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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, 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?

Friday, January 30, 2009

RAM - Week 1 2009

Radio is strange, it is very difficult for Program Directors to determine what kicks in for their audiences and then sell that to the advertisers. After all Radio is commercial entity no matter however we choose to defy it and say it loud that anything 'that' close to ME cant be something where number and figures and money matters, but buddy face it! the world has gone commercial aeons ago.

So there have been many different methods in the world of radio by which one gets independent figures however the one that has caught the fancy of commercial radio in India is RAM Ratings (Radio Audience Measurement) who release data every week for the week went by a fortnight ago.

There are few stations who argue against it and few who favour it depending on which side of their bread gets buttered. So there have been many stories of how stupid this whole method is but then isn't the same about the programming that each of these stations churn out in the name of being 'different'. Well if you are reading this with genuine interest than I believe you agree that the ratings are there to stay and one has to follow them to survive in the market. So niche stations don't follow it as sanctum-sanctorium and the CHR stations have no choice but to follow it for it offers a distinct differentiation in otherwise their 'run-of-the-mill' programming.

Alright I am going to present my own perspective on it starting from the first week of this year and see where we and these stations head.

Lets look first at Delhi where we have 8 private commercial stations which has 6 CHR and 2 Niche and then 2 Public FM stations one is CHR and the other has heady mix of Gold numbers and News and Sports.

For the year 2008 Mirchi remained as undisputed Number 1 followed by Gold FM. The other positions were all too volatile with the bottom 3 being almost fixed with Meow FM at Number 10, Hits FM at number 9 and Rainbow FM at Number 8.

In the year 2009 for the first week, Mirchi has remained as Number 1 followed by Gold FM. The third position is held by Radio City which has displaced Fever FM on the Number 3 position. We have a new number 4 as well in Red FM which was earlier the number 6. Fever FM has slipped 2 placed post their major campaign calling listeners to suggest changes, a clear indication that their Programming team has no clue what to do to gain market share. Remember Virgin radio which provides all programming and technical support to Fever,had in the past made their stations as Number 1s all over the world however India hasn't given them the similar treatment. Virgin in UK which is now under Times of India Management and changed their name too have lost a significant number of their listeners post the revamp there. Looks like revamp isn't the taste of the season, so advise to PDs stick to your guns and don't try to bring in change for change per se is welcome however I have rarely seen the execution of that change conducive of acceptance. And it is true for every field, all organisations bring in consultants to advise them of the changes but alas not as many to execute them. (By the way we are trying to develop that expertise at least in the radio sphere in India where we would execute changes for them).

Anyway Number 7 in Delhi is Radio One who for substantial part of 2008 had been number 3 with their Fatafat campaign, Big is Number 8 who also in the past had been number 3 now having badly lost out thanks to their aristocratic functioning where changes are pushed from the top without any thought to the local market and with their Prime time jocks having all departed. Rainbow is number 8, Hits Number 9 and Meow Number 10.

Meow is in for some change, they are trying to go niche with bilingual, having replaced their Noon Jock who use to bring out their 5th most heard hour at their station. Pity that they had to make that change, their noon listenership is bound to go down now. Hits and Rainbow are where they are, no changes in their approach or programming and are happy to be where they are.

If you have been a radio listener in Delhi or still listen to radio feel free to post in your comments on how close it matches with your perception of their ratings in terms of popularity. Remember the above ratings are overall that is all secs and all age.

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Independent and reckless Mind machine