| 28 Mar 2023
Apurva Purohit: Great Expectations in the new FM radio scenario

Radio City CEO Apurva Purohit shares her expertise on the growth of radio industry post FM Phase III.-

The clearance of the FM Phase III process has been a great morale boost for the private FM radio industry in India. This clearance fast-tracks the union budget announcement of 839 new frequency auctions. The idea is to reach 294 cities from the present 90 cities. Currently FM reaches mainly the tier I and tier II cities.  With the expansion, many tier III towns will come within the ambit of FM radio. Thus, FM radio will have to cater to an audience with a very different psyche.

Building up connect with the small town India will be an experience different from everything private FM radio has been through, so far. The advertising, below the line promotions everything will see a massive change needless to mention programming. Radio, being a local medium, has to fully imbibe local flavours to be successful in the new venture. FM has both been a mirror as well as a commentary of social change in India in the towns where it has been present. Finally small town India will get access to a powerful medium in terms of giving a platform to the people to voice their aspirations as well as showcase their talent.

Radio, as a medium has till now been under some constraints, be it in distribution or content. We hope to break free these constraints once all the plans fall in place. This will ensure not only a geographical expansion but an expansion in the scope of the industry with diversified content. Also, the government is likely to move in the direction of further sanctions for private FM stations in terms of opening out news based content. This will be a real impetus to radio programming.

The expansion makes radio an attractive option for advertising by local players. FM will give an opportunity to local retailers and local businesses to advertise in a cost effective fashion and increase their coverage, an opportunity that was hitherto restricted to them. Radio, as an industry occupies about four to five per cent of the advertising pie, at present, which will surely go up once local players join the radio advertising universe. An expansion will take FM radio closer to achieving its true share of eight per cent in the advertising pie.

All we need now is a speedy implementation of Phase 3 and a commitment by all constituents to ensure a quick roll out. We compliment the Ministry officials on the announcement and look forward to their continued support to grow this medium and take it to its true potential.