| 18 Jun 2024
Radio Mango GM Amit Mathew - Kerala has always had a very strong radio presence

The 35 year old Amit Mathew loves to maintain a low profile. Even as he has spent the last few years bringing up Radio Mango from scratch (Amit hails from the family that runs the Malayala Manorama group of publications which floated Mango), he prefers to let the station do the talk for him. Kochi, Trichur, Calicut and Kannur have had a taste of Mango - the station was the first of the private players to hit the airwaves in Kerala) - and phase III beckons. But Mathew, general manager of the network, would rather let time have its way. In a short interview, he lets peel off a few of Mango's veneers to allow a peek into its vision.

Excerpts -

How has the journey for Mango FM been since inception?

Before our launch, we had certain milestones that we wanted to achieve, and we have managed to achieve most of them. We are still in the learning process and taking each day at a time.

What's the roadmap like for the station in 2010? Which are the new online and offline initiatives you have planned?

Radio operators face certain issues that need to be sorted out as soon as possible with those concerned. And then of course, Phase-III is apparently going to be launched sometime this year. We will need to wait for that and see what the proposal will be. Our website is currently being revamped and should be launched in a short while.

Are you also looking at expanding the Mango team?

Not immediately.

Your creatives have been awarded at IRF 2009 and NYF the year earlier. Do you have a specialised focus on your creatives?

Getting recognized by way of awards is of course very encouraging for Radio Mango as a whole  However, we have never and will never plan our programming with this aim in mind. Our programmes are focused on listeners, thereby giving advertisers value for the money spent.

Initially, when FM was introduced in Kerala, you had to educate people to tune into FM frequencies. Now with many FM players having launched their stations, how difficult is it for keep listeners tuned into a frequency?

Kerala has always had a very strong radio presence. So private FM stations only helped to significantly expand this already existing market. Hence there was not much education as such to be done.

All FM stations in Kerala were launched around the same time. Of course, the market grew and continues to do so. Keeping listeners tuned in is a question of understanding the listener's perception of what great radio should sound like. Fortunately, there is not much station surfing that takes place in radio 

Have advertisers woken up to radio in Kerala?

I think most advertisers who used radio in Kerala find there is immense value for their money  All of us in the medium should continue to educate more and more advertisers about the medium and once they've tried it, we hope they would continue to use it.

Did recession adversely affect your advertising inventory? Have the recession blues moved out of the southern markets?

Recession, fortunately, did not affect our advertising inventory by too much.

Would you consider marketing alliances or sales tie ups with national FM radio players for getting national corporate advertisers on board?

Currently we have no such tie-ups, but we will always be open if the need arises and the terms are mutually agreeable.

Do you find it difficult to scout talent in interiors and then retaining them?

Fortunately, we have managed to find naturally talented, young and eager professionals in all our departments and we continue to come across such talents. Yes, like any industry there is churn, but nothing to get alarmed about.

Would Mango FM consider venturing outside Kerala in Phase III or is your priority to have a presence only in cities with backing from your print parent company?

As a policy, we do our best to get all our new initiatives to stand on their own feet as soon as possible  The same is the case with Radio Mango  As far as venturing outside Kerala and Phase-III are concerned, we have made no concrete plans yet.