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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Word of the day: Fataafat

Radio One 94.3 poster in Mumbai

In 2006 I was invited to speak to a gathering of advertising agencies and radio people in Mumbai. As the new private Indian FM radio networks were getting established they wanted to talk about creativity in radio, managing listener attention and other aspects of promotion.

Among the things I didn’t expect was the quite delightful way with which I was treated. Indeed, the level of respect, scrutiny and attention was a little unnerving with people noting down carefully my every word. Then the press queued up for interviews. The journalist from the Hindustan Times seemed particularly anxious to get my personal view of everything I’d experienced in Mumbai from the radio scene to the nightclubs to the hotel food. Talking about radio may be my meat and potatoes but that doesn’t mean I have a view on the Alloo Gosht.

In Indian radio no cross-ownership is permitted with the result that the main networks fight largely over prime territory in the mass market centre ground. They have to find qualities beyond their playlists to distinguish themselves in the minds of the consumer. On-air personalities, talkable promotions activity and brand attitude all become very important.

Radio One 94.3 is one such network. Its CEO Vineet Singh Hukmani sums up his station’s brand as being for “the fataafat generation”, meaning “quick and convenient”. Says Vineet, “todays Indian 24 year old wants everything fataafat…be it love, money, fame, justice… they want it quick and convenient”.

And here’s how that looks set to music:

This track and video was released unbranded to all the prime music television channels where it gained popular airplay, and radio where some of Radio One’s competitors even scheduled it. Now this branded version is spreading virally before a full-blown television, cinema and on-air campaign breaks, all to mark Radio One’s extension in to a seventh urban conurbation, Kolkata.

I love the way Radio One is confidently doing its own thing in this promotion. It’s not hitching itself to an established celebrity but instead created its own house band “Neo” (Neo = One, geddit?). Radio One owns the band, owns the song and now it owns the attitude.

Even two years ago the self-confidence of India’s new radio industry was very clear to me. It wanted to learn from others’ experiences but then proudly build its stations on its own terms. And so it has. It’s high time I went back, this time to learn from them.

What properties does your station truly own? What attitude does your brand convey? What do you do to help people think of your station when they’re not listening to it?

Sorry, I came over a bit Mark Ramsey there.