| 09 Feb 2023
Radio Mango director programmes Ravi Nair - We plan to promote more artistes and bands in the coming year

Having earned the distinction of being Kerala's first private FM station,
Radio Mango, started by Malayala Manorama is focused on capturing the Kochi market. Providing listeners with a local music flavour, Radio Mango has created a niche for itself in Kannur, Kozhikode and Trichur. Radio Mango director programmes Ravi Nair discusses about the station's new initiatives, listenership patterns and expansion plans in Kochi in conversation with's Anita Iyer.


As Radio Mango was the first private FM radio station in Kerala, how difficult was it to introduce the concept to audiences?

There was private FM culture prevailing in the rest of India but it was an alien concept in Kerala. We had to create awareness about what a FM station is all about and we used the Malayala Manorama publication platform to spread word about the upcoming radio station. Finding RJs was also a challenge because it was an entirely new concept here, so we had RJ talent hunts and then had to provide intensive training before they went on air. We started our first station in Kozhikode followed by Trichur, Kannur and
Kochi being the latest to join the bandwagon. Today, if we look back, the concept of introducing FM in Kerala was not as challenging as we thought it would be!

Regional content seems to be the priority for all radio stations. Is it the same for Radio Mango?

Majority of the content we play consists of Malayalam film music which has mass takers in Kerala. If we divide the content, Malayalam film music might form as much as 50 per cent followed by 20 per cent Hindi and 20 per cent Tamil each, with 10 per cent of others.

Are there any problems when it comes to obtaining musical content for your radio station?

We normally do not have trouble when it comes to acquiring content as we have our own music wing 'Malayalam Music' which deals with acquiring content for Radio Mango. Also, we are on good terms with the SIMCA and have tied up with PPL, Big Music and Yash Raj for regional and Bollywood content.

Is Mango also bogged down by music royalty issues?

We have no issues with royalties because we believe that SIMCA and radio stations must go hand in hand rather than throttle each other. Also, I believe the south scene is better than the north, where there are royalties and content acquiring issues.

Where does Radio Mango stand in the market traditionally dominated by AIR?

In Kannur, there are four private FM stations and AIR and research proves that we are number one by a large margin. In Kozhikode, AIR topped the list but the latest research show that Radio Mango and other private stations are in the top and AIR occupies the third place. In Trichur, again Radio Mango is number one and AIR occupies the second position. The masses are getting used to private FM now and AIR is taking a backstage.

How is the response of local advertisers to your radio station?

We have a mixed bag of ads consisting of both national and local retailers consisting of telecom operators, FMCGs among others. We are still in the brand building phase and had planned to go fully commercial only from last month, so it is too early to weigh things now.

Is there a specific listenership pattern that you have seen for Radio Mango?

As we have no RAM (Radio Audience Measurement) here, IMRB provides us with a
lot of insights about the listenership pattern. The listenership pattern of Radio Mango seems to be like the normal one where more listeners are tuned in during the mornings with a bump in the afternoon and low in the late evenings when TV reality shows rule the roost. Our focus now seems to be targeting the listeners in these descending listenership phases.

Expect for music, what else is on offer on Radio Mango?

Music occupies most of our air time but apart from it we have segments about the latest happenings around the city, several kinds of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and PSA (Public Service Announcements) based features. Our main goal to give an entertaining twist to all our content.

After promoting Malayali band Avial, any plans to promote any other local bands?

There is still no market for non filmi music and bands in Kannur, Kozhikode but Kochi seems promising. Promoting Avial was a huge success for us and recently we promoted Raghu Dixit's new album too. We are planning to promote few more artistes and bands in the coming year.

Does radio Mango plan to come with a musical talent hunt to discover original music?

We are hosting a new talent hunt show "Naatiley Taaram" which will conclude on 4 June. Radio Mango's studio van will travel to 800 panchayats touching over 200 centres in Kerala recording the video and audio of the auditions. The top 10 finalists will cut an album composed by top five music directors in Kerala music industry under the Malayala Music label. In the end, two singers, male and a female will be declared winners.

How is the revenue flow from all the stations? Which stations is doing well?

We are still in the nascent stage and cannot claim to be making huge profits. But revenue wise, Trichur is doing well and we have garnered a good listenership base from here. Apart from that, the upcoming Kochi station seems promising and will do better than the existing ones.

Does radio Mango have any transmission or frequency problems?

Almost all the radio stations in Kerala seem to be facing transmission and frequency problems. The problem persists because the distance between cities is too less and radio signals tend to overlap. Radio Mango along with other radio stations has planned to approach the government about the frequency problem.

What is the next big thing for Radio Mango?

The RJs on air are doing pretty good so we are not planning to include any new RJs on board. We have good brand equity in the market and are still in the growing phase and need to give little more time before thinking about profit making.

The Kochi radio station seems to be grabbing all your attention at the moment?

The market in Kochi is very different and challenging from the existing one. Kochi is a cosmopolitan centre so we will have different content; we might push more of Bollywood, Non- filmi and also English music as there are takers for such music in Kochi. But our focus on Kochi doesn't mean that we would be neglecting our other stations.