Radio Today & #BANNER1 & # Broadcasting, from the India Today Group, which had exited the FM radio segment after it sold off Red FM to a consortium of business groups comprising NDTV, Malaysia-based Astro Media, and Hyderabad-based IT company Value Labs for an estimated Rs 30-35 crore in 2006, is now back into radio.
The company is all set to launch its first station in Delhi. In the second phase of bidding, it won licences for seven cities, Amritsar, Jodhpur, Patiala, Shimla, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
The brand name for the station is still under wraps, but agencyfaqs! has learnt from its sources that it will be called Radio Meow, and it will be targeted specifically at women. The Delhi station will be available on 104.8Mhz.
Elaborating on the format of the channel, he says, "There will be no 'gyan' or love gurus. People are tired of 'gyan'. They want to be heard." So, the new channel will have talk shows with "no expert panellists", but real people who want to talk about themselves - their life, their careers, their happiness and their woes.
The channel will encourage appointment listening. Its programming is divided into six day parts. Radio Today promises to give complete "creative licence" to the hosts, though of course with a "decency clause". "We'll have a disclaimer that the management takes no responsibility for the discussions and views of the hosts and the participants," the COO says.
Except for Ginnie Mahajan, who has been roped in from AIR Rainbow, all the other voices on the channel will be new.
The channel went on air for testing on April 24, from 8 pm to 1 am. "In those six hours, we played just six songs and had 80 callers," Srivatsa says.
Who's the target audience for the new channel? "Intellectuals and key influencers of life", is all Srivatsa's willing to reveal. When coaxed further, he says, "Radio is being heard by just 30 per cent of the population today. We want to tap the remaining 70 per cent."
At this point of time, he doesn't want to give out much to the competition. "Radio City, I think, has got a hang of the things we'll be doing. It's already started reformatting most of its programmes," he says.
The revenue model will be majorly advertising and the profile of the advertisers is expected to be "very targeted". "They won't have to buy volumes like on other channels. They can buy parts," Srivatsa asserts.
After the Delhi launch, the group will take on Kolkata and Mumbai in a month's time. The channel will be promoted through outdoor and on-ground activities. The agency handling the creative account is Fortune Communications, a part of JWT.
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