| 14 Jul 2024
Red FM's Anand Raj: Radio stations have become more focused

Private Radio stations are often criticised for sounding the same despite having different programming. Over the years, radio has grown by leaps and bounds, thus having a set of audiences that distinguishes them with one another, says Red FM national programming head Anand Raj in a conversation with Further more talks about various aspects of programming.


What kind of responses are you looking at through this year’s Red FM ‘Pothole Utsav’?

We have started the campaign recently and so far we have been getting encouraging responses. The campaign can only be evaluated once it ends. At this moment, it is important to raise the issues which affect the local audiences. Potholes affect Mumbaikars in more ways than one. As a station, it is our duty to raise the concerns of our listeners. The only difference here is that we bring in humour but simultaneously focus on the issue. We are an entertainment channel and anything and everything we do, we try to figure it out in a funny way.

In Mumbai, RJ Malishka is leading the campaign through her daily show ‘Morning No.1’ worshipping the potholes with garlands and agarbattis. The objective of Pothole Utsav is to make the civic authorities aware about the problems that bother Mumbaikars during the monsoon and making them accountable for the same.

We want people to take things in lightly but at the same time the authorities should take note about the things that happen here. After our last ‘Pothole Utsav’ campaign, we had see authorities repair the potholes. The campaign has won multiple awards both at the Golden Mikes and India Radio Forum this year.

Will you expand the campaign to other stations?

We did the same campaign in Pune last year. In case, there is no need in other networks will not do it. This year the situation is better but monsoon is still not over.

How important is it to have an on-ground activity like making an RJ going out worshipping the potholes with garlands and incense-sticks?

It is important to have on-ground activity for the simple reason so that brands can have a touch and feel experience, which otherwise is just a voice. You meet people and involve them, thus the impact is much higher.

How important is it to change the programming of the stations? (very often)

We are local in all cities and stick to it. It is important for local issues to be raised or brought to the notice of the authority.

How important is it to sound same in all stations under one network?

The ethos remains the same but the tonality differs and changes from city to city. We take into consideration the local sensibility, before us creating any communication. The basic belief continues to be the same.

If the situation arises then we change the programming. Our programming is the same on a daily basis, as we do not constantly change. We only change our programming based on the understanding that the city has changed.

What are the other programs that you are planning on?

It is an on-going process. You have to be very quick. There are no plans as such, but it is all about positioning of the brand in the city. We act according to the situation. In Gujarat, we will do the fifth season of ‘Red Raat’ and in Kolkata, we are doing the second season of ‘Kolkata ka Kona Kona’, and there were similar activities across the city as most of the campaigns are based around the situation.

All the cities need change so we introduce new campaigns. At the same time, we are cautious that we do not overdo it.

What are the changes have you seen as a radio professional?

Radio stations have become more focused; they understand their audiences better; they are not trying to do too many things; and they have their own set of parameters, in terms of content and music they play on-air. There was a time when all stations were doing everything. With growing number of channels, the stations will be more focused and specialised. These are the things that have emerged and they have started making programming according to their audiences.

What should be the focus of radio stations in terms of content?

It depends on the audiences. But music still continues to be the focus and building of content depends on the types of audiences you want to attract. Music remains constant. Everything depends on the audience-the tonality, the delivery style and the topic that you pick up, which happens even today.

Do you think Red FM will be able to add retro music to its playlist during the day?

Our audience profile is defined already so I do not think we will add retro elements in our programming.

Many private radio stations are active on web, so will we see you on the digital platform?

We have a plan for digital platform and we will very soon talk about it. We do not want to pre-maturely talk about our digital plans ones thing fall into place, we will gave a hint about it.