| 19 Aug 2022
A time to wake up

The third phase of financial bidding for FM stations is around the corner and the players are all geared to bag the few metro stations and a clutch of virgin markets whose frequencies will be thrown open.

There is one big question which is preying on my mind, however. Where are the listeners? The advertising pie is shrinking between the players and listeners too. If you have noticed recently, many players have shifted their TG focus...earlier, most stations were capturing a young TG between 15-25, now it has been changed to 25-35 + above, for a simple reason.

Youngsters don't have buying capacity. But my dear friends, the TG which we are targeting have no time to listen to the radio, while teenagers have ample media to get their dose of entertainment. What do we do?

I guess it's a wake up call for all the professionals to restructure few basics because the thumb rule Radio sells audience... isn't working anymore beacuse programming focus is shifting towards clients.

I know I might face opposition on this, but seriously, the Radio Sound on roads has vanished and the radio freaks have disappeared. Nowadays, I don't see people talking about Radio Jockeys or Programmes. No RJs are turning into Big Hits. What's the problem? Is it a surfeit of radio stations or too many media available, or mundane programmes or boring content or the same music everywhere?

I think that cut throat competition killed the Radio Spirit. We have made radio way too much intelligent. We forgot who our listener is and what he is asking for? Basics say that radio be simple and entertaining. Well, you won't find these two together. It's a rare combination to find these days. A lot of radio stations have already started thinking about it seriously. They are finding new ways to capture the audience. They are working on segregating the radio audience and getting to the core TG funda.

I think this will work for a while but it's not a long lasting solution. We have to go the basics. Simplicity and Entertainment, that's the bottom line. The important thing is to increase the listenership but to sustain the existing base also. I think it's  time for a few experiments like including bit of Popular English Music here and there, like perhaps one English song an hour that too a popular one. Lesser spikes so that a listener should also breathe and enjoy the jock's views and talent. Avoid too much of cricket on radio. Don't try to make radio a visual medium. Radio is like a blind man who can feel the rain but cannot describe it's beauty, so lets not bring too much of television into it. Profit making is essential to survive but remember we'll survive only with an audience, not with survey results.

Lokesh Gulyani, Radio Programmer, Jaipur.