| 17 Jun 2024
Radio One is not a mass station : Anita Naidu Pawaskar

MUMBAI: Radio in India has been dominated by bollywood music with leading players following the music format over the years. While many stations experimented with differentiated content, Radio One took the risk by changing its format completely to an international station.

The station has a long history of experimentation as before it turned international, it was a pure bollywood station with Hindi music content. And years before that, it was 92.5 Go FM an international music station yet again.

Since its re-launch this year, the response received by audience has affirmed that the risk has paid off positively, claims Radio One programming head Anita Naidu Pawaskar. “The station now focuses a lot on people management and what is going to be delivered on-air. If you see our sales team, it’s an amazing change. The way we have now changed, the way they perceive it and the way the clients are responding is brilliant. Like earlier there were premium clients who never opened their doors and advertised on radio. Today they are saying you are my target audience and they want to advertise with us.”

When the station started off initially with its new format, a lot of people were skeptical about its differentiated English content  amongst the bollywood dominated radio stations.

Pawaskar says, “Everyone had their own reasons to say that we don’t have an audience or it’s not the kind of target audience that you would be looking for. But we went with our gut instincts and thought that an international radio station was something that has been missing in the city for a long time. Everybody wanted to hear it but nobody was giving it to them so we wanted to be different, change that attitude and so we came out with this international format.”

The team currently consists of three main jocks – RJ Hrishikesh Kannan aka Hrishi K, Erica D'Souza and Pawaskar who host a large chunk of the day with five hour blocks each. Amongst the major stations today bollywood music is largely divided into ghazals, religious and film music while English music caters to several genres of different artistes like Pink Floyd or Michael Jackson.

“We play English music that you were listening to before and now you are getting it back through our station. In the morning we have tracks from the 80s, in the afternoon it’s more towards the 90s and 2000s with some current tracks and as we go into the evening the music is latest and current. If you want to go into genre specific, we have that in our night band which is music express where we have retro pop, love, rock Wednesday and also an independent platform where we call in independent Indian bands that perform on the show and we play music from other bands as well. On Friday, we have party music while Saturday and Sunday goes into club and blues. The best part is that the music is so fresh that we don’t try to repeat songs like in general bollywood stations,” she asserts.

Besides set of programmes hosted by RJs, the station also host ‘American top 40 with Ryan Seacrest’.

However, the radio station does not score well on the Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) charts, the only measurement tool in the country for radio stations. Pawaskar claims, “We are not a mass station at all. We have a niche audience and from where we started to now, the station has grown by leaps and bounds. If at all we are measured by RAM we don’t know what audience measurement it would be taking since we are a differentiated station it would be very difficult to compare us to a bollywood station.”

The station states that it does follow RAM, and instead focuses on internal researches conducted by the management that gives an update on the number and kind of listeners it has.