afaqs!

Ashwin Padmanabhan is new station director for Big FM, Delhi

By Justin Thomas , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | February 27, 2009
Moving from Hyderabad to Delhi, Padmanabhan hopes to bring cheer to both listeners and the operator

From petrochemicals to electromagnetic waves, Ashwin Padmanabhan has made quite a leap in his new avatar as Big FM's station director in Delhi. He was previously heading the Hyderabad station and has replaced Manisha Tripathi at the helm in Delhi.

After completing his engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy, Padmanabhan joined Reliance Industries Ltd's petrochemical complex in Hazira and was involved in the setting up one of the plants in the complex.

By 1998, he had decided to move back to academics and joined the Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy. By the time he acquired his MBA, the dotcom era was at its peak.

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Along with some partners, Padmanabhan too set up shop at Superseva.com. As the name suggests, the portal provided a host of services, ranging from flowers to cars. Soon, the services had spread to five cities. "Fresh out of MBA, I was brimming with ideas and enthusiasm was at full throttle", quips Padmanabhan. It was also the most challenging phase of his career, where he was required to give direction to others.

"Getting the right people, building a team and making it compact was the challenge at hand and we managed to get things moving," recalls Padmanabhan. Of course, the online bust came and the entity went offline.

Soon, he moved from Bangalore to Hyderabad to join a venture capitalist firm, I Labs, where he handled projects primarily related to the media industry. TV9 was one of them. He informs, "As a representative of I Labs, I was involved with the channel setup, from project plans to execution." Later, he was involved with Getty Images, from handling the operations part to content development.

In 2006, he learnt about Big FM's plans for Hyderabad. "Time to move out," he thought. At Big FM, he was given the responsibility to build a team in the city of pearls. "Finding the right talent is the primary challenge for the radio industry," he feels, as there is no proper channel to tap them. "Once that is resolved, the true vibrancy of radio can be felt across the air," he says.

Later, he became the cluster director for Andhra Pradesh, where he handled all the stations in the state.

One underlying theme of his professional career has been that he has been involved in opportunities of starting from scratch. "The experience of startups has played a defining role in my life and this definitely helped me at my previous stint at the Hyderabad station," says Padmanabhan.

Now, after being given an operational station in Delhi, he is looking to play a different role. "My task is to contribute a significant share to Big FM's business from the Capital," he says. Further, he wants the station to become a default choice for listeners.

Commenting on Padmanabhan's appointment, Himanshu Shekhar, regional head (North and West), Big FM, says, "Delhi is one of the most challenging markets for private FM players in the country. But I am confident that Ashwin, with his expertise and knowledge, will take the station to newer heights by providing unique and wholesome entertainment for Delhiites."