Feature | Radio stepping out of studios: let's unfold the mystery!

Revolution and evolution are two phenomenons' that go hand in hand with technology and new age media. Radio, in the recent past has evolved as a highly technology driven media aiming to transform the outlook towards the medium. The only 'studio driven' medium has now moved out of its sound proof walls and has opened its arms, quite literally, to new media consumers. Today, radio shows are running on the lines of television, where shows are recorded on fields, be it shopping malls, streets or even listeners homes and broadcast from there. Radio Jockeys', RJ's as they are fondly called, interact and engage with listeners on various issues; from politics to local civic issues, from traffic to entertainment. Radio is now much more than just studio interaction and some music.

In its endeavor to understand the need that radio stations felt to move out of studios and reach out to its listeners, Adgully collected some interesting insights offered by industry personnel's.

Sameer Kanwar, National Head Programming, Radio Mantra 91.9 FM, is of the opinion that, "Radio in today's time is all about narrow casting and it has learnt it very well from the likes from Orkut, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, that in order to connect with all, you need to connect with one. Sameer believes that there's no doubt that to survive in this competitive market, one has to be different, "one has to live up to their customers' expectations, hence it is pertinent that apart from having a good product, you have to give them a wonderful experience. Radio, as we all know is theatre of mind but what better than if you can see, touch and feel it for that 'wonderful' experience", he added.

Stating radio as the most pervasive of all mass media, Soumen Ghosh Choudhary, Business Head, 92.7 BIG FM said that, "Although radio offers generally undistinguished fare, it has broad popular appeal. In today's day and time the impact radio has is tremendous-music, sports, news, cinema, television; the diversity of programming helps radio offer something for everybody. Programming is always the centre of a radio station and with new and interesting content and a strong connect to Bollywood, we add listeners almost everyday".

Radio is now reaching further into the masses and deeper into the country. We see radio reaching where no other medium can, because of literacy and cost issues. "With expansion of FM radio deeper into the country, radio, five years hence, will become truly - a common man's medium", opined Soumen.

"Radio has been evolving ever since private radio players came into play," says, Harrish M Bhatia, CEO, 94.3 MY FM. He is of the thought that, "the uniqueness of radio lies in it being an interactive medium and this has led to the transition from being a studio based set up to a more engaging and experiential medium. A major factor for radio moving out of the studios has been the widening of the ambit of opportunities that radio provides as a mass communication medium. Radio offers listeners a platform to express their views, showcase their talent and do much more which requires it to reach out and connect with them in person. "This has translated into the medium moving from a background medium to an interactive medium, fortifying the existing bond of the brand with their listeners", he said.

To sight a couple of examples, 94.3 MY FM, has invested in technology that allows the RJ to host a show from any remote location with the help of a wireless handheld device. Moreover, initiatives like the "Radio Dikhta Hai' lets listeners watch show videos of their favorite MY FM RJs on YouTube. On the other hand, 92.7 BIG FM have been aiming to stay connected with their listeners through on ground campaigns like Eco Ganesha, upcoming Navratri etc. and not to forget playing helpline during natural calamities.

Outdoor Broadcast as they call it, Rana Barua ' COO, Red 93.5 FM said, "It is a part of the exercise to keep in touch with your listeners. It also takes your brand forward, and who better to do this than the RJ's themselves." Taking an interesting stand on this point, Rana further said, "But we at Red FM, do not do too much of it; it's done only with selective RJ's and the segments needed. The reason being, that we like to keep the mystery alive on air or else you tend to lose the charm and the brand personality that has been built around the voice-based medium. Thus we aim at keeping strong RJ's and personalities aloof, avoiding the weakening of the core essence of the medium".

Radio, for sure has evolved many folds and the credit goes to the technology, competitive market and its audience. Today's listener is not only well informed and connected in terms of technology but has a lot of exposure which is why one may say that it has become quintessential for the medium to step out and be with them in person. | By Ankita Tanna [ankita(at)adgully.com]

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