One FM at the center, many FMs in the states,…

…I mean cities. If you are wondering what this is about, I am referring to the various FM channels that crowd our airwaves today (the FM at the center, currently PC, of course can only be singular :-)). Scanning THE HINDU and catching up with the launch of Radio One FM 94.3 in Chennai today (thanks to the 4-page supplement that is as garish as it is hard to miss), I was thinking to myself “Oh no! Not another me-too FM channel”.

With existing FM channels like Radio Mirchi/Suchi (how poetic!), Suryan FM, AIR’s own FM offering etc. addressing more or less the same demographic segment(s), one more player in this hackneyed game of “listener’s choice” songs and RJ chit-chat did not seem redeeming enough. Nevertheless, as in the case of individuals, so too with for-profit enterprises, “hope springs eternal in the corporate breast” and I wish them good luck. Maybe a MBA student looking for a good summer-project for 2007, may take on the onerous task of identifying the USPs of the various FM channels in Chennai and coming up with suggestions on how they should position themselves differently, to at least convey some product differentiation in the private radio marketplace.

Taking a leaf out of the strategies of a few bloggers in the Indian blogosphere (and as this comment almost gets it but really doesn’t), perhaps the channels themselves can place their own specialist trolls and abusers, who then call the RJs of that channel to act out the smart-aleck bit realistically and mouth expletives periodically. This in turn, attracts more people to switch to that frequency, since they are no more interested in what songs the channel plays and even what the RJ says – things the listeners now mentally tune out, but are rather curious as to who will be the abusers of the day and what expletives they will be using.

Nothing like voyeuristic pleasures of the human mind, especially of the vicarious kind, when there is a make-believe session of “realistic” abuse that is unpredictable on the one hand and on the other, advertisers killing each other to be on the show, resulting in the channel laughing all the way to the bank. Indeed a win-win situation for everyone (wink-wink) :-).

4 Comments so far

  1. Giri (unregistered) on January 12th, 2007 @ 8:38 am

    FM is now a big business but what you suggest may give it even bigger push.

  2. Govar (unregistered) on January 12th, 2007 @ 8:46 am

    I read in one of those articles that come along with the new FM announcement that only abt 10% of CHennaiites are interested in English/Hindi while 96% are willing to listen Tamil. I think even if a full fledged English or Hindi FM is commercially unviable, a good entry will be Tamil and English mixed stations. That will certainly bring a difference to the FM. Left now, all these FMs sound very similar.

  3. rakesh (unregistered) on January 12th, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

    10% percent is crap. statistics are often wrong. I’m sure there are lot more people who will like to listen to english songs. A full fledged english fm will have lot of advantage atleast the first of that kind will have a niche market all to themselves. I used to listen to these fm while i used to travel to my college but i have stopped that too now(i wonder how people stand those pjs). I have enough online radio stations serving all the english music i will ever need. Its either an english fm or nothing for me.

  4. Mani (unregistered) on January 20th, 2007 @ 11:09 am

    wat abt other cities of tamil nadu, only Chennai is enjoying with so many FM stations….like trichy, tanjore,Pondicherry people really worried about this…I am also one of the person want to know about what is scope on FM station in interior city of Tamil nadu

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