afaqs!

My FM promises to change for better

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 05, 2009
My FM, present in seven states, undertook a research-survey covering 5,000 respondents, to gauge the changing preferences of its listeners in various cities

For the Bhaskar Group promoted radio station, My FM, it's time for a change of image. And the radio station is busy restructuring its programming mix to communicate this change to its listeners.

A research-survey undertaken by My FM in the beginning of the year is serving as a guide to evolve local and relevant programming content in as many as seven states - Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - where My FM is operational. The radio station has introduced fresh shows and interactive segments, keeping in mind the local needs and requirements of the listeners.

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Speaking to afaqs!, Harrish M Bhatia, chief operating officer, My FM, says, "After being in the market for close to two years, we feel it's time for us to change ourselves for the better, with the aim of increasing our appeal to listeners. Our survey reached out to almost 5,000 respondents, covering at least 500 individuals in each city, equipping us with finer insights about the listening habits and preferences of our listeners."

Survey findings revealed that cites such as Nagpur and Indore preferred melodious music; whereas in places such as Ahmedabad and Chandigarh, regional music is more in demand.

The research findings highlighted interesting facts about the genre or type of content most enjoyed in specific cities. For instance, in a few markets, mature listeners demanded more news-driven shows. In other markets, the order of the day was humour-based programmes.

The research findings indicated heavy consumption of radio in My FM's markets, with more than 60 per cent listeners turning to FM for a minimum of one to three hours everyday.

"Unlike metros, where radio is consumed heavily in the morning or evening hours, in small towns, due to the availability of more free time, relaxed atmosphere and close-knit family or friendship ties, people tend to tune in heavily to radio even on weekends. The fact that TV consumption, too, is relatively low in smaller towns, works in our favour," explains Bhatia.

To fulfill the entertainment demand of its listeners on weekends, My FM has introduced a new segment called Shaam-e-Ghazal, every Sunday at 9 pm. The show is a by-product of the survey; and as a result, it has been designed to cater to the SEC A 30+ listeners of My FM.

Differentiated and city-specific fare has been dished out to increase brand appeal. For instance, Rajasthan has My FM RJ Sholay, which is a humorous twist on Bollywood; while in Madhya Pradesh, Current Ali Khan provides updates on even the smallest development of the area.

Other special segments, such as Dhol Wajda in Punjab and Swar Gurjari in Gujarat, keep music lovers happy with heavy doses of Punjabi and Gujarati folk music, respectively.

Another programme, Irfan CD Centre -- a humour-based segment taking pot-shots at copied songs -- is aired on all the My FM stations, covering cities such as Jaipur, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Jalandhar, Ahmedabad, Surat, Udaipur, Gwalior, Indore, Amritsar, Nagpur, Raipur, Kota and Jabalpur.

Though the radio station exudes a youthful image, it engages different people with specialised content at various hours of the day. For instance, in the early morning (6-7 am), a show called Gitanjali is aired for the grandparents. Another show, My Ka Laal is hosted by local kids in the city. The idea here is to channelize young talent in radio too, given that of late, small-town youngsters are making it to the small screen by featuring in comedy and music shows.

Bhatia shares that My FM, being a Bhaskar Group offering, is well-equipped with a deep understanding of the psyche, culture and local needs of all these markets. The sense of what will be acceptable to its listeners helps My FM to tweak its programming, so as to keep pace with the changing moods and needs of listeners.

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