Red FM
What makes 93.5 red FM one of the most preferred radio channels on air today? and what are the issues bothering its management team?
19 years back, any plebeian in India who’d turn on the radio, would sing to the tunes of one channel - the All India Radio (AIR). It was the business and life for all radio listeners. The opening up of radio waves resulted in private FM channels taking up the lead in the FM space in no time over AIR.

And there are some that outshone the majority. If one were to mention the favourites amidst a host of radio channels, 93.5 Red FM would be one of the chosen few amongst the top three. Flagged off in 2003, the radio station now has the reputation of being one of India’s most contemporary music stations. Red FM has taken full advantage of the fact that most radio stations have done little to stand out amidst the clutter; differentiation in program content has been key.

Red FM’s ‘bajate raho’ attitude has been key to the marketing. B. Surender, Senior Vice-President and National Sales Head, 93.5 Red FM tells 4Ps B&M, “Initially, Red FM was present only in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, and 46 other stations across as many locations, were known by the name SFM. Once we decided to re-brand all 49 stations as Red FM, we came up with the ‘Bajate Raho’ concept, which worked magic for us. It appeals to the youth, explaining Red FM’s fan following amongst teenagers...”

The concept has two elements. One is the functional element, which involves playing super-hit and contemporary music round the clock. The other is the emotional element. Adds Surender, “We call it the emotional element because people actually connect to it. Moreover, this emotional element is also what differentiates us from other radio stations.”

Everything that is happening with the channel is a deliberate attempt to capitalise on gen-next. About two months back, Red FM repositioned itself as ‘Aaj ke zamaane ka radio station and not baap ke zamaane ka’. The move explained Red FM’s newly discovered positioning strategy without a doubt. Says Nisha Narayanan, Senior Vice-President - Programming & Projects, RED FM, “Through our innovative promotions on and off-air, Red FM has been able to strike the right chord with its listeners and has established itself as one of the most differentiated brands in the Indian radio industry.”

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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