Radio has miles to 'ga-ga' in India

MUMBAI: Radio in India is today where it was in UK 12 years ago. That alone should tell our radio broadcasters that there are miles to go before they sleep. The second edition of Radio Mirchi's annual seminar - Radio Works - which was held in Mumbai today saw UK's Captial Radio Group's Jo McCrostie and Chris Taylor throwing light on how to inculcate creativity and effectiveness in radio advertising.



The opening address of the seminar was given by Madison Media Group CEO Punita Arumugam. "The power of creative is what makes radio works. Today, radio only commands 2 - 3 per cent of the total ad spends in the media, whereas globally, it is roughly around 10 - 15 per cent."



Quoting a recent survey done by NOP World, Arumugam said that while Indians spend approximately four hours listening to the radio in a week, countries like Argentina and Brazil have people listening to the radio for almost 17 - 20 hours in a week. "It is time we bring radio in our country to the world standards," she emphasised.



McCrostie and Taylor dwelled on the different aspects that one needs to keep in mind before creating an ad for radio. Giving chronological turn of events in the FM (Frequency Modulation) sector in Britain, McCrostie said that in 1999 privatisation of FM took place. While in 2004, there were four FM stations making ?100 million, in 2004 there were 21 FM stations making ?1.25 billion. In 2005, the number of stations remained the same, but private FM revenues went up to ?1.6 billion.

"An idea is absolutely everything in radio and that's what can make a campaign 500 per cent more effective," said McCrostie.

What works for a radio ad is - "A great idea, well crafted, that engages the audience and works." McCrostie listed the essential elements that made a good idea for a radio ad. They are:

Writing and the performance

Story telling

Holding interest / engaging the listener


Idea/ engage/ entertain

Sell the benefit of the product

Radio as a medium of communication is ubiquitous as one can listen to it in the car, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and now even while on the move, on the mobile phone. "In the UK, 65 per cent listen to the radio in the car, 14 per cent listen to it in the bathroom, 65 per cent listen to it in the kitchen and 53 per cent in the bedroom," McCrostie said.

She also emphasised on the fact that radio has a relationship with the listener and one should make sure that the creative is absolutely relevant to the listener one is talking to. According to Radio Advertising Bureau's (RAB) Media Multiplier Study, if 10 per cent of a given TV budget is redeployed onto radio, the efficiency of the campaign in building awareness increases on average by 15 per cent.

Taylor listed pointers that one should keep in mind while doing production for radio. They are as follows:

Have a pre-production meeting for the radio ad just as one would for a television ad

Most of the hardwork should be done before one gets into the studio

Be confident, not arrogant

Know who you are working with

Listen and learn

Be tactical

Shut up and let it happen!

McCrostie said, "Radio has an immediate and catalytical effect on audience than any other medium. If you fail to prepare; prepare to fail."

The duo also emphasised the fact that sonic logos had the highest opportunity for branding. Some international examples of sonic logos are Intel, McDonalds, Yahoo! and British Airways. Closer to home, one can say that Titan and Britannia sonic logos have been permanently etched in the consumer's mind.

Quoting Pirate Radio and Television partner Terry O'Reilly, McCrostie said, "You can build an entire career on radio only because so few people do it well."

Radio Mirchi chief operating officer Prashant Panday delighted the creative bunch from various agencies by announcing that if ever any agency had to present a radio spot to their clients, they could use Radio Mirchi's studio and equipment absolutely free of cost! Now that should be an incentive to create better ads for radio from now on!

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