'Differentiated programming' helps Radio City score in ORG Marg study

MUMBAI: Radio City has reason to feel satisfied with the latest wave of AC Nielsen ORG Marg study on radio listenership in Mumbai.

The study, done every two months, has been putting Radio City on top of the heap since June 2003, approximately the time when the radio station started putting out what it terms 'differentiated programming'. The first phase kicked off with eight vignette shows like Pareshan Hoon Main, Rollywood, Babbar Sher and Shanta Bai, all aimed at tickling the funny bone, all of which commenced airing on 2 June.

In November, the channel followed up the act with the launch of 16 new shows, covering family drama, humour, action, mystery, suspense, horror and infotainment shows, besides regular broadcast of Hindi Bollywood music. These included radio adaptations of sibling Star Plus's soaps like Saans and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. The ploy has worked, according to Sumantra Dutta, who says the shows essentially tapped into the 28 to 30 per cent of total listenership which regularly tunes in during the forenoon and afternoon.

Emboldened, Radio City now intends to launch shows in a new genre, details of which Dutta is loath to reveal, though he says, the station will stick to its agenda of producing new shows every quarter. While rivals have been insisting that differentiated programming may not work on FM stations, which are essentially music stations, Dutta begs to differ.

The station has been trying its hand at broadcasting live events, beginning with the airing of the Indian Telly Awards 2003, the latest being the Grammys awards yesterday. The listener response has been tremendous, says Dutta, who is happy with the 'slick and smart' presentation of such awards for the first time on Indian radio.

"Radio has made it to the media plan of most advertisers. It now needs to come to a stage where planners will use radio stations selectively, also bringing in an element of accountability." Currently, Radio City has 220 brands in its kitty. FM radio listenership in Mumbai has shown an increasingly upward trend, with the latest study pegging it at 52,70,000, while average time spent listening to FM radio is 147 minutes.

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