[MxM Radio] I don’t see news as a game changer: Naval Toshniwal, Tomato FM

24 Feb,2012


In addition to this, the government has also allowed multiple frequencies but, in such a scenario when several radio channels are bleeding, I wonder how many radio stations will actually go out and experiment with new channels in different genres that too in the same city. It will perhaps be a handful of national players that are keen to participate in multiple frequencies.


Q: In phase III would you look at further expanding in Maharashtra or will you prefer to explore markets in other parts of the country?

We are a Marathi radio channel and therefore we will focus only on Marathi speaking regions which is Maharashtra and Belgaum.


Q: For news, do you have the infrastructure in place? Have you created a separate studio or hired new talents? How are you getting ready for news on FM?

News on private radio stations will only be sourced from Prasar Bharati which is a big drawback because there will be no differentiating factor between radio stations. Therefore I don’t see it as a game changer for radio. It is a good development no doubt, but at this stage it will not be a game changer for the industry. As of now we are not making any special arrangement for news because I don’t think it will be required. However there is still more clarity required on the formatting on news. We still do not know in which format the news will be provided to us, perhaps after the official announcement is made we will be able to decide on the road ahead, nevertheless our present infrastructure is quite strong to incorporate news bulletins.


Q: What about the advertisers? How have the advertisers response been in Kolhapur and Sangli? Who are your key advertisers?

The response from local advertising has been good. Automobile dealers, jewellers, garment retailers’ co-operative societies and banks, sugar manufacturers, real estate categories, and even hospitals are some of the key advertising categories in Kolhapur and Sangli.


Q: What is the national and local advertising ratio for Tomato and Aaple FM?

It is 60:40 wherein 60 per cent revenues come from retail advertisers and 40 per cent revenues come from corporate advertisers.


Q: Is the radio industry overly dependent on advertisers? Is there any other source of revenue that can be explored?

There is no other source of revenues other than ad revenues. The advertiser can be in many forms, although the revenues are majorly coming from advertisers, the avenues to advertise with the medium have gone up because of the various activations, because of integrations, and also because of the print media. All these have helped us increase our revenues.


Q: What would you say are the key challenges facing the radio industry today?

There is no difficulty on the man power front, neither is there any operational problem. The biggest hurdle or the challenge for the industry I believe is the interference from the government and the handicaps they have put to various developmental proposals. If we want to make the medium successful we need freedom without which every radio channel will sound the same, we need differentiation in the medium and creating this differentiation is a challenge.


Q: What is the road ahead for radio? Where do you see this medium in few years?

I am very optimistic about the medium in the road ahead. Once phase III is rolled out radio as a medium will penetrate further like no other medium in the Country. Now the challenge is how to acquire serious listeners? Now the kind of listeners we have are non-serious listeners but, once we attract the serious listeners, radio will gain more importance against other medium. So the road ahead for radio is very bright.


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