Industry gears up for India Radio Forum 2012

21 May,2012

By A Correspondent


It is that time of the year, when radio players across the country meet to discuss issues pertaining to the industry, listen to ideas from advertisers and agencies, celebrate creativity in radio advertising and commemorate the medium itself. The seventh edition of India Radio Forum (IRF), organized by Partners in Media Asia (PIM), will be held on May 22 at JW Marriot Hotel in Mumbai.


Amitabh Srivastava, Country Manager – South Asia, Radio Netherlands Worldwide who has been attending the IRF since the last four years and plans to do so this year, explained that radio is still at a nascent stage, thus such forums on radio are good for the industry as it discusses critical issues, it provides a good platform for all stakeholders, and in the long run, such forum on radio will benefit the industry. He further said that in the last four years that he has attended the annual event, he observed that IRF has ensured that every stakeholder participates in the event. He also said that smaller stations have been given their due weightage and their issues have also been discussed at various events.


George Sebastian, COO, Club FM and GM Marketing, Mathrubhumi and Ravindran Nair, Director Programmes, Radio Mango would also be among the attendees at IRF 2012. When asked whether smaller stations have been isolated at the IRF this year, Mr Sebastian said that he has been attending the IRF since its inception and found that even the issues of smaller stations are addressed at the IRF. “IRF used to be a full day event, now it has been reduced to a little more than a half day. This is the only regret I have towards IRF. Such events most certainly benefit the industry, particularly the awards which recognizes good talents.”


Mr Nair of Radio Mango said: “IRF helps maintain the vitality of radio stations, it gives one insights into how radio has developed in other parts of the world; it also provides ideas and new ways to monitise contents as well as gives us the client perspective about the medium. The only irony, however, is that the IRF has been reduced from a two day event to merely one day.”


Unlike previous years, Mr Naval Toshniwal, CEO Tomato FM and Vice President, Pudhari Publications will not be attending the IRF this year. Ms Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Joint Managing Director at Eastern Media Ltd is also among the few industry veterans who would not be attending the IRF this year for personal reasons.


Speaking to MxMIndia, Ms Patnaik was of the view that such forums do benefit the industry as it helps one learn from each other, helps find solutions to overcome issues and challenges, provides creative ideas and that awards also contribute in a bigger way in recognizing ones creative talents.


Another industry player who did not wish to be mentioned was of the view that such events do help the industry positively, however, it all depends on implementing the lessons learnt from the various presentations made and panel discussions. “IRF is a good forum, but the industry must learn to implement what is discussed at such events, which has not happened so far. There has to be an action plan to implement all that is discussed at such events, only then will we see the industry grow even further.”


Anurradha Prasad, President of Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI) and Chairperson cum Managing Director, B.A.G Network will also not be able to attend the IRF this year due to prior commitments. She, however, added that right now everything boils down to the passage of the Copyright Bill in the Lok Sabha. It has already been passed in the Upper House (Rajya Sabha), and once it is passed in the Lower House (Lok Sabha) too, and becomes law, it will significantly improve the growth of the Indian radio industry.


The speakers list at IRF 2012 comprises of industry veterans not only from the radio industry, but also advertisers, and veterans from the creative and media agencies. IRF 2012 will kick-start with the CEO Roundtable, wherein industry biggies will discuss the current strength and weaknesses of the radio industry, and strategic options to improve the business and their vision for the industry in the coming three years. The panelists will include Apurva Purohit, CEO, Radio City; B Surendar, Sr. VP & National Sales Head, Red FM; Harrish Bhatia, CEO, My FM; Harshad Jain, Business Head, Fever FM; Joy Chakraborthy, CEO, Oye FM; Prashant Panday, CEO, Radio Mirchi and Rabe Iyer, Business Head, Big FM. This session will be moderated by Atul Phadnis, CEO, What’s-On-India.


The second session at the forum – ‘It’s the Message, not the Medium: Growing your Advertising Revenues,’ will delve on important creative attributes that make radio commercials more effective and the unique qualities of radio as an advertising medium. Jason Brownlee, Founder, Dollywagon Media Sciences will be the speaker of this session.


Another interesting session at this year’s IRF is ‘Radio and Social Media’, a panel discussion on the effect of social media on the listeners and the radio industry. This session will be moderated by Suman Srivastava, Founder & Innovation Artist, Marketing Unplugged. The panelists of this session include Premjeet Sodhi, COO, Lintas Media Group; Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors – Viacom18; Satbir Singh, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Euro RSCG; and Tushar Vyas, Managing Partner, GroupM South Asia.


There will also be a session on ‘Maximising Radio’s Asset: How to Gain Share of Market Spend’. This session will be moderated by Apurva Purohit, CEO,RadioCity. The panel members are Ajit Varghese, Managing Director – South Asia, Maxus and Motivator; Arpita Menon, Head – Media Planning & Buying, STAR TV; and Shubha George, COO, MEC. This session aims to provide the client point of view and that of media planners and buyers on radio’s critical role in meeting market challenges and opportunity it presents in achieving a better ROI and sales goals.


‘The Radio Pitch Challenge’, the last session just before the 2012 ‘Excellence in Radio Awards’, will see planning teams from media agencies invited to pitch a compelling and effective presentation to the judges. Each team will talk about a product or service in five minutes or less. They will present 16 slides with only 15 seconds per slide, ending with a radio promo not more than a minute long. The winning team will be awarded two tickets worth over Rs1,00,000 to the 2012 Singapore Formula1 Grand Prix.

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