverage is the best amongst radio players here. The new stations launched in phase 3 have done commendably. We hope to expand our network further as and when the next phase of radio expansion happens.

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