Star exits from Radio City's airtime sales

MUMBAI: This is as clear a signal as any that television is going to be Star's core business focus in India.

The country's biggest television network in terms of revenue has ceased doing air time sales for Radio City, which runs on 91 FM and is operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow and Bangalore.

In fact, Radio City is the sole operator in the latter two cities even after claiming earlier that it was planning to shut down service in Lucknow, which is the constituency of former prime minister Atal B. Vajpayee.

In May 2005, Star had discontinued its arrangement of supplying content to Music Broadcast Private Ltd (MBPL), the radio FM licence holder, after venture capital fund GW Capital Pvt Ltd acquired a controlling stake in MBPL for approximately Rs. 300 million.

Still, as per an understanding, Star continued to handle advertising, sales and marketing for the FM channel across the country. Now, India's leading television broadcaster has exited from this arena as well. A senior executive at Radio City confirmed the development.

MBPL had, since the inception of Radio City earlier this decade, contracted Star to provide its expertise in the areas of programming, ad sales and marketing.

The operations were handled through DigiWave, a 50:50 joint venture between Star and the PK Mittal-promoted Ispat group. Sumantra Dutta, a senior Star India employee, headed the radio operations till GW Capitals takeover.

The development on the ad sales front has come about after Radio Citys new CEO Apurva Purohit settled down in her job having joined the radio network in July this year.

Before coming to Radio City, Purohit, an advertising professional, had done stints at The Times of India groups Zoom TV and Zee Telefilms flagship channel Zee TV, holding senior positions at both the places.

After Purohits arrival, Radio City roped in Ashit Kukian as the national head of corporate sales.

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