| 24 Mar 2018
Odisha's Radio Choklate wants to expand to Berhampur, Balasur, Puri and Sambalpur

MUMBAI: Despite being one of the leading radio stations in Odisha, Radio Choklate witnessed stagnant growth in 2014, in terms of advertising. This was largely due to the economy of the state. Radio Choklate has one station each, in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.

"The year was not very happening; businesswise it was stagnant. Unless we do not add more stations to our kitty, there is no way that we can demand higher rates. We already operate at a premium rate, and now we also have an inventory issue. Being the leading station in the state, we already have a higher rate than others. We do a bit for on ground events, but overall the situation in the state has not been very good," explained Radio Choklate, Executive Director Tanaya Patnaik. With Phase III coming in the radio station hopes to have more and more local advertisers on board.

The station keeps making a change in programming almost eight to twelve months with the intention of sticking to its forte. "We do a lot of one hour radio plays which are appreciated by the listeners. A lot of storytelling happens on our shows. Small on-air events keep happening. Also our strategy is to play soft music that is pleasing to the ear," elaborated Patnaik.

Citing the reason for local content working in their favour she explained, "A lot of coastal areas also have access to the radio station. There a lot of people want local music. In Bhubaneswar people like Hindi music, but there is still a thirst for local content. So for the next five to ten years sticking to local content is a good idea, but then we will also have to strike a balance for engaging with the youth."

The radio station faces stiff competition from BIG FM and Red FM. "The thing is that we are not really bothered by our competitors because they use a lot of national content whilst we are very local. Our RJs speak in Odia, and our station plays Odiya songs," she added.

Radio Choklate also plans to expand its team after Phase III happens. The content that they would offer will be local, but in a different dialect. "The upcoming year is going to be very crucial as we will be adding radio stations and this will be only way that we can push our ad rates," Patnik said.

She also stated that Berhampur, Balasur, Puri and Sambalpur are the cities that the station wants to expand in. However, all of this will depend on the bidding rates.