''Radio needs to become fashionable'' : Sumantra Dutta & John Catlett

It may have lost the first mover advantage in Mumbai, but Music Broadcast promoted Radio City is brimming with the same confidence of storming the audio market as the three players already in the fray thus far.

A few hours into the station's launch in the city yesterday, COO Sumantra Dutta was ecstatic that the fledgling FM channel was winning kudos for its 'better sound and signal quality' and 'much better reach'. Undaunted by the prohibitive license fees, CEO John Catlett is equally positive that the key to breaking even lies in launching as many stations as possible in the country. 91, says Dutta, was delayed for want of clearance from the aviation authorities as the transmission towers are located on the tallest building in the country. Clearance finally came though on 5 May. Wit, attitude and voice marks the eight DJs who have been handpicked for the channel.

Speaking to's Aparna Joshi, both Catlett and Dutta were categorical that the key to 91's success lay in a smart marketing strategy - one that would create a buzz about the brand and help the humble radio become fashionable, all over again.

Sumantra Dutta, on the channel's USP

We have the entire Star library at our disposal. We will shortly be starting with shows from the library including soaps, quiz shows…the works. The long term strategy is to get people habituated to the channel. We are currently the only 24-hour live FM channel on air. Since we are using the tallest building (Shripati Arcade, Nana Chowk) in the country for our transmission towers, our reach is much better than the other channels - we reach beyond Kalyan on one side, and beyond Dahisar on the other.

John Catlett, on content of FM radio, particularly that of 91

Music by far has been synonymous with FM stations, in all the countries I have worked in the broadcast industry. Although FM content need not necessarily be only popular music, it is what is appreciated the most. However, in some cases, like in Russia some years ago, a block of western classical music inserted between hit music shows, drew a lot of positive response from listeners. Even in developed countries, radio gets an ad spend share of eight to 10 per cent, while the figures for India are less than two per cent. Ever since we started in Bangalore in July 2001, we have managed to increase the figure to nearly six per cent. We are now aiming to take it even higher in the next five years. Listenership figures in Bangalore too have gone up by 60 per cent since the launch of Radio City in Bangalore. Tracking listeners in the absence of a monitoring system remains tough, with awareness low among citizens.

Sumantra'Sumo' Dutta
hn Catlett

Sumantra Dutta, on the strategy employed to wean listeners to 91 FM

We put up pre-launch teasers on hoardings all over the city a week before the launch. On the promotions front, TV leads the charge, with the outdoors being employed for a multiplier effect. Bus backs and bus panels are being employed to ensure recall value, and a Radio City mobile van is doing the rounds of the city. A contest that kicks off on 27 May will give away thousands of radio sets to winners as part of the gameplan to get more young people hooked to the radio habit.

The generation that considers radio old fashioned is gone, and the new one is completely open to fresh ideas. Radio now needs a social stamp of approval, needs to become fashionable and we aim to do that in much the same way as Sony did with the Walkman.

Sumantra Dutta, on advertising on 91

Radio City in Bangalore already has 240 brands on air. In Mumbai, we already have 12 to 15 advertisers on board. Thirty per cent of our revenues are coming from the direct retail market. If direct retailers are able to return to us for continued advertising, it obviously means that advertising on Radio City is effective. Advertising is the only source of revenue for us, and given the high license fees that the government has slapped on us, it could take us six to 10 years to break even.

Latest Reads
Supari Studios creates campaign for Clinique’s popular product, Moisture Surge

Award-winning agency Supari Studios produced the latest campaign for Clinique for their popular product, ‘Moisture Surge’.

MAM Marketing MAM
Yardley launches new range of floral perfumes

MUMBAI: Yardley, a heritage personal care brand from Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting has launched an array of daily wear perfumes. The Modern Indian Woman, who is a perfect amalgamation of beauty, confidence, and elegance, inspires this contemporary range of Eau De Cologne from The House of...

MAM Marketing Brands
Kotak Mahindra Bank launches campaign with Ranveer Singh for 811 account

MUMBAI: Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched its 811 campaign - #IndiaInvited. The campaign features Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh along with people from all walks of life, across age, gender, profession, religion, physical appearance, including an acid attack survivor, among others.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Need for condom brands to target the rural audience

MUMBAI: Sex is perhaps the most rampant taboo in India. Despite the economic and technological advancements, sexual discourse in the country is yet to witness a significant evolution. From sex education in school to conversations at home, the country in a sense continues to avoid addressing the...

MAM Marketing Brands
MediaCom wins Media Network of the Year at Cannes Lions 2018

MUMBAI: MediaCom has been named Media Network of the year at the 2018 Cannes Lions Festival.

MAM Media and Advertising AD Agencies
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigns over relationship with employee

Intel Corporation CEO and member of board of directors Brian Krzanich today announced his resignation for a breach of company policy involving a relationship with an employee.

MAM Media and Advertising People
Louis Philippe launches new ad campaign #RiseAboveTheRest

One of India’s leading menswear brand Louis Philippe, from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, has come up with a unique ad campaign 'Rise Above The Rest', showcasing that true leadership is about taking decisions that leave a lasting impact.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Taco Bell wants to make potato great again with new campaign

MUMBAI: Taco Bell is set to make its way into the hearts of potato lovers across India. The brand has just launched a unique potato centric take on the traditional taco. The all new Crispy Potaco will give this much-loved vegetable a new identity where it will no longer play the sidekick in most...

MAM Marketing Brands
HP urges people to use original ink in new campaign

MUMBAI: Information technology company HP (Hewlett-Packard) has launched a digital film Chikloo, as a part of the on-going initiative to promote its original ink and cartridges.

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories