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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

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


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Independent and reckless Mind machine