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Hello FM rebranded Radio Hello FM

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | August 12, 2009
The rebranded version will focus on urban Tamil rather than rural Tamil usage

Hello FM 106.4, the radio venture promoted by Malar Publication, has undergone a name change and is now called Radio Hello FM 106.4.

The Tamil Nadu based radio venture, which till now was more inclined towards the Tamil language, has decided to breathe easy and will focus on colloquial language. At the same time, the station is also open to using common English words as well.

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Rajeev Nambiar, chief executive officer and president, Radio Hello 106.4 FM, says, "We decided to talk easy and reduce the usage of regional language where it is not required. While we still continue to be a Tamil-centric station, we are dropping heavy Tamil words."

The rebranding effort started since the end of July across all the stations of the group in cities such as Chennai, Kovai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Nellai, Tuticorin and Puducherry.

Nambiar adds, "We realised that we are better known by our frequency rather than our brand name. Also, in the formative days of our brand, we wanted people to sample our product and that's why we used to stress on the frequency. However, now we have built a brand name and are well accepted by the audience. It is the right time for us to focus on brand name rather than frequency."

Also, with the impending phase three of radio licensing, the station decided to underplay the frequency and focus on the brand name.

According to him, the new positioning of the brand has been done in such a way that it is synonymous with the radio category.

As part of the rebranding, the station will now use more 'metro Tamil' rather than heavy rural Tamil. However, Tamil will continue to form 90 per cent of the conversation at Radio Hello.

As part of the course correction, the station has renamed its breakfast show as Hello Cafe and for the late night edition (11 pm-12 am slot), the station is launching a new show called Hello Gramophone, which is about nostalgic retro numbers.

Nambiar explains that in a conscious effort, the Chennai station has decided to add the suffix 'Hello' to all its new shows.

Apart from the rebranding, Radio Hello is also changing its entire online strategy and plans to strengthen it. The station will stream deferred on-air content on the website and is also in talks with a few music companies for strengthening its music quotient on the website.

Consolidating global reach is also on the station's agenda. "We are trying to connect with the global Tamil audience as well and are therefore looking at doing something on that front soon."

For the new programming on the station, the channel has tied up with BBC. As a part of this tie up, BBC will air 90 second capsules throughout the day on Bollywood, sports, lifestyle and other topics. The show is called Hello Nimisham BBC Vishayam, and will go on air from next Monday.

The station has recently started a radio contact programme, wherein the radio jockeys (RJs) of all the stations of Radio Hello will go to 91 colleges across Tamil Nadu and identify about 5,000 people who could probably make their mark in the field of radio.

The activity, called Aircel College Semastar, will see the RJs visiting one college every week. Each station will identify the talent there and groom a team of 14-15 students for a few days. After the training process is complete, the chosen students will run the station by themselves on Sundays.

The station is not doing any marketing activity to communicate the change in the identity but will rather rely on regular on-ground initiatives.