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The World of Radio

This is basically an anti-establishment critical view of the Indian Radio World which is plagued by the Herd Mentality crippling innovation and evolution of creativity that is so omnipresent in our blood

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kumkaran had a competition in me!

3 years is a fair enough slumber to be woken up from, reading the previous post I realise that I wrote it when I had just started my most recent car lease and now its coming to an end, so its not actually radio that brings me back here its rather a new car lease! So any suggestions, looks like this time I should fall for a petrol car.

Did Budget stump you? or as I claimed on my show just before the budget, that I just don't know anything about it, you too live in "ignorance is bliss" world. [post budget would have loved to add that I am better off that way(sigh)]

Okay so lets quickly come back to radio, the industry is on a lovely southward slide. I meet(virtually) people who think radio industry is a money making elaborate secret yet to be discovered. I mean do you think we are fools here, having worked 18 years in this field and thankfully are well connected to source enough funds to start our own channel and make money for ourselves rather than be the philanthropist that industrialist expect us to be. Yes we are fools but just emotional fools, so even if there is a formula which we are still hiding , chances of us giving it away for few lakhs is not happening.

People expect not just us to be fools but even expect the government to be so, who have framed the guidelines around it, folks think they can start Community FM Stations and run it as if it was a commercial FM station. I mean do you know that worldspace, the giant that it was and so loved by audiences was killed because of commercial FM stations did not allow them to be terrestrial and mobile, the way FM is. So get real, there is enough safe divide between various forms of Radio.

Anyway coming back to FM Radio, nothing exciting has been happening except the fact on the personal front, AIR, last June went on to implement a very controversial decision of theirs in recent times which restricted the Radio Jockeys above the age of 35 to remain on the panel and keep doing radio shows on FM, namely FM Rainbow and FM Gold. It naturally brought a lot of bad press and so it was soon claimed to have been withdrawn though ground reality was another story. Hyderabad in a carefully chosen path went through a long drawn process and finally resumed giving shows to RJs above 35 like yours truly. As on the RJ front, RJ Prateeka is not to be heard, RJ Sameer the other RJ that I quite use to like to listen to, moved out of RedFM and focussed his energy elsewhere. I tried to devout more time to the "The Radio Hyderabad" where besides trying to help people land their foot in the industry by grooming them tried to put together a pirate online radio station.

RJ Priyanka a dear friend of mine and someone who very closely resembles on air to RJ Prateeka is currently doing that evening show on RedFM, I recommend RJ Kaushik and RJ Sangmithra for your Western Music dose(they each host 9am-12 on Mondays and Tuesdays on 101.9 FM in Hyderabad respectively) besides yours truly. I am struggling to be regular but trying to find my foot on the slot on Saturdays, should be alternate Saturdays to start with(Sorry Yasam for making a dent in your slot or maybe you are too busy so in effect its a favour who knows :P).

Do listen and let me know how you find my recommendations and feel free to rip me off, infact listen to my show and tell me one blunder that I committed, shame me publicly or else those who read the blog and fail to mention I will go ahead and give you a blah in return for failing to catch it. Feel free to forward the adverts, trust me that's absolutely fine with me :)

Happy Listening [http://ncrcalling.com/radio/FM-2015-02-28_05h11m45s-Budget.mp3 ]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Radio Mirchi is Number 1 in Hyderabad


Is it petrol or is that Gold that they are dispensing at the Gas stations, well those days are back when its easy to comprehend why Oil was ever called Black Gold. Those theories seem no longer misplaced which describe why Middle east had to bear one of the biggest war of recent times. Thankfully I didn’t fall for Petrol car when I had to go for a new car few days back and I feel so relieved even though I know Diesel Price is due to be revised soon.

What has been the newest around radio, well for the first time since IPL started,  Times Entertainment has tied up with Gold FM for the running commentary of IPL Finals and Semi Finals matches. It may be recalled that a consortium of Times Internet Ltd and Nimbus Communication Ltd acquired IPL global Internet, mobile and audio rights, along with television rights in specific territories outside India for four years on a successful bid of Rs 261.6 crore.

The other big news was around a big ask by the radio industry, settlement on the Copyright Bill. There has been too much arm twisting by the Music companies of late when it comes to what, when and how often one can play the music released by them. With the Copyright Act(Amendment) Bill 2012 now passed by the Parliament, it’s clear that the song writers, artists and performers can claim royalty for their creations. It declares authors as the owners of the copyright which cannot be assigned to the producers (read music companies) and therefore Broadcasters need to pay royalty to the owners of the copyright each time a work of art is broadcast(Read music).  Another point to note especially keeping Hyderabad music scene in mind, one is banned from bringing out cover versions for 5 years from the first recording of the original creation. This now means if you are a band who does cover versions you are much safer to bring out a cover version of songs which are at least 5 years old. Though the rate of royalty percentage is still under discussion but the way I see is that, cover versions may attract lower royalty percentage and therefore there is a risk, that most stations start playing more cover versions. This also means, that fresh songs come on radio much faster as radio stations can directly pay the artists rather than taking permission from the music companies.

Lets quickly come to the RAM news, well for the second time RAM has released what they call the sweeps for the 9 cities. Remember RAM was first started off with Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai and then expanded to Kolkata and since last year September they have been releasing RAM sweeps for additional 9 cities, namely Lucknow, Kanpur, Jaipur, Nagpur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Indore, and Ahemdabad. From the last sweep which was released for the weeks 27-34 in October 2011 it was Red FM which was the leader in Hyderabad with 28% Listenership. But the one released last week for the Week 6-13 of 2012 it seems Mirchi has taken over as the Number 1 station in Hyderabad and that too with 35% listenership, it sure is massive rise for Mirchi in Hyderabad. Is it that Red FM went on a slide because they embraced Multi lingual programming?

The good news for Hyderabad is that people are sticking to a particular station for longer duration; the time they spent at a radio station before changing the channel has doubled during day hours for both weekday and Weekends. The number of listeners listening to the radio (any station) has decreased during morning hours but has increased substantially for evening and late night hours. The number of people listening to the radio at home has decreased by 6% but that has been well compensated by the addition of listeners in the cars/travel/conveyance. Overall the growth in listenership has been about 30 %. Most of the new listeners are those working in executive positions and those working in clerical/supervisory position with atleast graduation as a minimum degree.

Quickly moving to the India Radio Forum Awards 2012, RJ Sheker from Big 92.7 FM Hyderabad won the Best Breakfast Show and RJ Bezawada Basha of Radio Mirchi Vijaywada (Mirchi Gold) won the RJ of the Year 2012 award.

As of RAM ratings for Delhi, Fever FM continues to be Number 1 radio station in Delhi with 18.4% Listenership and is number 8th in Bangalore, 4th in Mumbai and 5th in Kolkata. Gold FM remains at Number 2 with 17.7% listenership in Delhi, Number 3 in Mumbai and Number 9 in Kolkata. Radio Mirchi is Number 3 in Delhi with 16% listenership and is number 1 in Kolkata and Mumbai and Number 2 in Bangalore. Radio City is Number 4 with 12.3% listenership in Delhi, Number 1 in Bangalore and Number 2 in Mumbai. Red FM is number 5 in Delhi with 12.2% listenership, number 4 in Bangalore and 6 in Mumbai and Kolkatta. Big FM is number 6 in Delhi with 8.5%, number 3 in Bangalore, 5 in Mumbai and 2 in Kolkatta. Radio one is Number 7 in delhi with 4.6% and number 7 in Bangalore and Kolkatta and Number 9 in Mumbai. Oye FM is Number 8 in Delhi with 4% listenership and is number 10 in Mumbai and number 8 in kolkatta. Rainbow FM is number 9 in delhi with 2.2% and is number 5 in Bangalore, number 8 in Mumbai and number 10 in kolkatta. Hits FM is number 10 in Delhi with 2% listenership.

I don’t expect many changes in the RAM Ratings except that Musical chair would once again be played out between Fever FM and Gold FM in Delhi. As for Rainbow FM I don’t expect any drastic improvement but the fact that Prasar Bharati has employed a PR agency to help them build their brand should offer some change in their programming. Radio One has kind of settled in their number 7 position across cities with their International flavor. As for International stations I scanned HumFM in Dubai after a long time and did not find their morning jock creating any impact. Prateeka on RedFM is her usual self but seems like stuck with nothing new . When it comes to evening shows I feel that  there is nothing like RJ Naved of Radio  Mirchi Delhi, he surely has come a long way from a nobody whose only claim to fame earlier was that he was picked from a RJ Hunt. And no he is not the same RJ Naved who is rumored to be the architect of Present UP Chief Minister’s sweep in the recent elections.

Let me also put my thanks to my dear dear friend RJ Narendra Joshi of Rainbow India FM of Delhi who dropped in the studios on my show to tell us all that he is the only and India’s first writer to be audio transcribing movies for the visually challenged people. Some of the movies that he audio transcribed are Peepli Live, DhobiGhat and Black. So until I write again keep guesing whats that I am going to be doing on my show called Hyperabad on Twin Cities Rainbow FM 101.9








Sunday, April 15, 2012

Radio Roundup - April 2012


How days fly especially when you have a schedule to manage and you are born with lazy bones, if that’s too hard to picture then just imagine me, I am whole of it. :p  alright it’s time to come up with another post on the blog . So whole lot of happenings and prominently among them is the Shutting down of a Television Channel, yes the Indian entertainment channel. “Imagine” was launched by NDTV and later Turner Corp took it over and brought to us many of the “swamvars”, to be honest few of us use to look forward to them what if the latest one was that of Veena Malik we still were looking forward to it.

So all this while we have only heard about the Radio Channels shutting down their shops, the first of the private radio stations (back then they were more precisely only radio production houses) had to shut shops not because they had bad product or had financial trouble running it but thanks to the Supreme Court. Both Radio Midday and Times FM were asked to vacate the slots they owned on the state run FM channels and Government was asked to come up with a policy and hence came the auctioning of FM Radio Licenses. Then the stations started bleeding, Radio Mirchi shut shop in Pune, Win FM shut shop in Mumbai, Go 92.5 got ready to shut and numerous other small time players decided to give up their frequencies. Eventually only 21 out of total of auctioned 37 remained operational. This brought about a change in the licensing fee structure and with few other changes came the second round of FM License Auction. This time radio stations didn’t shut shop in fact Radio Mirchi re- launched their Pune station and by now Go FM turned into Radio One but they still didn’t stop bleeding.  In Phase 2 out of 338 auctioned only 230 got operational, though few were asked to return their licenses as they ended up successfully bidding more than 15% of the total licenses which was put up as a cap. With the third round just about nearby stations are hoping that there be some crisp guidelines on the Music royalty to be paid by the stations plus allowing stations to broadcast news and sports. Compare this state with that of TV Channels, they have no content restriction, you don’t have to go t through auctioning of the “Frequency” to start broadcasting TV programs, you have a better product with visuals, you have less operating cost per viewer and high potential income on the advertising revenue, unlimited viewership and if you want you can also have subscription fee to cover your distribution costs. And even then you shut shop! Wow Radio you surely rock the boat much better and in difficult waters.

Its IPL Season and like flies to the sweets, everyone is after to suck the nectar, as if there is some. Overnight Radio Jockeys are expected to become Cricket connoisseur cum soothsayers cum experts and few of them do become making me feel are they misplaced as RJs or damn cricket is in our blood and hence being “authority” on it comes so easy!. But then if it’s so common as in our blood then who is going to listen to them, for everyone including listeners have it in them. Sorry let me change IPL from being like sweets to like cleavage branding women, for whom men have to fall to. By the way happy belated world cleavage day, thanks to Poonam Pandey for letting us know. And yeah I guess I am looking forward to her picking a favorite this season from the IPL lot and the “gift” which she would send him across.

I happen to tune into radioone Mumbai breakfast show and immediately realized what’s it with stations having “distorted” mike settings, first it was prateeka @ Red FM Hyderabad and then just as I ended up preaching about that I realized my own settings were distorted on my next show and then came RJ Hrishi’s. Anyway like they say , s*** happens and I better agree to it since I wasn’t any better but dude at least Hrishi and me are veterans, Hrishi much more since his was the first voice that went on air on a privatized FM Stereo on 15th Aug 1993 on 102.6 FM in delhi, mine was 4 years later becoming the first voice to go on air from Bangalore FM airwaves on 31st December 1997 on 101.3 FM Metro (back then the station wasn’t even named and there were no regular shows, this being the only show it would air on an annual basis as there was a court litigation preventing us from broadcasting regularly), to be precise it was me and Anita Naidu who went on air together. Anita Naidu now happens to be the Head Programming of Radio One at Mumbai, the world seems so small! And if you still have doubts, let me tell you Hrishi and me studied together at Lucknow Army Public School, with he in the commerce section and me in sciences. Still think the world isn’t small, alright then me and Anita Naidu use to listen to the same radio show called “Heartbeat” done by Deepa Sreekumar at Radio Midday, where we also use to drool over Nikhil Chinnappa’s radio show, yeah back then he was a RJ, VJing hadn’t happen to him yet. Aah too much of trivia! time to return to present times.

Well I would call it IPL fever which has displaced Gold FM from being number 1 in Delhi, after all they don’t air IPL. So Fever FM is currently Number 1 and in my opinion should remain there until the end of IPL. Fever is now Number 1 in Delhi with 18.9 % (4th in Mumbai, 5th in Kolkata and 8th in Bangalore)  of listeners in12+ Category, Gold FM is number 2 with 18.7% (number 3 in Mumbai and number 9 in Kolkata), Mirchi is number 3 with 15.7% (number 2 in Mumbai with 15%, also number 2 in Bangalore with 21.8% and number 1 in Kolkata with 23.2%) RadioCity is Number 4 with 12.4% (RC is number 1 in Mumbai with 15.4%, number 1 also in Bangalore with 25.8%), Red FM is number 5 with 12%, BigFM is number 6 with 7.8%(Number 3 in Bangalore with 18%, is number 2 in Kolkata with 17%) , Radioone is number 7 with 4.4%, OyeFM is number 8 with 4.2% , Rainbow FM is number 9 with 2.2% and Hits FM is number 10 with 1.9%. Gold FM’s show aired between 10-11AM is still the country’s number 1 show with maximum listeners tuning in, a total of 6 Lakhs 53 thousand! Massive figure.

More on Radio sometime soon, keep dropping by and enjoy my latest Hyperabad show in Enclosures :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First post on Hyderabad FM Radio Review


I can very well hang my head in shame when it comes to my sincerity in writing this blog, damn I don’t even know why I write this or why cant I get my head and fingers together to write few paragraphs on this blog, the blog which is my own!

Lets quickly get back to business, its another matter of shame that there are very few blogs which are there on radio or damn! it could even be greater shame that there might be plentiful but its me who is not aware of them :p

So radio is moving on, like a pendulum its swinging from one side to another and I don’t know if you feel about it the same. Let me share my perspective on why I say that. So I moved to Hyderabad almost a year  back, and there was one station and RJ which I instantly fell for,  hook line and sinker!,  even though she would host an all telugu show. Telugu is a language which I know nothing of, though I do understand a bit here and there of other south Indian languages, so considering that , falling for that station and RJ meant  she was really good. Time moved on and slowly she moved on as well to doing a bilingual and trilingual show though still it was more of telugu but I started understanding her conversations and jock talks plus the music became bilingual, which started making me more at ease. For me she was one of the best Jock that I had heard in recent times.

However just as I was listening to that channel few days back with her being on the mike I realized that the station had lost its USP, the sound was no longer “crisp”, high energy became more of “shouting”, the sweetness of high frequency voice became more of a shrill and in an attempt to sound “uber cool” her ride on the songs started becoming irritating for they would land right on to the vocals of the song. I must say it takes a lot of flak and self-restraint and bulldozing in the mind to stay away from riding on a song, for trust me its such a high when you do it, its like zipping on a road with you in the cockpit piloting an airplane, its painful for the rest both on the airplane and outside, but you get the juice of your life. However if you can manage purely out of intuition to land where the vocals end and finish off your yapp where the next vocals start then it becomes equally pleasurable for your listeners as well but does that happen? In this jock’s case naah, not on the days and times when I tuned in so what did I do, I just moved on to the next channel or the narcissist king that I am I moved on to playing my own on air recording which is equally good in fueling for my high.

I must admit that I haven’t kept myself updated on the recent developments on the On air playback softwares but I doubt if there is a software which tells you in the song where all you as a jock can ride on with your yapp, though RCS does tell you when the vocal in the song is beginning so most of the jocks try to zip on the song at the beginning but never in the middle, for the system doesn’t tell you when you must stop. This station unfortunately doesn’t just have this problem alone, looks like the one who stiches their sound is also loading himself with a lot of ear wax for the sound fabric is also bad, someone should fine tune frequency response of her mike, you cant listen to someone shouting at you and that too when you set the expectation of being a music station but end up becoming a talk station during this show. Remember barring the on air talent everything else is achievable with the technology and there is no doubt that she is oodles of talent, one of the few real high energy jock,s she can very well stand in the league of Nikhil Chinnappa and Nitin(Jonathan) when it comes to firing maximum number of words per seconds so people that be out there ,please do something.

I wish I started scanning the channels in Hyderabad for the good thing is most of the stations are returning to playing bilingual which I think is because they want to once again be in preparation for the next wave of FM Stations due for auction by second half of this year. Radio-one has once again shown the path, they have been the most daring stations right from their days of Radio Midday and even when they were Go 92.5 they led the path until the time when they were on the verge of extinction due to loses and had to listen to their investors and change to one of the masses station. Radio one recently again went all international and I wish Anil, Anita, Anjaan and loads of my other friends from the gang of real radio enthusiasts as I call them, for not just success but whole lot of innovation and market leadership.

Quickly summing up the positions, Gold FM still is number 1 in delhi with 19.1% of listenership, second is Fever FM with 18.9%, third is Mirchi with 15.2%. Radio City is fourth with 12.4%, fifth is RedFM  with12.1%  and sixth is Big FM with 7.5%. Radio One is Seventh with 4.7%, Eight is Oye FM with 3.9% and Ninth is Rainbow with 2.4%. Hits the only other English station is tenth with 2.1% listenership in the 12+ category as per RAM data for the period mid feb to mid march 2012.

10-11AM slot of Gold FM is the most popular show in terms of listeners tuning into. Gold FM is third in Mumbai with 13.9% listenership and 9th in Kolkata with 3.3% Listenership  . Rainbow is 5th in Bangalore with 6.3% listenership, 10th in Kolkatta with 2.4% listenership and 9th in Mumbai with 4.2% listenership.
If you have nothing better to listen to on the radio, you can bore yourself by listening into my latest show here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Look who is the new Number 1 FM Radio Station in Delhi

Radio is a very very very personal publicly available companion. A companion whom inspite of dating for the whole life without a formal legal marriage one doesn’t get threatened, or get to face the pangs of illness and thereby nurturing or get to have to take to shopping. Best is you don’t get those nasty looks from the society who think if you are not marrying the one whom you date, then you should be being shot in the public for propagating a culture devoid of moral values.

Also I am not getting into the details of the stupidity which our society displays by accusing you for those un-moralistic acts when the truth is that, its our innocent radio which probably might have been giving the winds to your oh so lovey dovey associations. Thanks to such stupidity else radio would have been dead long ago. The same radio which in India has grown from This is All India Radio, the news read by… to, AIR FM Stereo all the time in Shibani’s voice. The private stations well they started on a high except perhaps maybe Radio Midday and Times FM which technically being dead can be safely omitted for the sake of KISS(Keep it simple samjhe? )

Okay go ahead and loathe me for giving that extra respect to the set of radio stations (run by AIR) which appears to you in your imagination as the one with ragged clothes(not jeans else you would have drooled over it), dirt all over which needs a good wipe by you to figure out what is there really. And not to mention with voices which appear to you as those coming from the long dug and long covered graves , after all, the Jocks out there have to rotate themselves a good 270 degrees if not full 360 degrees to push all those buttons and levers and kick the butts of the analogue machines which include even the spool tape machines, all this, while they are happily chatting to glory with you. Mind you this is the real reason of why sometimes they appear to be sounding as if they are dying or rising from the death.

Okay so that’s not why I decided to write this today, I mean those reasons stick to being truth like that mole sticks to your skin, lifelong and even beyond and therefore even now, the real reason, the reason of now, has been the RAM rumblings of late. Aha let me enjoy the tease, yes I better after all that’s what one should do when you are the winner and had been called under dogs for ages.

I mean not long ago Mirchi came out with campaign of how everyone believes and understands that radio means them, and no one else, so you be at whatever position it doesn’t matter, and this was to counter the then rising threat from Fever FM. And this came out from the radio station which not only had the first mover advantage (as a Private player) but also remained an undisputed and unchallenged Number one for then 6 years and now for almost almost 8 years before they got displaced. Yes Mirchi this year got displaced by Fever FM in the Week 9 (ending 5th March 2011) which became the New Number One in Delhi.

Everyone said it had to have happened, notwithstanding Naved’s relentless raising the bar performance with the Drive down show called Sunset Samosa, unfortunately no statistics can capture his performance and so truly RAM could never do that. But since I am writing this article based on RAM ratings, I should stay away from critiquing RAM atleast in this very post :D.

Fever came with a calculated game plan , a plan atleast 4 years late. They had a worldwide reputation (Virgin Radio had) of rising to Number 1 in flat 90 days but here it took them years, but man they did it and was it not so obvious that they would? They worked hard towards their plan and finally got to Number 1. I personally don’t like their dual jock humour show (is it breakfast show or still a noon show? ) the reason being they too shamelessly copied (which I am told these days is the number 1 skill needed to be successful) our Hasto Ke Ghar Baste kind of humour but that aside they kept their focus on listeners and did it publicly and over a period of time. Their commitment was all out for everyone to see and I am glad it paid off. But then that’s not what I am trying to write this article for, so lets get on to what I want to write here.

What no one knew and anticipated was how the ICC World Cup will throw their plans and hard work out of the window. Hehehe O man hail the ICC World Cup, it threw Fever to Number 3 and took Mirchi to Number 2 and brought a Station at Number One which never had a plan to become Number one, never cared where it was on the charts and doesn’t even now care or appreciate that it is the Number one station of the National Capital Region and mind you NCR is not the national capital region just based on its classification by Government (for whatever reasons) but it leads the country as the city with maximum number of active listeners year after year. This city boasts of some really great Jocks and therefore its an achievement which should be toasted, cheered, displayed, flaunted and if I was at the helm of affairs at this station I would have ATLEAST got a promo made which would have subtly mocked at all the other radio stations(subtly coz okay because damn it’s a Public Broadcasting Station)

Yes FM Gold 104.6 in Delhi is the NEW NUMBER ONE station in the ALL 12+ TG Group. 2 Weeks back it jointly became Number 1 and as a gesture of being considerate, let Mirchi share that spot then and now its solo number one for the week ending 26th March 2011. Cricket fever will stay for one more week and then things should change but the fact is that at this moment a Public Broadcasting FM Station is Number one!. And in the world where we salute the rising sun(shining sun to be precise) I hail FM Gold and want to congratulate all the folks who are associated with this station and whoever ever worked or contributed to its success and achievement. I know the people at the helm of the station wouldn’t even note this achievement of the station and to them I want to tell, that by celebrating this success they will be celebrating their listeners participation, association and loyalty and so they better do else they will be failing in their commitment to the public of this nation (this is my opinion).

Mirchi and Fever I am hoping this will take you back to the drawing board and bring you back to the ground minus all the pride and perhaps false ego if there was one, and maybe maybe have you bring out some of the Natural programing in your offering.

And for all those who can’t take a new Number 1 especially the ones who were displaced and are going to say well Sports is something which they are NOT allowed to carry yet and therefore in a nation where Cricket is Religion this was bound to happen. To them I want to ask, well what do you have to say about 10-11am Slot of Gold FM which has the maximum number of listeners as per RAM? No cricket was aired between 10-11am, damn this slot has 7.33 Lakhs listeners as per last RAM Ratings and is the number one show at least for the past 3 weeks. All this when my memory fails me to recollect when in the past a show garnered more than 7 Lakh listeners in a RAM Report. So its better to just accept that there is some ‘Gold’ in FM Gold which is shining and its not just Cricket which is giving it that shine.

Cheers!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RAM Week 14, 2009

And it is Monday, time to discuss the new ratings released for the week gone by a fortnight ago. No Surprises or major movement this one week however some interesting turns do peep out and like I was mentioning the time ahead is interesting; Interesting because there is a major tussle with what listeners are going to chose among 2 of their all time favorite passions. And if you are wondering what are they well, politics and cricket they both are junoon and sometimes I wonder if we are really that passionate about them, then why don't we better them, why don't we participate, contribute. What is it about us that makes us so lazy?, when will we have a perfect Cricket team and the team of MPs. Well the good news is that of late more often I get to hear that India is just right there up, at the top on cricket and with the kind of 'Pappu' Campaign on voting I guess there is some shakeups and betterment which could be expected in the more than usual voter turnout this year.

Okay but lets come back to RAM, I do have a nasty habit of digressing as if I am the official spokesperson on every darn subject and matter (though how I wish I was ;) ) . Alright Mirchi continues to be on top and I often wonder isn't it so boring to just stay where you are? (what if it is the top where you are), especially when they say that, up at the top its so lonely and threatening. Anyway the kind of 6 years spent at the top I am sure they have gotten used to, well Private radio stations in Delhi are completing their 6 ( or 7 years ? ) and Mirchi has been on top all the way.
Fever continues to be Number 2 refusing to let Gold FM take away that position but man Gold is right there with the feet up in air only to land on that podium spot any moment. Fever is riding high thanks to Delhi Daredevils sponsorship (and as we see now Delhi Daredevils are registering wins, so it will continue to pay off well) and Gold FM is starting to get roaring, thanks to Elections getting into action time. Just for folks who love numbers, Fever registered 16.9% listenership and Gold FM registered, well 16.8% .
Radio City and Red FM are neck to neck and are yet again tied up at Number 4, and for some reason I would prefer Red over City, maybe maybe because i have old memories for Red or maybe because Jose(mumbai based jock) and Sachin and Swati, still manage to catch my attention.
Number 5 is Radio One with 6.6% listenership and is on the decline but still better than mumbai where it manages to get even lesser numbers, however Bangalore is their best bet where they last week got 13.3% and are at number 4 (and why they shouldn't, after all their PD is Anil Machado, someone with whom yours truly has spent hours at AIR studios planning radio shows and also the fact that their Programme Manager and Jock, Anjaan moving to the final round of 'worlds best job' and is off to Australia for the final round and getting good media coverage and spotlight)
Number 6 is BIG FM, nothing worthy to talk about, Number 7 is Meow and must be happy to hit that milestone of 5% this week. Like I mentioned last week none of the bottom 3 have ever managed to hit 5% and its quite an achievement for them. Playing 2 Hindi classics in an hour has hit HITS very badly as this is the first RAM ratings since they implemented that change and they are now plummeted to 2.6% where they are tied for the 8th position with Rainbow India FM. I can feel that this change at Hits is triggered by the recession and I mentioned to Sarthak the other day that we Jockeys are not any better than prostitutes where the larger part of society thinks we enjoy what we do however the truth is that its nothing less than a rape with every song that we play. Man when would we get to decide on what needs to go on air?

Man Radio Jockeys are often used as a titillation the way Movie producers use 'item numbers' to sell their awful movies and I hear every second radio listeners wants to be a Radio Jockey!! Bhagwan tum sabka bhala kare! see you next Monday :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

RAM WEEK 13, 2009

Recession has hit everywhere including radio and it has been months since most of the stations have filled their vacancies। I guess the recession has hit blogging as well because this blog was to have been written on a weekly basis and here it is now left to a mere quaterly। 2009 still has a lot left in it and with the Sensex soaring on the first bull run, the winds of recession might just die out।


Anyway the last quarter hasnt been much in terms of happening on the radio front except for whole lot of people moving out and for the first time one could say, not to greener pastures, infact the story has been sad as most of them are now left on their own without a radio job. Meow almost has revamped their RJ line up, Big lost a big chunk, Mirchi has some new voices and the list goes on. There are no salary increments in the radio industry and its a bliss to have your job intact. The last set of people who made the most just before the recession panic set in were Naved and Anant and Saurab, where Anant and Saurab, returned from BIG and Naved returned without even joining BIG ;) .


However keeping the focus of this blog to just RAM and radio programming, there have been some surprises during the last quarter. Mirchi still continues to be Number one and its a mystery, the only deserving show appears to be Sunset Samosa and Naved has really upped the ante by putting in real good 'sizzlers', if I may call them, in his show.


For once FM Gold has moved down the list and as far as I remmeber RAM has had fixed Number 1 and Number 2, however the week 12 sprung a surprise, for the first time shaking FM Gold and displacing it to the Number 3 position. Fever FM is the new number 2 and has maintained its position now for the second week running. It is going to be interesting to see how long Fever can occupy that position as with Elections round the corner Gold FM will see a surge with people wanting to know the latest political reviews and results which Gold is going to have an edge over. Fever though has already showed a drop of 4% in this week and now has 15.4% listeners listening to it as against FM Gold which currently has 14.4%; so the difference already has narrowed down. Interesting to note will be if and when the Number 1 position is shaken and by whom. My guess is, it will be Gold which could do it in near future and that could be a biased guess with me being a public broadcaster but just listen to any Gold presenter and Mirchi's Khoobsurat(Akriti I guess is her name) and you would understand where I am coming from.


Fever indeed has come a long way, In week 1 as you would recall Fever was on number 5 and was calling for suggestions from their listeners to make changes in their programming. Radio City which was Number 3 in Week1 after their programming revamp, and Red FM, which was number 4 in Week1, both are now jointly at Number 4.


Radio 1 which was Number 6 remains at the same position but due to the tie at Number 4 is cosmetically placed at Number 5. Big FM was number 7 and there is no change in its ranking. However the bottom 3 have had some shuffle. Between Week1 and now there have been major changes with Meow and Hits. Meow has increased their music air play and now airs 7 songs in an hour as against earlier of 3-4 and Hits is now playing 2 hindi classics in an hour. Its like dropping off their pants since Meow was a Talk station and with 7 songs its as good as a CHR and Hits was a niche Hits station and now they are a vanilla Hits station. This change has spiked up percentage points for Meow and Hits both, Meow is now breaking the 5% barrier which none of the bottom 3 have been able to do so far, Meow currently is at 4.5% and except for last week when it dropped, has been seeing a constant rise in percentage points. Hits is now teasingly displacing Rainbow from the Number 9 position, for this week Hits regained the number 9 position with 3.7% whereas Rainbow for the first time that I recall, has gone as low as 3%.


I have often asked this question and stated that revamp in programming the way we do currently is good to spike up your listenership but is not good to sustain that surge; for there is nothing left for your old, die hard true listeners who, once the change in programming is through, leave for other stations and they go away with a bad taste, a feeling of being cheated. There is a huge space for the 'transition' agencies who would smoothen the implementation of change in programming. City revamped and saw a spike but then is lossing its steam, Radio 1 is the biggest example where in Mumbai they use to have a die hard listenership of about 5% when they were niche (Go)and after all of the innovative changes and a decent CHR implementation they are now at 6.4 %; so is it worth to lose your listeners (P1) only to get the newer ones?, the rentention of which is going to be a new challenge and with every new entrant in the already crowded space of CHR, that pie is anyway going to be slashed further?


Isnt aa bull mujhe maar any different?

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Independent and reckless Mind machine