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Fever FM attempts serial engagement

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 27, 2013
HT Media's radio arm, Fever 104 FM, has launched its first ever non-fiction radio serial at the morning 8 am slot.

HT Media's radio arm, Fever 104 FM, has launched a radio serial in the non-fiction genre on June 17. Titled 'Friends in a Metro', the serial is being simulcast on all four Fever FM stations (Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata) at 8 am from Monday to Friday.

Friends in a Metro

Each episode of Friends in a Metro (FIAM) will be of 10 minutes duration. The channel has planned 60 episodes in the initial phase that will run for three months. Interestingly, there will be no commercials in between.

The plot revolves around five characters - Anshuman Oberoi, a man from Delhi who is a rich spoilt Punjabi brat and loves to show off; Sweety Srivastava, a theatre artist from Lucknow who aspires to become an actor; Arjuna Shivaraman, an IT graduate from Bengaluru; Babla Ghosh, a gifted musical talent from Bengal; and Dhokle Patil, a Marathi boy called IBCD (Indian born confused Desi). This is a story of their struggle for a living in Mumbai, how their emotions take over the practical senses and how their life seems complete when all of them stand together.

Harshad Jain

Harshad Jain, business head, radio and entertainment, HT Media, says, "This is for the first time that a private FM station has launched a situational comedy on the medium. The content is such that listeners across age groups will be able to relate to it."

The radio channel started promoting 'Friends in a Metro' through print, mobile, online and radio a week in advance. The four radio stations of the network had started creating buzz about the serial in their cities, while the all the print editions of HT in these states carried advertisements of the serial.

For the mobile version, a consumer can scan the Quick Response (QR) code given in the newspaper to directly land on Fever FM's website for the podcast version of the show. All the episodes that have been aired till date are available on Fever FM's website (http://www.fever.fm/).

The radio channel also made heavy use of social media to initiate conversations about the show. A hashtag (#friendsinametro) and contests on Facebook have been launched to make effective use of social media.

OLX.in has been roped in as the powered by sponsor for the serial. Several other sponsorship deals are also in the pipeline.

Apart from sponsorship, content syndication will be the other medium through which the channel will monetise the programme, the deals for which will be locked through its special syndication arm, Fever Audio Tools (FAT).

The radio channel opines that it has chosen 8 am as the time for the show because it is the peak hour in radio listening. It adds that the attitude and mannerism of today's youth is virtually the same across all the metros and a story like FIAM is relevant across all the cities. From dialogues to music, FIAM is a complete in-house production. It is estimated that the production cost of the programme is between Rs 30-40 lakh.

Fever has done many successful radio dramas like Ramayana, Gandhi, Bal Gopal and Bose, which were inspired by either mythology or history. They were syndicated on mobile VAS, iOS and audio CD by Saregama. All India Radio has also hosted radio dramas such as Hawa Mahal, which were based on short stories and had a dramatic representation. They were more of story telling sessions with little or no music.

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