One Big Idea by B Surendar: Need a RAB-like initiative to evangelize radio

20 Feb,2013

By B. Surendar, Senior Vice President & National Sales Head, Red FM 93.5


What sense does it make to identify the ‘one big idea’ that can elevate the future prospects of FM radio industry in India if we cannot first relate to the one big problem that’s holding it’s pace of growth?


Factors going in favour of FM radio:

• The ever increasing mobile penetration which has already surpassed 70 crore out of an estimated population of 120 crore in India means a lot to FM radio which is being demanded as a basic feature on mobile handsets, which in turn have already replaced the traditional radio sets as the primary mode of listening.

• The unique concept of ‘drive time audience’ uncovered through the medium of radio combined with the automobile industry boom here.

• The love and affinity of youth to FM radio in a country with the youngest youth population.


No wonder, radio penetration is said have jumped from 59% to 77% of the population in the four leading metros Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, leaving the powerful print media behind in sheer reach already.


The question that arises is – Why is radio’s share only around 4% of the ad pie when the international average is much higher and what should the industry players do to get a more deserving share?


How can FM radio effectively compete with emerging media like digital and old but vulnerable media like print for a decent share of mindspace and budget of the advertisers


That brings us to the ‘one big idea’ for the growth of this medium.


Radio players will have to pool their resources and launch a RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) kind of initiative in India on the same lines as that undertaken by countries like the USA, UK, South Africa, etc to evangelize this amazing medium.


The key objectives:

• To enhance the perception of radio as a primary medium for advertising

• To make radio a easier medium for marketers & ad agencies to buy and capture value

• To promote the innumerable positives of the medium like the spell it has on youth; superior mood enhancing ability as compared to other popular media; captive & upwardly mobile car audience it provides; embedded ability to innovate,; minimal ad avoidance which is so badly required to target certain not-so-spicy product categories like BFSI, Health, etc; synergising effect with new media platforms like digital, mobile and BTL; media multiplier effect with traditional mass media like TV & newspapers; ability to reach affluent audience; uncluttered aural route to the buyer’s mind; high reach, frequency & time spent and last but not the least; low turnaround time required and the terrific value for money solutions that it offers.


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