We keep the customer at the centre.
Radio is a hyperlocal medium and can tap into the emotional connect of its audience especially through localization. We interviewed Mr. Rahul Namjoshi, Business Head, MY FM, about revamping of content in Gujarat and the future roadmap. Edited Excerpts:
It’s been 11 months since you’ve taken the role of Business Head. How was the experience? And, what has been your immediate focus upon taking the mantle?
This company has been set up by Harish and from day one we made sure that, MY FM is a customer centric organization, over the years we have developed a system and process which has helped us to become the leading radio station in our markets. From the first day, whatever we have done - be it the product, the advertisement, on-ground events, we have kept the customer at the centre. This is the key focus point for me and I’m pushing the legacy forward making it bigger.
Besides this, we focus on 3 key pillars.
Firstly, radio is primarily music. Majority of people who tune in do it for music. So, we put a lot of attention to it. We test each and every song before airing it. We conduct AMT research to understand the taste and preference of the city.
Secondly, it is the RJs. The content of the RJ is monitored and they are given proper training to deliver the message. Content without optimum delivery is of no use and vice versa.
Lastly, it is the overall sound of the station. Advertising is also information for the listener. So, the kind of ads, their quality, their content, all of it is crucial. We want the ad to be creative and hummable. The message should be delivered swiftly and clearly.
You have revamped the station in Gujarat with a changed content platter, new RJs, and more. What prompted this move? What was the roadmap for the revamp?
Gujarat is a critical market for us, we look at Gujarat in isolation. It is a vibrant and different state and people carry the essence of their culture with them. They are outgoing, exposed to the world, and well-travelled. They want a combination of both local culture and international flavor.
Gujarat is a mature radio market, private radio started back in 2001 there. When you’re in a market for almost a decade, the preferences and the choices change. We realized it and wanted to tap into it. So, we conducted a massive research across TG and age group on a sample of 2000 people. We understood the listeners wanted content that was modern and global but also rooted in their culture. They prefer entertainment which we call as plug in-plug out format, which is snackable and doesn’t require long listening
We have revamped the station completely and introduced new RJ’s and formats. Conducted massive AMT, tightened our playlist, introduced new sparkler in local language. The revamp happened in March- April this year, it’s been almost 6 months now and the response has been absolutely fantastic.
The first and only network to play Gujarati songs as part of regular playlist. The constant rise of Gujarati film music and playouts of Gujarati songs at various touch points clearly indicated the shift in listeners preference. From listeners and film industry lauded it as an iconic move.
We created humour properties for the region in Gujarati. We roped in Sairam Dave, a very popular comedian for a regional humour sparkler. Tamara Bhai is a female centric sparkler based on how females gossip about their husbands. Tamara Bhai is an expression which is specific to this part of the country.
We already had a few shows which are very popular, like Zindagi Express, a Gujarati story-telling show and is now in its 7th year. It is a storytelling show hosted by RJ Aarti. She does an exceptional job, since storytelling on radio is quite difficult. The show has been a favorite among listeners.
Not just the content revamp, in fact our 360 solutions team has created some iconic properties which clients have been more than happy to partner. To name a few, we did Jalsavaad – The Biggest Music and Entertainment Festival of Ahmedabad 4 Days, 9 Big Artist and more than 40 thousand people in attendance. This was the first time something like this was done by any Radio station in Ahmedabad.
So radio is not all fun for us. We do serious and meaningful work as well. For instance, real estate is a major category in the market. There is a lot of confusion in that space. So, we invited RERA chief of Gujarat and Maharashtra and hosted an event only for the builder fraternity. More than 300 builders attended, making it a success.
Any radio station which is doing such kind of activity is unheard of. I personally feel this has been a huge achievement for us.
We did another activity involving only women called the ‘pink concert.’ It had quizzes, jingles, popular singers and other activities. We specifically hosted it in the afternoon as most of our women TG are free at that time frame. It was again a success with more than 1000 participants.
How has been the response to this revamping?
We have received overwhelming response. Earlier, Radio was having a set format for them. So, when they got a different flavor they were happy and glad. Many filmstars have tweeted and texted, congratulating us on promoting Gujarat and its culture. Like in Rajkot, the station frequency is 94.3 and we announce it in the local language to establish a much deeper connect. It has been a huge hit with people even having the jingle as their ringtone!
No other channel was doing it. We grabbed the opportunity, became hyperlocal, and as a result our listenership has shot up.
Is a change in the ad rates in the plan?
Yes. In Ahmedabad we will increase our ad rates by 15% from November 1. This is the only way radio can grow. We want to maintain the experience for the listeners, so we will make the content better, provide content that the customer wants to consume, and annually increase the rates by 10%-15%. I’m not into market share. I’m there for the right product, the right content, charging the right price, being a profitable company, and most importantly being close and connected to the listener.
How would you compare the previous year with this year?
Last year new rules and regulations came out which took some time to stabilize the industry. Advertising industry was going conservative. Gradually, the scenario has changed. Business has been good and we are looking at a promising future.