Would ‘Kolaveri Di’ have been a rage if it was only aired on FM?

01 Dec,2011

By Robin Thomas


Already a huge hit online, with more than 94 lakh views on YouTube, and more than 46,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook, ‘Why this Kolaveri Di’, a Tamil-English song promoting the Tamil film ‘3’, has become a national rage. The song became so popular online that it was instantly picked up by FM stations across the country irrespective of their language. The Chennai station of Big FM and Radio Mirchi however claim to have aired the song first on radio and that the song was heavily promoted on radio even before it became a craze online.


According to a Big FM spokesperson, “The song is a rage – both nationally and internationally. Big FM premiered the song at our Chennai station with the musicians, following which it went on YouTube. It was the power of the product – lyrics and music that made it a hit! Radio today, has a key role to play in marketing and creating viral music, and in this case too, it worked! We played the song, across our stations in its Tamil-English version.”


So, would the song would have created a similar sensation had it been aired only on FM radio? While there are those in the industry who believe that radio has the power and the reach to create a huge sensation, there is a section in the FM radio sector that are of the view that a ‘Kolaveri Di’ kind of national rage was only possible through Facebook and YouTube, as radio is more city/ town or even state-oriented.


Vehrnon Ibrahim, National Programming Head, Oye! FM

Vehrnon Ibrahim, National Programming Head, Oye! FM said, “I doubt the song would have been a huge sensation on air (radio) as compared to the craze online. We started playing this song only after it became a huge sensation on the social networking sites. It’s quite an entertaining song, a very filmy story, and we cover all that is filmy or entertaining. We are therefore following the story and not the song.”


Kartik Kalla, National Programming Director, Radio City said, “Yes of course radio would have created such a rage. After all it’s the same person who tunes in to FM and online so whether radio airs it first or after two days is immaterial.”


“We have a very robust policy where songs are tested with the listeners before being put on air. But honestly with Koleveri Di that was not required because it has broken all kinds of records online and you certainly can’t ignore that!” he added.


Ravindran Nair, Director Programmes, Radio Mango

Ravindran Nair, Director Programmes, Radio Mango, also believes that the song would have been a huge sensation had it been aired first on radio. “Definitely it would have been a hit. Radio has done similar things very successfully. In our case, a song from an album “Coffee on MG road” called “Palavattam” by actor/director/singer Vineeth Srinivasan became huge with radio airplay. Social media has become a part of marketing mix for most products and films and music will be no exception” he explained.


On a different note, Shaan Menon, Manager Content CLUB FM stated, “I don’t think the song would have been such a rage had it been aired on radio first, it is all because of YouTube or Facebook. Just like Kolaveri, any radio link or radio creative such as a promo or an interview bite can also become viral. It’s unpredictable, but will happen for sure. These days, the internet is the first testing platform for any creative product. So, a product getting well sold on the internet is undoubtedly the choice of the masses! Social Network helps us to extend the reach of our product to more number of people.”


He further said, “Radio is confined to a city or a state or to a nation, the possibilities for a Channel to fly high taking the flight of a social networking site is a huge positive sign. Radio is a medium which plays the right taste of the people. It’s just like his favourite restaurant where the listener gets his favourite food.”


Some of the FM stations playing the ‘Kolaveri Di’ song are Radio Mirchi, Red FM, Big FM, Radio City, Oye! FM; Club FM, Radio Mango, Radio Hello and Radio Choklate.


Of course the frequency of the song is pretty high among the south-based FM stations, particularly those in Chennai. The frequency of the song played on the Big FM Chennai station is also said to be very high as compared to its stations in other parts of the country. According to Radio Hello’s website, ‘Kolaveri Di’ has already become the top most popular song in its ‘Top 10 songs for this week’ list. Club FM, a Mathrubhumi initiative, used to play this song for 16 hours a day with a special promo along with it; Radio Mango, another FM station in Kerala, a Malayala Manorama initiative, used to play this song twice per hour, with heavy rotation. Radio City plays this song three to four times a day across their 20 stations whereas Oye! FM plays it for 172 hours.


Interestingly, ‘Kolaveri Di’ is not the first song to have crossed language barriers among FM stations. Even earlier songs like, ‘Aika Dajiba’, a popular Marathi song; Tamil Song, ‘Apdi pode’ were played in various FM stations in the country irrespective of their language.

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