Nisha Narayanan, Senior Vice-President - Programming & Projects, 93.5 Red FM
Red FM has been taken to the streets of smaller towns as well. How difficult is it to maintain the same level of quality in Tier 1 & Tier 3 locations?
Initially we existed as SFM / Suryan with around 45 stations set up from Jamshedpur to Shillong and Warangal, Rajkot, Nagpur et al. It has been very challenging to understand the nuances of each local city and overall as a network, Red FM has been local in nature by reflecting the ethos and flavour of the city. The challenge actually lies in the fact that the same quality of being present in the metros has to transcend to other cities as well. Since the re-launch as Red FM, there is a lot more synergy now in the process of consolidation and moving ahead.

Your experience in the radio industry spans more than a decade. How has the industry evolved in these many years?
I have actually been around for close to two decades in the radio industry. Since the time of All India Radio alone, a lot has evolved in the radio space in terms of commercial space. Initially, individual radio stations had to air programmes for a few hours on AIR by buying commercial air time. Then came Phase I of commercial FM and then Phase 2 opened up the radio spectrum to a wide range of around 91 cities all over India. In Phase 3, radio should see a huge evolvement with 700 licenses and the smaller towns covering at least 60% of population that is exposed to the radio. Earlier, the radio was always disregarded. However now, with the setting up of stations in Phase 2 and Internet radio, campus radio and community radio coming of age, the medium has come to be regarded by all as a serious medium. We now even have an industry body to take up the Radio issues with the Government. The radio is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14% from 2010 to 2014. Further to that, it is also being looked up as an advertising option. Unfortunately, policy restrictions are still a hindrance. It must be more flexible to FDI, news & current affairs, networking, multiplicity in programming which is being looked at for Phase 3.

From ‘Aap ki farmaish’ to ‘Malishka ke jassos’, how has programming evolved at Red FM?
From the early days of ‘Asli Masti’ to ‘Bajaate Raho’, brand Red FM has seen a transformation which holds great significance in the way radio is being perceived today. Through the years, Red FM has been one of the most consistent brands in the industry, be it its music policy of playing only contemporary hits, or its ‘Bajaate Raho’ attitude. Through its innovative promotions, Red FM has been able to strike a chord with the listeners and establish itself as one of the most differentiated brands in the industry today.

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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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