| 15 Jul 2024
Apurva Purohit: 'Radio has seen robust growth as a medium for marketing and advertising industry'

* features and salutes glorious years of Private FM Radio

Radio City 91.1 FM CEO Apurva Purohit is in high spirits as the station has completed 10 years in the radio business. This apart, Radio City has just won out against The IPRS in a royalty case.

Promoted by Music Broadcast Private Limited (MBPL), Radio City is the first Indian private radiocaster and ranks among the leading networks with its presence across 20 FM stations including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.

An ecstatic Apurva Purohit expresses her glee and shares  her insights on her and Radio City's  topsy-turvy journey  in broadcasting over the past decade with

Radio City, along with private FM radio broadcasting has completed 10 years…

This amazing journey of radio to evolve into a powerful medium started on 6 July 1999, when the Government of India decided to allow private players to enter the FM broadcasting sector. The industry set off in 2001 on a schizophrenic growth path, with Radio City being the first private FM brand to be launched on 3 July 2001 and other players soon following suit.

Radio City in its decadal year has indeed come a long way from its inception, today it is a large national brand with second highest reach and revenues in its markets. With over 20 mn deeply engaged listeners, it has managed to create a strong brand equity amongst consumers (2nd highest reach as per IRS),  advertiser and media fraternity (most preferred FM network in BrandoMeter Pitch report).

As an organization we have worked hard at developing a professional and engaging culture leading us to win an award for one of the best places to work in the M&E industry, as per the �Great Places to Work 2011' survey. As a stand alone media organization which is not a part of any media conglomerate, these milestones are truly rewarding and we hope to build further and maximize our shareholders, consumers and employees value.

Impediments to radio's growth in the decade…

The radio industry has managed to overcome all insurmountable challenges it has faced throughout its journey. It has been controlled rigidly, subjugated to the vagaries of changing policies and backward looking regulations but has still managed to find its place in the sun.

Clearly the biggest challenge for the industry was regulatory It is the only medium that was hugely restricted in terms of content, multiple frequencies and FDI limitations which stifled and shackled the growth of the medium. The back breaking music royalty payments were also a huge challenge for us.

Of course all these things are now in the past. With the Copyright Board judgment of 25 Aug 2010 and the Bombay High Court judgment on IPRS on 25 July 2011, the royalty issue has been resolved. The Phase-III policy too has lifted many restrictions on the industry and we look forward to a new resurgence.

Phase-III will tap radio into the booming economy of M&E industry…

Multiple frequencies and news availability will give the medium variety, depth and richness in content which will further fuel its reach and hence its revenues. With multiple frequency ownership, operators including us will have the ability to provide alternate genres to listeners. Equally, the expansion to so many more cities will fuel its reach dramatically. Certainly, we are looking at both width and depth of expansion through Phase-III.

USP of radio among the other mediums of entertainment is…

I think the ability to become the voice of the common man, wherein he could both listen and share his daily life, happiness, issues with the RJs and others is the biggest USP of radio.

Advertising on radio is cost-effective, easily modifiable and impacts a larger audience…

Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that radio has the ability to impact millions of Indians due to its wide coverage and personal connect. Radio has certainly seen robust growth as a medium for marketing and advertising.

It is true that the size of the radio industry is just four percent of the total advertising pie and internationally it is 8-12 percent. So, there is no doubt that less than half the potential of the radio has got exploited.

Also the recently announced Phase-III policy with its plan of expansion to 300 cities will certainly give a much needed impetus to the medium to grow in both reach and revenues.

Radio City's list of ingredients for success is…

In nine of our fifteen cities we are on top so I think we have done a good job. My personal opinion for this is anyone who keeps on looking at the competitor has no unique strategy. We also lay a lot of stress on consistency of output, therefore quality management of programming and a lot of effort to build long term employee equations through great HR practices is what keeps us on top. Finally, it is the relationships we have built over these many years with employees, listeners and advertisers which are the bedrock of our success.

FM Radio in the next five years…

With Phase-III, FM radio will become a pan Indian medium available in close to 300 cities. I am clearly seeing a further interest in national advertisers who want to maximize reach as well as local advertisers for whom the medium was not available so far. Soon close to 20,000 more advertisers at the local level are going to be able to use this medium, so I see a paradigm shift in the local to national advertiser ratio which hitherto has been skewed in favour of national advertisers.

Again huge number of new listeners are going to

get exposed to the fresh and vibrant medium in the smaller cities. FMs growth today is happening in a highly digital environment and I see both media working closely together whether it is in terms of marketing, content sharing or both being used as distribution vehicles. So we have with a web radio which works in a complementary fashion with our terrestrial stations.

We will see yet another decade of exponential growth for the medium and that is clearly something to look forward to for the entire industry.