| 21 Feb 2024
We do not believe in RAM, but we know our Redtro is different: Nisha Narayanan

MUMBAI: One would think twice before entering the markets of Mumbai, also known for its best radio networks, but things were different for the COO of Red FM, Nisha Narayanan.

In spite of having two radio station in the market with similar content (Big FM and Nasha), Redtro 106.Chaar took the risk of attempting to create space of its own, making it wider each day. In spite of walking on the same track of retro music, Redtro 106.Chaar is different from the other two.

Redtro 106.Chaar celebrates its first anniversary today. Nisha Narayanan shared her success with


How has the journey for Redtro 106.Chaar been?  Also, tell us about the listeners the feedback and its listenership

The Redtro journey has been amazing. We have a lot of listeners as youngsters on the show, categorising to an overall audience from 25 to 35 years and they love the 1990's era of music. Also, a lot of recreative songs today have come from the 90’s, so there is relatability. Sitting in Delhi, I get calls from people from Mumbai and saying what a fabulous station it is and have loved listening to it. We have a clear differentiation from an advertising point of view and listeners point of view.

Why did you precisely choose the 90’s music?

When we say retro it is expected to be the song from 70’s 80’s 90’s, but we took the risk by launching only the 90's songs and I think the risk worked out really well. I think the 90's music is what people like listening to more when it comes to retro as half of the population is born in the 90's. I believe the 90's music has variety as well and that has paid off. So for us at 90’s retro the ‘Phir Bajao’ meaning the ‘Bajate Raho’ satire has yet not gone. What we are trying to establish is though you are retro, yet you are cool. Listening to old songs does not make you uncool and therefore we are very well received by the listeners.

How did the marketing for Redtro in Mumbai begin?

When we initially launched Redtro, we had huge campaigns all over the city like marketing-outdoors, we did not spare anything. But I am a firm believer of small sustained marketing activity. I mean radio is a medium that can market itself. So if we continuously go out, shake hands and kiss babies and keep doing big and small activities, I think it helps the brand to build its space on a long term and that is what we have kept doing. So from the past one year, we have done a lot of small activities reaching out to the masses by reflecting the local flavour in a big way.

Attracting advertisers for Redtro in a city of Mumbai would have been a task. How did you manage to get through them?

With Redtro for advertising, we play the volume strategy, while with Red FM it is the value strategy. Volume Strategy means the rates won’t be that high as compared to Red FM but will be lower than an average station. We are trying to attract non-radio advertisers for whom the high industry rates are not affordable. So we want them to come in radio and make radio far more affordable to them, that is what we are trying to do and that is working well. Initially, we were focusing on keeping our inventory as minimal as possible to push our brand but now since last 3 to 4 months we are focusing on festivals, and also a lot of non-radio advertisers have started coming in. This helps more advertisers to participate in radio and also creates a path for inviting new advertisers.

Around the same time, another retro radio station also entered Mumbai and you survived the competition so well.

The competition will always be on the rates and the revenue. From a brand point of view, we are different. I think they have created a nice zone for them as Nasha, Redtro has created its own 90’s space, so both are nostalgic but both have a different perception in the mind of the listeners. I think what we have been successfully doing is create a separate imagery with Redtro in spite of the fact that the entire space is of old music.

A month and a half ago Red FM took a step of increasing the advertisement rates and decreasing the ad time on-air. How has this affected to the revenue of Red FM? Also what differentiation is observed under RAM rating?

We don’t subscribe to RAM, as we don’t believe in the RAM philosophy. We unsubscribed around 3 to 4 years back. We do find a lot of faults in terms of the methodology adopted as far as RAM is concerned. As far as our inventory is concerned, we have about 20 minutes average inventory. The focus is on selling non-FCT’s (Free Commercial Time). We should sell a lot of non-FCTs and non-traditional values.

Redtro has been doing well in Mumbai now, do you have any plans to launch more Redtro stations?

We will see in the next auction. As there aren’t many big stations left as Phase III of batch III is concerned now, there are all small stations. Our focus has always been in expanding and have a presence in state capitals, but let's see, if we have to consolidate, we will consolidate in a few markets.

Being in the industry for almost 15 years you have seen the changes in advertiser's behaviour, tell us about your observation.

As far as the demands of advertisers go, I think that is gone up. They don’t want FCT’s anymore, they want something beyond that for their brands. One of the biggest challenges is that there is no measurement system in place, secondly digital is growing at a very big space and digital has a measurement. So I think a challenge that the industry is facing is the change in technology and lack of measurement system. So, therefore, it is required to provide more innovative ideas to the clients and innovations become very critical. FCT’s are there but I think we need to start thinking more now.

We are keen to know your goals for Redtro 106.chaar

My goals for Redtro are to be on top as far as Mumbai is concerned, to be a household name and love it. Money needs to keep flowing in but I think the brand needs to get larger. I would love to see Redtro giving competition to Red FM and that is when you get to know your success.