| 23 Mar 2023
B Surendar: "South was always an excellent market for FM radio"

To drive the already robust south Indian market, Red FM recently appointed Balakrishnan Surendar as the chief operating officer-south. Offering more than nine years of service puts him in a strong and right position to carry on his vision for his station and the radio industry as well.

Before, he moved to Red FM’s head office in Chennai with more responsibilities and powers; Surendar was based in Delhi as the senior vice-president and national sales head. Even as he plans to strengthen southern market; he aims to satisfy the ever growing expectations of listeners and advertisers be it national or local. In a conversation with, Surendar envisages radio as a strong medium and firmly aims to promote the medium with his best skills.


How challenging is the new responsibility of chief operating officer (South stations) Red FM?

With two powerful brands Red FM and Suryan FM, geographical coverage which is more than double compared to others (22 stations in all) and a dominant leadership position and perception across all four states, we are the strongest among the radio players in South India. Hence, the role of a COO is bound to be challenging but very engaging.  I hope to grow further in this new role and contribute to the growth of this great organization.

How are you planning to explore this new responsibility for the growth of Red FM?

Intense and strategic focus on the most powerful region for radio business in India with a clear objective to optimize the potential for our organization’s benefit and for the benefit of all our valuable customers across the country is my key task.

How different is operating in south?

Right from the word go, South proved to be an excellent market for FM radio industry. But the growth seems to have picked up further momentum in the last 2-3 years. Both listeners and advertisers have taken to the medium very well here. The biggest strength is the buying power of people in south which is directly linked to the tremendous progress made by this region on the socio-economic front over the last few decades. So, it is not at all surprising that the top advertising categories like FMCG, Telecom, Retail, etc spend their maximum here.

What is your vision for the company?

We as an organization should play a pivotal role in satisfying the ever growing expectations of listeners on entertainment adapting well to their changing lifestyles and preferences. We should play a parallel partnership role in enhancing the business of national as well as local advertisers and as a very responsible medium, help them exploit their full potential by providing them 360 degree solutions.

What have you planned to focus on - growth through revenue or listenership?

It goes without saying that both these growth areas are important and inter connected. One cannot afford to focus on only one of them without the other.

What per cent growth have you planned for south in regards to revenue and listenership?

As a true market leader, our main role would be to try and grow radio as a medium rather than focus only on our company’s growth. The main objective should be to grow the overall radio pie both in terms listenership and revenue vis-?-vis other mediums. If we manage to do that successfully, our company’s reach and revenues will grow automatically.

Which are the new markets and areas that you have planned to tap in?

With Phase III expansion on the anvil, there is a huge potential to tap newer geographical markets. If things go right, we hope to capitalize on this new opportunity for radio in a big way and lead from the front. Digital and events are the other key areas identified for bigger focus.

Any major changes that you hope to bring in south stations?

When you have a winning formula in hand in most markets , the whole idea is not to tamper with it but to consolidate and work on only those  stations which require further improvement . For example, recently in Bangalore station we had made some important changes in our content and have gained out of it. 

I hope to take forward the huge strengths that we possess as a network in the powerful South region already and will surely do my bit to build on it even further.