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Panel interaction
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MUMBAI: The National Radio Meet NRM 2008 organised by the Pune based Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication threw up a lot of pertinent points, with issues debated by some of the leaders of the FM industry in India, on Sunday.

The meet started with the opening session by Radio City CEO and AROI president Apurva Purohit who explained to the assembled students the evolution of radio in India dating back to the introduction of All India Radio in 1935 followed by privatization of air waves in 1993, the Phase I of radio licensing, implications of the Phase II licenses and expectations from the Phase III licenses.

Referring to the coverage of radio over the years, she said, �In the first Phase I, radio covered about 23 per cent of the population, raising to 28 per cent within one year of Phase II and today we stand tall covering almost 50 per cent of the population with 280 FM stations in 85 cities growing at a rate of 40 per cent CAGR....

Red FM COO Abraham Thomas pointed out that radio is not local anymore - with changing technologies, changing consumer wants and desires and competition within the radio spheres and other mediums.

Others panelists in the first session included WorldSpace Satellite Radio managing director M Sebastian and Radio Indigo COO Jayant Bhokare, a session that was moderated by Symbiosis director Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury The panel discussed many issues related to radio and answered questions put forth by the students.

Commercialisation

Commenting on the over commercialisation in radio, Sebstain said, The challenge of radio lies in the fact that it has to emotionally attach with the listeners and yet be commercially viable for the advertisers. These are auto mechanisms where you earn ads after developing connect with the audiences....

Thomas added that radio station needs to draw a line and avoid over doing commercials. If the listeners find the ads intrusive or obnoxious it won't take them long to switch to other frequency. Radio is the only medium where the commercials can be weaved creatively in the content and can co-exist at the same time....

However, Bhokare averred, What is the harm with earning revenues out of commercials? Much money has gone into buying the licenses and the radio stations need to recover them and advertising



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