| 25 Jun 2024
We need allowance on affordable licensing even if it is in the form of auctions so that more players come into the picture: Red FM COO Nisha Narayanan

MUMBAI: A hoard of discussions about radio players struggle with licensing has been the major topics of discussion. To talk on the same, Red FM COO Nisha Narayanan spoke openly on it at The Radio Festival, which took place yesterday on 13 February in New Delhi.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Nisha said, “Media and entertainment sector is about 58,ooo crore while Radio constitutes only about four to five per cent in the entire sector, she further quotes, “That is a very small component, putting this number to grow we need to grow in terms of more licensing, opening up more news and current affairs. We need to allowance on affordable licensing even if it is in the form of auctions, so that more and more regional players come into the picture. This whole divide between commercial versus community radio has to stop, it is radio after all and there should be space in the spectrum.”

She said, “We have indented entering into smaller markets where radio is actually needed. Where a base price would be really high for example in a market like Dehradun, which is a big market it is called a sea town base price of an auction is 13 cr. Red FM is the only player there and we had got a fee of 16 crore to pay there for a 15-year license.”

"Now when we have to recover that money, we all have our targets in place and there is no way we can get in other forms of music even if we want to. We still have to get into that Bollywood space because it is more commercially accepted. Because the entire advertising community supports this kind and it is not to say that other radio stations have not tried new formats, we ourselves in fact we had something called as The Yellow Taxi music festival, which is on folk music, no Bollywood, no commercial music nothing, just on folk music from different parts of the country. For it to take off or break even for an event, which is an on-ground event, we really had to struggle,” mentioned Nisha Narayanan on how Radio has to mostly lean on the Bollywood music front," she further added.

Over the years Red FM has launched its station in the smaller towns, “Having said that some 32 odd players in the FM sector only the top five/six are actually making profits because of economies of scale work. As a 68 station network, my small stations like Shillong, Gangtok don’t even make money. I can say that for Red FM, I am sure it might be for other networks as well. Some smaller markets don’t even make money, but we are here because we want to be in the radio space because we believe in the media.”