FM stations go for out-of-the-box content

17 Nov,2011

By Robin Thomas


Often criticized for airing uniform content across channels, FM radio stations have already begun exploring content that goes beyond just regular Bollywood music. Unlike print, television or the internet, radio in India continues to be a highly regulated medium. Contents across various radio channels are restricted to music, though multiple frequencies if allowed by the government is likely to change this. News on FM radio has already been given a nod by the government of India, but not everyone in the industry is chuffed about this development as it restricts news to be sourced only via AIR (All India Radio).


Nisha Narayanan

Meanwhile, even as the ups and downs over restrictions continue, FM stations are leaving no stone unturned to offer their listeners out-of-the-box content, each station wanting to sound different from the other. Fever FM for instance, has a mythological show, ‘Ramayan’ with huge fanfare and ‘From Russia with Love’, an infotainment programme. Radio Mirchi airs ‘Sunday Suspense’ in Kolkata, wherein the RJ (Radio Jockey) narrates stories written by authors like Satyajit Ray, Saradindu Bandhopadhyay among many others. Red FM on the other hand initiated shows like ‘Red Arrest’ and ‘The Mental Show’ in Delhi and Mumbai respectively.


Ms Nisha Narayanan, Senior VP Projects & Programming, Red FM said, “Red is known for innovative programming. In the present, the two most innovative program initiatives are ‘Red Arrest’ in Delhi and ‘The Mental Show’ in Mumbai with Suresh and Hoezay. The treatment of both is edgy, humorous, shocking, tongue-in-cheek, and the response has been phenomenal. They both have been the talking point of Delhi and Mumbai Stations respectively and have gained tremendous traction. The mails , calls , responses have been consistently pouring in – and it’s not a surprise!”


Mr Sriram Kilambi, Marketing Head, Radio Mirchi stated, “Sunday Suspense is an amazing show in Kolkata. It is produced in-house by our Mirchi Team in Kolkata. The show has many firsts to its credit – being the first in its genre – and has been supremely well received. The show is targeted at the general Kolkata public who is afraid that the current generation will start to lose touch with Bengali literature. This show has been one of our biggest successes thus far.


Sunil Kumar

“Sunday Music Company on the other hand is a show in Mumbai that basically talks to those behind the music of the latest release. So, while you get a lot of movie reviews, this is a one-of-a-kind music review that tells you about the music, its makers etc. Sundays have been very strong for Radio Mirchi, largely thanks to innovative shows like the SMC.” he added.


According to Mr Sunil Kumar, MD, Big River Radio, “FM stations have experimented a lot with music content, and they are doing a good job by offering differentiated content within music itself. Today listeners are able to identify their favourite FM stations and very soon there will be further differentiation in content, with or without regulations.”


Ashish Pherwani

Mr Ashish Pherwani, Associate Director, Media & Entertainment, Ernst & Young observed, “Content innovation in FM radio still has a long way to go, as currently every other FM station is plays popular music with little bits of innovation here and there. I believe content innovations will actually happen once multiple frequencies are allowed which is likely to happen in phase III.”

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