Radio Mirchi beats Radio City to the tape on game show launch

MUMBAI: The war of the airwaves is hotting up seriously in Mumbai.

Even as one radio station announces a novel game show to woo listeners, another pips it to the post by straightaway launching a similar show without any fanfare. The players involved in the radio warfare are the Star backed Radio City and the Bennett, Coleman supported Radio Mirchi. While Radio City plans to bolster its programming with more non music shows (read radio versions of its hit soaps on air), Mirchi intends to follow the game show with a Mirchi Tambola later this month.

Radio City on Tuesday announced an interactive game show that would reward listeners with cash prizes for correctly answering posers asked in Amitabh Bachchan's voice. Clearly inspired by the popular Kaun Banega Crorepati, that turned around sibling Star Plus' fortunes, Suno Aurr Lakhpati Bano, scheduled for a Monday launch, is intended to inculcate 'appointment listening', a habit alien to current Mumbai FM listeners. This in turn, is aimed at luring in the advertiser, media planner and retailer with the plank that radio need no more be a secondary medium. The show, with over 10 weeks of cautious research, 'substantial sums of money invested' and of course, the pricey presence of the Big B, is a calculated risk worth the effort, according to COO Sumantra Dutta.

Radio Mirchi, promoted heavily by older sibling Times of India however seems to have decided to forego the preliminaries and launched a similar show on Monday to coincide with its completing one year of operations in Indore. Khel Lakhon Ka, which went on air at 8 am on Monday, adopts the same strategy of 12 hourly questions which are Mumbai centric and offer cash prizes. The only additional requirement from the one envisaged by Radio City is a slogan that needs to be completed. Both shows offer upto Rs 1,00,000 in cash prizes as a bumper prize at the end of the day.

Radio Mirchi and Radio City are currently the two stations that are fighting for attention with the masses in Mumbai. While the Millennium Broadcast promoted Win 94.6 is allegedly suffering from a paucity of funds, the Mid day promoted Go 92.5 as well as the Living Media backed RED 93.5 restrict themselves to niche target groups, leaving Mirchi and City to slug it out in the market. Dutta says plagiarism is nothing new. He claims that another Radio City show Kasa Kai Mumbai has also been used to format a show called Aamchi Mirchi, while its show on old Hindi songs Yaadein was lifted to make a show called Khanak on a rival channel.

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