RadioandMusic
| 19 Oct 2018
Retelling the story of Radio 2017

MUMBAI: Indian radio industry spread its wings in the year 2017. It explored new avenues, walked the risky paths and got rewarded in return.

Private, community radio stations and AIR achieved their set targets in 2017. The year overall seemed more fruitful for Private FM with newer shows being launched, on-ground events being explored, new tie-ups, RJs, stations and increase in revenue, but CRS worked towards better content. They had to face many obstacles in 2017, but they showed their strength in producing people interest content that kept them going. On the other hand, AIR roped in big music industry names to attract more viewers.

Highlights of 2017:

Red FM, Big FM, Radio City, Radio Mirchi, MY FM, Radio Mango, Club FM and Radio Indigo bagged awards at the IRF Awards 2017. RED FM Delhi’s morning RJ Raunac was the winner of best RJ for the year 2016-17. () 

Radio Indigo joined hands with Chandigarh International Airport and Goa international Airport to play exclusive music with its best jock for the travellers.

BIG FM promised its listeners to turn musical completely in 2017. Keeping its promise of playing more music, the station RJs turned MJs for its listeners.

Salim Merchant  and Karan Johar  joined radio.

Last but not the least; the Union Cabinet Ministry announced licensing for the third batch of Phase III auctions.

We now take you to a journey of private FM stations, community radio stations and public broadcaster AIR. This covers their achievements, hierarchy, new station launches, new show launches, new RJs onboard and more.

BIG FM

2017 was a great year for BIG FM, as it launched 14 new stations. They launched stations in Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gorakhpur, Agartala, Itanagar, Aizawl, Shillong, Pune, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur and Aurangabad. It became the first station to offer adult contemporary music in two languages – Hindi and Kannada, in Bengaluru.

The biggest move for BIG FM was its RJs turning MJs. As the stations revamped as a music-driven station on 15 August, there was a new tagline into the picture ‘Hit Gaane Honge Zyada, Yeh Hai BIG FM Ka Vaada’.

The brand elevated Praveen Malhotra as the Chief Business Officer. She is responsible for sales, marketing, planning and services as its Chief Business Officer.

Fever FM

HT Media Ltd’s Fever FM launched a few new shows like Comedy Ki DukaanDisco Station, Mad Mornings.

The company reported an 18.4 percent increase in revenue for its Radio segment that operates radio stations under the brand Fever FM for the current quarter. HT Media’s radio segment reported an operating profit of Rs 26.2 million as compared to an operating loss of Rs 3.3 million in Q2-17.

MY FM

2017 has been one of the most memorable years for MY FM as it completed a decade in Ahmedabad, Surat, Bhopal and Chandigarh. It also launched new stations in Bikaner and Akola in March 2017. 

MY FM had higher operating revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2-18, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year (Q2-17). DB Corp reported 11.6 percent y-o-y growth for operating revenue of its radio segment for Q2-18 at Rs 348.61 million from Rs 312.27 million. DB Corp also said that the Radio business advertisement revenue grew 16.8 percent y-o-y to Rs 349 million from Rs 299 million.

In June this year, the brand got a new creative partner on board. DDB Mudra took up the responsibility of MY FM’s creative and marketing.

Radio City

Radio City launched four new stations starting from January to March. The brand launched stations in Kolhapur, Patna, Nashik and Jamshedpur.

To get close to listeners and be a radio city of listeners’ choice, the brand adopted music-focused programming line-up. Not only this, there were revamping of existing shows too with new show names. A few weekend shows were also introduced.

In August, Radio City became the first station to tie up with a metro station. LMRC (Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation) and Radio City joined hands to entertain travellers in the metro and accompany them with the unique concept. Here music and content is played in capsules of 180 seconds, with metro announcements in-between.

The station launched a digital Punjabi radio station – Radio City Punjabi after its digital Hindi radio in October 2017.

Lastly, the station introduced the next generation of FM entertainment with Video City. This gave the listeners an opportunity to consume FM in video format. This aims to transform radio from being a listener-only medium to an experiential digital multimedia platform by giving a sneak peek into the radio studio.

RED FM

RED FM launched in Surat, Patna, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Jammu. Along with this in April, RED FM re-launched the Bengaluru station. It also went on to launch a mobile streaming app in June 2017.

To continue entertaining the listeners and delivering new programs to them, RED FM roped in Ranjit Pathak as its new National Programming Head. Moving in with 16 years of industry experience, Pathak plans to stick to the basics of ‘Bajaate Raho’ and build programs accordingly. 

The station will be launching new stations in the next six months. The stations will be Srinagar, Chennai, Dehradun, Muzzaffarpur, Dhule, Nanded, Agartala, Jhansi, Erode, Salem, Vellore, Hubli, Hyderabad and Nellore.

Radio Mirchi

In May this year, Radio Mirchi’s station in Panaji, Goa stopped broadcasting. The operations discontinued soon after the license period of the station came to an end. However, the brand launched three new stations acquired in Phase III. The stations are Shillong, Jammu and Kozhikode.

The highlight of 2017 for Radio Mirchi was making it to the list of Top 100 YouTube channel in India. Mirchi has successfully made its digital presence felt and its one million YouTube subscribers narrate its success story.

On-ground activities:

The stations did not just excel on-air bur on-ground too. They did three main campaigns, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri and Children's day.

For Children’s day, BIG FM joined hands with Reliance Mutual Fund to inspire citizens about their new campaign which is conceptualized for Children’s Day. #Chhotonkebadefunde was aimed at promoting the message that even kids can guide elders to arrive at a valuable lesson. BIG FM marked the tenth successful edition of ‘BIG Green Ganesha’ in 2017.

The radio network lived up to its core music promise and the merit of ‘Suno Sunao Life Banao’ by infusing a nine-day musical fest with the key messaging of women empowerment called Suron Ki Naun Deviyan. BIG FM was the first ever radio station to especially compose nine sufi-folk songs highlighting the virtues of the nine goddesses during Navaratri.

MY FM, on the other hand, organised silent garba this year across Gujarat. The idea was to get into the picture by the imposition of noise bans by government post 12 am and the idea got a huge positive response.

Fever FM did an amazing movie promotion this year. Something one would never image, two RJs from Fever FM, RJ Anuraag and RJ Glen went on a Jab Harry Met Sejal Tour from 23 July. The RJs were on-air live from different locations of the film shoot on their official Facebook page.

Radio advertising rates shot up:

The radio industry took a unanimous decision on increasing their ad rates to decrease the ad time on their stations. This was a need of the hour as the listeners couldn’t have taken any more ads.

Under the same many radio stations increased their advertising rates and put a cap on ad time. MY FM increased its advertisement rates from 15- 25 per cent across markets. RED FM increased its ad rates up to 35 per cent, Fever and Radio Nasha witnessed a hike of 25 per cent. BIG FM shot its ad rates from 30-35 per cent and Radio Mirchi 15-20 per cent.

Community Radio Station:

Community radio stations did some commendable work with their content in spite of technical difficulties. Radio Active from Bengaluru faced various challenges this year like a short circuit and the Bengaluru rains, which lead to waterlogging in the studio. In spite of this, the station continued broadcasting. But, financially the year ended in a low, as they haven't been able to receive state or central government projects.

“As a station, our vision has been to widen communities’ involvement in broadcasting and we continued to do so, with many more communities coming onboard from programs, projects, collaborations,” said Radio Active programming head Pinky Chandran.

Radio Active is known for its diversity in content and is the only community radio station in the country to have so many communities of interests who are not passive consumers, but actual producers, anchors, and volunteers from auto drivers, waste pickers and scrap dealers, domestic workers, people living with HIV, garment workers, animal activists, LGBT and more.

“Experiment, Experiment, Experiment has always our mantra and we hope to experiment in 2018 too. We will also be exploring new formats and get newer communities on board. At the heart of everything, will be our mission to celebrate diversity- people, voice, culture, ideas, opinions, ideas, and identities,” said Chandran.

With more community involvement and more of women entrepreneurs joining hands in content and program production, 2017 has been fruitful for the community radio station Salaam Namaste, Noida.  

The station runs social awareness programs like Jeet Cancer Par- Health Awareness for Cancer, TB ki Paathshaala and more. The station will soon initiate socially relevant programs, seeking sponsorship from State Level.

“Bringing more awareness and changes through initialisations for rag pickers, showcasing community helpers and arousing citizen journalists,” said Salaam Namaste station director  Chabaria. 

“The Science for Women's Health and Nutrition programme was doing well and getting a tremendous response. But that was only one hour of the total 14 hours that Radio Mewat broadcasts. So, the challenge of new and interesting content is always there. But new people bring new ideas and it is always good to broadcast what people want to hear,” said Radio Mewat station head Archana Kapoor.

The station has started a series of new programmes like Haqeeqat, a report from the ground about all development work. There is also counselling with a psychologist, who talks about the daily pressures and how to deal with the programme. “We would never have realised that people living in rural areas too have many psychological issues,” said Kapoor.

The station launched a programme called ‘Radio Tuition’. Only 3 out of every 10 students passed the class 10 exam in Mewat. The reason is mostly on account of the absence of teachers or quality of teachers. So, again to fill the gap of lack of teachers Radio Mewat has started a free tuition on the radio. From 3:30 to 7:30 pm tuitions are given in every subject for classes from 6 to 10.

AIR:

The year 2017 was most happening for Rainbow and Gold Channels. Renowned celebrities visited the studio, namely Asha Bhosle, Shaban Azmi, Bindu, Kailash Kher, Javed Siddiqui, Kavita Seth, Tochi Raina, Mohd Irfan, Shahid Mallya, Sharad Tripathi, Honey Irani, Anuradha Paudwal, Pankaj Kapoor, Javed Jeffery etc.

FM Gold and FM Rainbow also did exclusive 10 days programme on Navaratri festival inviting best artists as Bhoomi Trivedi, Viju Shah, Hanif Aslam, Parthiv Gohil in Mumbai.

According to the AIR FM Gold and FM Rainbow programming executive Zubair Khan, “Radio today is facing many challenges and one of it is not being able to provide good quality music and contents are repetitive. The station expects the New Year to bring more listener oriented programmes. Quality programmes like providing research-based information and storytelling. This will get listeners to tune into FM Channels and enjoy.”

There were a few hiccups in 2017 for the CRS and AIR, but 2018 seems to be hopeful.