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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

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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