Radio has made a comeback in the lifestyles of Indians. Radio has the reputation of being the
oldest and the cheapest medium of entertainment in India. The radio industry has been
completely reshaped by the various private players that entered the sector after the government
allowed foreign investment into the segment and opened the licenses to the private players.
DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES IN BROADCAST RADIO
The first one which was used in olden days for transmission purpose is AM.
Amplitude modulation (AM)1 is a technique used in electronic communication, most commonly
for transmitting information via a radio carrier wave.
Frequency modulation (FM) is a form of modulation that represents information as variations in
the instantaneous frequency of a carrier wave. FM is commonly used at VHF radio frequencies
for high-fidelity broadcasts of music and speech. Today radio is used for many forms of
communication from long distance satellite communications to the personal cell phones that are
widely used. In addition to this wireless communications are becoming more important for data
as demonstrated by the rapid growth in Wi-Fi
Radio is also used for telecommunications links. Signals with frequencies in the microwave
region are normally used. These signals have frequencies much higher than those in the short
wave band and they are not affected by the ionosphere. However they provide reliable direct line
of sight links that are able to carry many telephone conversations or other forms of traffic.
Satellite radio is one of the fastest-growing entertainment services in the world and it is making
its presence felt in a small but a positive way in India. A satellite radio is basically a digital unit
that receives signals broadcast by communications satellite. This allows a person with a set to
follow his favorite stations anywhere in the country unlike the terrestrial radio (AM and FM)
whose signals are limited to a certain area depending on the power of the station. Some of the
advantages of a satellite radio are that the sound is of digital quality and there are no
commercials. But it is not for free, it is available on subscription for a fee. An example would be
―world space radio‖.
Satellites, radar, communications, internet, message service are the effect of radio technology in
our modern day life. With the growth of radio the requirement for mobile connectivity, it is
certain that wireless technologies with radio at the core will continue to thrive and become more
widespread. To meet the demand it is likely that new technologies will be developed to
maximize the use of the available radio spectrum.
("hybrid digital" or "high definition") is a brand name of a method of digital transmission of AM
and FM radio stations. The HD Radio system is unique which allows stations to broadcast
crystal-clear audio and a variety of text-based services, as well as more FM channels, without
changing to new frequency bands. Hybrid system is a system in which digital signals are sent
along with the analog carrier as the standard for AM and FM broadcasting in the United States.
FM stations can offer multiple channels (called "Multicast" channels) on the same frequencies
allocated to analog radio stations.
Internet radio e-Radio is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet. Broadcasting
on the Internet is usually referred to as webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through
wireless means but is delivered over the World Wide Web. The term "e-Radio" suggests a
streaming medium that presents listeners with a continuous stream of audio to which they have
no control much like traditional broadcast media. It is not synonymous with podcasting which
involves downloading and therefore copyright issues. Nor does e-Radio suggest "on-demand"
file serving. Many Internet "radio stations" are associated with a corresponding traditional
"terrestrial" radio station or radio network. Internet-only radio stations are usually independent of
Old media don‘t‘ die! They just bounce back in new avatars. Not so long ago radio had been
written off as fuddy-duddy, down market and not so cool. Television and later ―new media‖ were
touted to being the media of the future. But thanks to technology radio is making a comeback.
FM radio is a new entity altogether and has to deal with new market dynamics. Media owners
dealing with new markets will virtually have to draw up their strategies as they go along, create
programming that is new, innovative and grab away eyeballs from TV sets and make them tune
into their radio sets. It‘s a whole new challenge and competition is never far away. Ad revenues
will also not be easy to come by, as advertisers will expect media players to put their money
where their speakers are before they commit large sums of money towards radio advertising. The
other challenge for radio in attracting advertisers is the nature of the medium-radio has always
considered being a reminder medium. The involvement of listeners to radio is low, Vis a Vis
television or print media.
With the coming of more channels, and the emergence of lifestyle advertising, radio will become
a push and pull medium. As said earlier, is not just making a comeback but is being reincarnated
into a new avatar.
Any radio setup has two parts:
• The transmitter
• The receiver
The transmitter takes some sort of message (it could be the sound of someone's voice, pictures
for a TV set, data for a radio modem or whatever), encodes it onto a sine wave and transmits it
with radio waves. The receiver receives the radio waves and decodes the message from the sine
wave it receives. Both the transmitter and receiver use antennas to radiate and capture the radio
When you listen to a radio station and the announcer says, "You are listening to 91.5 FM ―what
the announcer means is that you are listening to a radio station broadcasting an FM radio signal
at a frequency of 91.5 megahertz. Megahertz means "millions of cycles per second," so "91.5
megahertz" means that the transmitter at the radio station is operating at a frequency of
91,500,000 cycles per second. Your FM (frequency modulated) radio can tune in to that specific
frequency and give you clear reception of that station. All FM radio stations transmit in a band of
frequencies between 88 megahertz and 108 megahertz. This band of the radio spectrum is used
for no other purpose but FM radio broadcasts.
Common frequency band includes the following:
• AM radio - 535 kilohertz t - 1.7 megahertz
• FM radio - 88 megahertz - 108 megahertz
AM radio has been around a lot longer than FM radio. The first radio broadcasts occurred in
1906 or so, and frequency allocation for AM radio occurred during the 1920s. In the 1920s, radio
and electronic capabilities were fairly limited, hence the relatively low frequencies for AM radio.
FM radio was invented by a man named Edwin Armstrong in order to make high-fidelity (and
static-free) music broadcasting possible. He built the first station in 1939, but FM did not
become really popular until the 1960s.
HISTORY OF RADIO
Radio owes its development to two other inventions, the telegraph and the telephone; all three
technologies are closely related. Radio technology began as "wireless telegraphy".
Radio can refer to either the electronic appliance that we listen with or the content listened to.
However, it all started with the discovery of "radio waves" - electromagnetic waves that have the
capacity to transmit music, speech, pictures and other data invisibly through the air. Many
devices work by using electromagnetic waves including: radio, microwaves, cordless phones,
remote controlled toys, television broadcasts, and more.
The Roots of Radio
During the 1860s, Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell2 predicted the existence of radio
waves; and in 1886, German physicist, Heinrich Rudolph Hertz demonstrated that rapid
variations of electric current could be projected into space in the form of radio waves similar to
those of light and heat.
In 1866, Mahlon Loomis, an American dentist, successfully demonstrated "wireless telegraphy."
Loomis was able to make a meter connected to one kite cause another one to move, marking the
first known instance of wireless aerial communication. Twenty years after the telephone was
invented and music was first sent down a telephone line, Guglielmo Marconi sent radio signals.
Marconi (1874-1937) was born in Italy and studied at the University of Bologna. He was
fascinated by Heinrich Hertz‘s earlier discovery of radio waves and realized that it can be used
for sending and receiving telegraph messages, referring to it as ―wireless telegraphs.‖
Marconi‘s first radio transmissions, in 1896, were coded signals that were transmitted only about
1.6 km (a mile) far. Marconi realized that it held huge potential. He offered the invention to the
Italian government but they turned it down.
Marconi was not the first to invent the radio, however. Four years before Marconi started
experimenting with wireless telegraph, Nikola Tesla, a Serb who moved to the USA in 1884,
invented the theoretical model for radio. Tesla tried unsuccessful to obtain a court injunction
against Marconi in 1915. In 1943 the US Supreme Court reviewed the decision. Tesla became
acknowledged as the inventor of the radio – even though he did not build a working radio.
Indian scientist J.C. Bose demonstrated the radio transmission in 1896 in Calcutta in front of the
British Governor General. The transmission was over a distance of three miles from the
Presidency College and Science College in Calcutta. The instruments (‗Mercury Coherer with a
telephone detector‘) are still there in the science museum of the Calcutta University. Thus writes
contributor Dipak Basu, referencing the Proceedings of the IEEE, January, 1998.
Bose had solved the problem of the Hertz not being able to penetrate walls, mountains or water.
Marconi was present in the meeting of the Royal Society and it is thought that he stole the
notebook of Bose that included the drawing of the ‗Mercury Coherer with a telephone detector‘.
Marconi‘s Coherer, which he used in 1901, was the exact copy of that of Bose. Bose did not
apply for a patent on his design because he believed in the free flow of inventions in science. But
under pressure from American friends, he applied for the patent in September 1901. He was
awarded the US patent for the invention of the radio in 1904. By that time Marconi had received
his patent and international recognition.
It is reputed that Nathan B. Stubblefield, a farmer from Murray, Kentucky, made a voice
transmission four years before Marconi transmitted radio signals.
Stubblefield demonstrated his invention to the press in 1902 but, being afraid that his invention
will be stolen, never marketed his wireless radio. When he was found dead in 1929, his radio
equipment was gone. Nikoli Tesla remains to be acknowledged as the inventor of the radio.
Growth of Radio - Radiotelegraph and Spark-Gap Transmitters
Radio-telegraphy is the sending by radio waves the same dot-dash message (Morse code) used in
a telegraph. Transmitters at that time were called spark-gap machines. It was developed mainly
for ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. This was a way of communicating between
two points; however, it was not public radio broadcasting as we know it today.
Improvements to Radio Transmitters
Overseas radiotelegraph service developed slowly, primarily because the initial radiotelegraph
transmitter discharged electricity within the circuit and between the electrodes was unstable
causing a high amount of interference. The Alexanderson high-frequency alternator and the De
Forest tube resolved many of these early technical problems.
Lee Deforest - AM Radio
Lee Deforest invented space telegraphy, the triode amplifier and the Audio. In the early 1900s,
the great requirement for further development of radio was an efficient and delicate detector of
electromagnetic radiation. Lee De Forest provided that detector. It made it possible to amplify
the radio frequency signal picked up by the antenna before application to the receiver detector;
thus, much weaker signals could be utilized than had previously been possible. De Forest was
also the person who first used the word "radio".
Military Use and Patent Control
When the United States entered the First World War in 1917, all radio development was
controlled by the U.S. Navy to prevent its possible use by enemy spies. The U.S. government
took over control of all patents related to radio technology.
In 1919, after the government released its control of all patents, the Radio Corporation of
America (RCA) was established with the purpose of distributing control of the radio patents that
had been restricted during the war.
The first time the human voice was transmitted by radio is debatable. Claims to that distinction
range from the phase, "Hello Rainey" spoken by Natan B. Stubblefield2 to a test partner near
Murray, Kentucky, in 1892, to an experimental program of talk and music by Reginald A.
Fessenden, in 1906, which was heard by radio-equipped ships within several hundred miles.
True Broadcasting Begins
In 1915, speech was first transmitted across the continent from New York City to San Francisco
and across the Atlantic Ocean from Naval radio station NAA at Arlington, Virginia, to the Eiffel
Tower in Paris.
On November 2, 1920, Westinghouse's KDKA-Pittsburgh broadcast the Harding-Cox election
returns and began a daily schedule of radio program.
The Dawn of FM Radio
The story of FM radio is one of success and tragedy.
Edwin Howard Armstrong was one of great engineers of the 20th
century; he was born in 1890, in New York City, and died in 1954,
also in New York City. Edwin Armstrong was only eleven when
Marconi made the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission. Enthralled,
the young Armstrong began studying radio and building homemade
wireless equipment, including a 125 foot antenna in his parent's
However, Edwin Armstrong should be known for inventing three key
innovations: regeneration, super heterodyning, and frequency modulation.
FM Radio 1933
Edwin Armstrong is most commonly known for inventing frequency-modulated or FM radio in
1933. Frequency modulation or FM improved the audio signal of radio by controlling the noise
static caused by electrical equipment and the earth's atmosphere. Edwin Armstrong received U.S.
patent 1,342,885 for a "Method of Receiving High-Frequency Oscillations Radio" for his FM
Regeneration Amplification 1913
In 1913, Edwin Armstrong invented the regenerative or feedback circuit. Regeneration
amplification worked by feeding the received radio signal through a radio tube 20,000 times
per second, that increased the power of the received radio signal and allowed radio broadcasts
to have a greater range.
Edwin Armstrong invented the superhetrodyne tuner that allowed radios to tune into different
Armstrong was clearly a technical genius. Although his life was cut short, he's still considered
the most prolific inventor in radio's history.
Even though he had improved AM radio in significant ways, Armstrong was well aware of
AM radio's major limitations:
Static interference from household appliances and lighting
Limited audio quality (frequency response and dynamic range)
Nighttime interference between many stations (co-channel interference), because of
ionosphere refraction, especially in rural areas
Armstrong took his invention to a friend, David Sarnof, who was head of RCA and had said
he would help him develop it. RCA bought into the patents and helped Armstrong develop an
experimental radio station.
By 1941, 50 FM stations were on the air. Then the Japanese bombed Pearl
Harbor. The ensuing war diverted resources and froze development.
David Sarnof3 and RCA, still out to hold control of their radio empire,
pressured the FCC to change all of the FM radio frequencies — a move
they knew would instantly obsolete all of the exiting FM radios, and cause
Armstrong to lose his personal investment in FM radio.
Since most radio station owners didn't want to go to the expense of creating high-fidelity
programming just for their FM stations, the FCC allowed them to simulcast —
simultaneously broadcast the same programming on both their AM and FM stations. Once
TV started to evolve, interest in FM radio further diminished and by 1949, many FM stations
had shut down.
On January 31, 1954, Edwin Armstrong, gave up his long, taxing battle against Sarnof and
RCA. He wrote a note to his wife apologizing for what he was about to do, removed the air
conditioner from his 13th story New York apartment, and jumped to his death. A few weeks
later RCA announced record profits.
Once FM radio started to make money, RCA quickly started pushing its development and
subsequently made millions of dollars from the sale of FM transmitters and equipment.
Graph 1: Growth of FM radio (Source: www.cybercollege.com)
As shown in the from the graph , FM radio not only climbed out of the cellar of popularity
after Armstrong's death, but today it leads AM radio in both number of stations and listeners.
The green line represents the growth of noncommercial and National Public Radio (NPR)
stations. We'll cover public broadcasting — both radio and television — in an upcoming
This period marked the start of "regular" broadcasting; after the government removed restrictions
late in 1919. The Radio Corporation of America4 was formed in 1919 as a patent pool to control
the use of the new equipment which had been invented during WWI, but which was not able to
be used unless all the conflicting patent owners would permit. The make-up of RCA consisted of
those companies that had the key patents or would shortly buy them for wireless telegraphy.
1923 – 1926: This was a transitional period; it saw the beginnings of broadcasting on a
commercial basis; it marked the development of new types of equipment; it saw development of
basic types of programs. Chiefly, it was a period in which some persons at least saw in
broadcasting possible source of revenues-from sale of time, rather than the sale of receiving sets.
1926 – 1930: Commercial radio became solidly established- particularly development of
networks and the presentation of network programs by national advertisers.
1930s: This was the beginning of the great depression in the United States – a depression which
had its effect on programming and on the various forms of advertising, but relatively little effect
on broadcast revenues. The 1930-35 period was also the time of the greatest "idea" development
in the history of American radio programming-with respect to network programs in particular.
Broadcasting in 1935 to 1941 saw radio revenues soaring to new heights; and while not too many
new program forms introduced, older forms were polished and improved.
1940s: This period included World War II. The nation had shifted, in December of 1941, from a
threat-of-war situation into actual involvement. The war imposed as many hardships on
broadcasters as it did upon those engaged in other occupations; electronic concerns were shifted
to war production, with the result that broadcasting equipment, tubes, etc. was in short supply;
costs advanced; employees were drafted into military service. On the other hand, both network
and station revenues were strikingly greater than in the prewar period; in 1944-45, no less than
70% above the level of revenues in 1940-41. Some of this increase was the result of inflation, but
even so, 1941 to 1945 was the big money-making time for American radio.
1945-1952: A highly important era in the history of American radio and television. It saw an
enormous increase in the total number of radio stations, the erection of 108 TV stations-and the
beginnings, at least, of a shift in importance from radio to television, especially on the network
level. The transistor was demonstrated in 1947 by Bell Labs.
Broadcasting from 1952 through the 1960's: Earlier trends continued, but during this decade
television became the dominant mass medium as the freeze on licenses was lifted and a 70-
channel UHF band was added. The networks reached from coast-to-coast and in 1953 the FCC
approved the industry indorsed compatible NTSC color television system (RCA-NBC), reversing
their 1950 decision which had authorized a non-compatible field-sequential system (CBS). Radio
became less secure, but grew in the number of smaller stations licensed.
1960-1970 - radio reinvents: Probably based on the early work of programmers like
McClendon and Bill Drake, hundreds of AM stations embrace a "top-40 time and temperature"
format. The saying, "be bright, be brief" was, it seemed, posted in every control room. Stations
played three minute songs. The music was still controlled by cynical old white men. There were
lots of jingles and promotions. Programming, music and contests are now targeted to a specific
age group (12-35) based on demographic research showing this group has money to spend on
goods and services by the new affluent middle class.
FM makes a comeback: For a system that was invented nearly 40 years earlier, it took a long
time for FM to overtake AM. Pop music was better and it demanded a delivery service that
sounded as good as a home audio system. AM stations still refused to play the new music from
albums and were suddenly facing new competition from FM stations that would play the music.
1970-1980 - radio bores: AM Top 40 begins the decade with lock on the ratings. Even though
its sound was stale, in some markets more than 50% of the people using radio are still tuned by
habit to that "one big legendary AM station." By the middle of the decade most of these major
stations were struggling. AM stations even tried to meet the challenge by going "stereo" but no
one cared. The Big FM's would rule by the decade‘s end.
Radio makes lots of money: The big music stations, once AM and now FM were making lots of
money. There are plenty of listeners and times are good as far as jobs and money. Advertisers
want to buy radio. There was even disco on FM!
Formats fragment: There are no longer just two formats, top-40 on AM and progressive rock"
on FM. Each station has only a small segment of the audience.
Radio networks return: With inexpensive satellite technology available to every station,
hundreds of new radio networks emerge and die, mostly offering music formats delivered by big
city DJ's. Smaller stations automate with them but it makes the station less local-sounding, less-
appealing to listeners and sponsors.
1980-1990 - radio struggles: The Reagan administration de-regulates the industry. Stations now
have to satisfy the demands of the marketplace instead of the demands of Federal regulation.
News and public affairs suffered. If you were a news writer, reporter and reader as every station
had to employ in the 1970's, now your station was no longer required to have news.
Buy-sell: Like the house you bought for a high price in the late 1980's, the radio station you also
bought is worth less than you paid. This means cutbacks, more automation, less news and public
affairs types. In the 1980s almost half of the radio stations changed hands.
New owners, new challenges: For young people seeking a career in radio the good news was if
you are good at sales, promotion or production of promotions, you'll work.
A smaller pie: The number of stations swelled to 12,000 and in major and large markets, there
were perhaps 100 to 200 stations vying for listeners. The era of Niche Programming and formats
begins and now there is a format for every narrow interest. Again, less people have to do more.
To succeed you have to be above average, tenacious, persistent.
AM tries a comeback: Helped with new technical regulations, promise of fewer stations and an
expanded AM band, the FCC station owners tried to save AM one more time.
1990-2000 - radio competes: Less people do more work. New radio station owners want to cut
costs, use automation to run three stations at once. No union problems because the unions in
radio are practically irrelevant.
New group owners & duopolies: One company can now own 25-25-25 plus and in San Jose
and San Francisco some companies own many stations. In this market most of each day is
Digital takes over radio technology: Now an entire day can be stored, edited and broadcast
using the hard drive of a computer. Production that used to involve splicing tape is now done
with the click of a mouse. Analog devices like cart machines will disappear by 2004, to be
replaced with computer memory.
New delivery services: Digital stuff, DBS, DMX, Internet, etc; all future non-FM delivery
services. Still, AM is around after almost 100 years. And just like the transition to television,
current owners want to be first in line when licenses are issued for these new services.
Talk radio's decade: Rush, Conservative politics, and suddenly many struggling AMs are
revived and saved again by talk radio.
HISTORY OF RADIO IN INDIA:
Broadcasting began in India with the formation of a private radio service in Madras (presently
Chennai) in 1924. In the very same year, British colonial government approved a license to a
private company, the Indian Broadcasting Company5, to inaugurate Radio stations in Bombay
and Kolkata. The company almost went bankrupt in 1930 but the colonial government took away
the two transmitters and the Department of Labor and Industries started operating them as the
Indian State Broadcasting Corporation. In 1936, this very Corporation was renamed All India
Radio (AIR) and was controlled by the Department of Communications. When India became
independent in 1947, AIR was made a separate Department under the Ministry of Information
Government of India controls the radio broadcasting in India that works under the Directorate
General of All India Radio. It was established in 1936 and since 1957 All India Radio was
renamed as Akashvani. Akashvani is a government-owned, semi -commercial operation of the
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. There were only six radio stations in India at the time
of independence. All India Radio`s network had expanded by the mid-1990s to around 146 AM
stations along with a National Channel, the Integrated North-East Service that aimed at reaching
out to the tribal groups in northeast India and handles the External Services. There are five
regional headquarters for All India Radio, namely in the North Zone in New Delhi; the East
Zone in Kolkata; the North-East Zone in Guwahati, Assam; the West Zone in Mumbai; and the
South Zone in Chennai.
Commercial Radio services in India started in 1967 by Vividh Bharati Service with its
headquarters at Mumbai. Vividh Bharati earned its revenues from extensive advertisements and
had been broadcasting from thirty-one AM and FM stations during the mid-1990s. India has a
wide-ranging network of medium wave and short-wave stations. In 1994 there had been almost
eighty-five FM stations and seventy-three short wave stations that connected the entire country.
The broadcasting equipment used in India is mainly indigenous and reaches special audiences,
such as farmers needing agro climatic, plant protection, and other agriculture-related
information. The number of radio receivers increased almost five times between 1970 and 1994.
Initially it was around 14 million that rose to nearly 65 million. Most radios are also produced
The early history of Indian radio broadcasting in independent India set the parameters for the
succeeding role of television in the nation. In those days radio was considered as an integral
medium of communication, primarily due to the absence of any motion medium. All the national
affairs and social changes were informed through the waves of broadcast media and within no
time, popularity of radio spread nationwide. Indian radio proved to be a prime medium of social
Indian radio also took up the task of aiding in the development of economic scenario. The role of
broadcasting provided an inlet for the flow of modern ideas.
It was due to the same reason of static thoughts prevailing in the society; that television came
into existence in 1959. Television broadcasts started from Delhi in September 1959, again
associated with the All India Radio`s services. Programs were broadcast twice a week for an
hour a day on welfare topics related to community health, citizens duties and rights, and traffic
and road sense. In 1961 the television medium were expanded to include a school educational
television project, however the importance of radio did not decline.
For more than 4 decades, the Government of India did not permit private radio stations to
broadcast in India. Then history changed its course. In 1993, the Government allowed private
FM operators to 'buy' blocks (chunks) on All India Radio, prepare programming content, book
commercials from advertisers and broadcast the whole lot. Within 4 years, (1997-98), the FM
Radio advertising and sponsorship business grew to Rs. 93 crores with Times of India's Times
FM & Mid-Day Group's Radio Mid-Day becoming the main players.
Then, in June 1998 the Government, through its electronic media regulatory body Prasar Bharti,
decided not to renew contracts of private FM operators. Not surprisingly, the advertising revenue
fell by 50% within a year! This time, the Government gave the green light to privatize radio in
India. July 6, 1999 was the historic day when the Government announced that 150 new FM
channels would be licensed across 40 cities. And in 2000, the Government auctioned licenses for
private FM channels to bolster the revenue. And the focus on metros was evident in the bidding.
Expecting to collect Rs 800 million from auctioning 108 licenses, the government had to actually
face mass withdrawal of bidders because of the huge license fee. A handful of serious bidders
chose to remain.
In response to the Government's offer, many companies bid for the licenses to operate in key
markets. But the going was not so easy. Many gave up, unable to shell out the high license fee.
For instance, the bidding price for the Mumbai license was reportedly to the tune of Rs 9.75
crore. Others dropped out saying the business was not viable. So, in effect, the competition
shrank, players consolidated and the Government extended its deadline. Today, there are roughly
10 players who will operate approximately in 37 cities across the country.
The government collected close to Rs 4.6 billion as license fee for the privately run FM radio
channels in 40 cities. New Media Broadcasting, a Zee Group company, which focused mainly on
the smaller towns, won the largest number of bids.
The first round of bidding - for 76 channels in 26 cities, garnered close to Rs 3.5 billion. The
government got the highest bids - Rs 97.5 million from each of 10 broadcast companies - for
stations in Mumbai. Interestingly, the bids for Hyderabad and Nagpur came next, each for Rs
77.2 million and Rs 74 million, respectively, while the bids for Delhi were Rs 71.2 million each
Radio is expected to follow the growth of the Television industry, which grew rapidly following
the entry of private player. Currently, FM coverage in India is restricted to just 17% of the
country, compared to 89% of All India Radio (AIR). Incidentally, Music Broadcasting became
the first firm in India to commence private FM broadcast from Bangalore in July.
Licensee Fee and revenue sharing model
Currently, FM players pay annual license fees, which go up by 15 per cent every year. Private
FM radio sector would shift to a revenue-sharing model from the existing license fee regime.
However, revenue-sharing also exists in the media sector. The objective is to ―make FM radio a
success story‖. It‘s better to keep the revenue-sharing figure low than to have a failed project.
There has been debate on whether to recommend a revenue-sharing structure or a fixed amount
for a period of 10 years; it is firm on revenue-sharing now. Revenue-sharing will follow payment
of a one-time entry fee through a process of bidding. Revenue-sharing figure is quite low at
around 4 %. While the private FM players had sought revenue-sharing in the band of 2-2.5 per
cent, the panel has fixed it at 4 per cent.
After the second round of privatization, the number of FM radio stations targeted is around 300
to 4006. The panel also suggested that players wanting to enter the sector in the second round of
licensing need to have a technical viability clearance by a financial institution on the financial
viability of the project. It has also recommended to
the government to release additional spectrum for the
use of FM radio companies so that the number of
companies operating in one centre can go up.
However in spite of the various challenges the
emergence of private FM stations is certain to
increase the quantum of radio advertising in the
country , much like satellite channels did to the
quantum of television advertising in the country.
That should open up a vast new market of
consumers-100 million Indian households own an
estimated 150 million radios, outnumbering
television sets 3:1.
The geographical area covered by radio in India in India is as high as 98 percent and the
penetration level is approximately 97 percent. But FM presently covers only 17 percent of the
area and 21 % of the population of India through transmitters. Currently radio has just 2 percent
of the 9000 crore Indian advertising market according to an Arthur Anderson‘s survey. Globally
depending on each country, radio has a 5 % to 12 % of the advertising cake. On the higher side
are countries like the United States with 13 %, Canada with 12.7% and Spain with 9.1%. FM
station executives are not forthcoming on multi-platform strategies as yet. Given that radio has
penetrated into 100 million homes and a FM set costs around Rs. 50/- FICCI estimates FM‘s
share up from the present 1.5 percent to 5 % in five years. They have also forecasted that
revenues from radio advertising in India will be Rs. Rs. 1200 crores by 2005 and Revenue of
radio services is expected to rise to Rs 689 crore by 2008 at a CAGR of 30 per cent.
While TV is a family medium, radio is personalized. Also advertising of certain product seems to
work very well while some might not. For example, cellular phone service or auto related
products would have a good impact when advertised on radio is primarily known as a ―drive
time‖ medium most people who turn in are doing so while commuting. Thus the potential if FM
is better is bigger town, as the car population is much bigger. This would be the key when
evaluating the medium. Also one must not forgot that radio continues to be a medium that has
tremendous reach among the poor and marginalized sections of society.
FUTURE OF RADIO INDUSTRY
FM Radio can play its part in building a stronger business future for India. Providing free-to-air
local broadcasts of music and entertainment, helpful information - traffic advisories, community
announcements and public service messages provide a real value-added service. But at current
levels of advertising support, each radio station is reeling under the brutal financial impact of
high costs. With more players in the fray the FM radio industry would grow and also enhance the
government‘s yield from licensing radio naturally.
The new India deserves an active private FM radio sector. It can provide a level playing field
with benefits for listeners, for advertisers, employment & career options. Spearhead the
government objective of growing the FM radio business in India.
With the government ready to reduce the license fees it will help in attracting new players like
reliance which had earlier backed out only due to the entry fees. Also government allowing
foreign players to enter the Indian market it will help the industry grow. Virgin group has already
started exploring the Indian market for suitable partners. Various radio stations are coming up
with IPO for example Radio Mirchi thus helping them expand.
The future looks bright as the reach of radio is expected to raise post the increase in the number
and quality of players in the industry. It is on the basis of these key drivers of growth, it is being
predicted that radio's share in the total advertising pie will see an increase in the medium term.
There are an estimated 150 million radio sets across the country. The Rs 1.6 billion industry is
reported to be growing by 31 per cent every year and should touch the Rs 6.2 billion by 2007,
with revenue rising at 23 per cent annually. Also, though radio has only a 2 per cent share in the
Rs 6,000 crore Indian advertising markets, advertising spending is expected to amount to Rs 500
crore this year.
Recently, the government has agreed upon revenue-sharing model, which is 4 % for
the growth of the radio stations. So that they can develop themselves well because
this industry is still in an introduction stage.
The success of private FM stations, and reveals that radio listenership habits have
changed considerably; not only are listeners tuning into it more often but also sticking
to radio for longer hours every day.
The advertisers, who would depend on word-of-mouth, pamphlets, brochures or ads
in local supplements of newspapers, are welcoming the opportunity.
Radio is considered as a background medium, because people can listen to radio
anytime and anywhere they want. It is also a free medium.
90% of India has access to radio which is unmatched by any other media.
Radio also reaches to uneducated village folk who do not read print publications. At
the places where the literacy rates are low where people hardly read newspapers and
radio is the only medium that they can understand. They can‘t afford a TV set.
Therefore radio is more popular.
Radio is the least cost medium and it helps to reach mass audience with various
backgrounds. Radio offers its reach frequency and selectivity at one of the lowest
costs per thousand and radio production is relatively inexpensive.
Radio is considered as a medium where the ―Proximity to purchase‖ is very high.
Radio is a complement to another media. Therefore, other media or the advertisers or
agency can use this medium for brand recall.
One of the major weaknesses of Radio is that there is very less differentiation in the
programs that are aired. Most of the stations plays much of the music that is played
consist of Hindi Film songs, and therefore it is difficult to differentiate between the
programs of the different channels.
Fragmented Audience - the large number of the audience in India is fragmented in
various remote places. And therefore, the percentage of listener tuned to anyone station is
likely very small.
No proper research available - research is very important for any advertising segment.
Research is the main base to attract client and get more revenue. But, in India there is no
proper research is available. Many stations are conducting their own research which can
Radio-only nature of radio communication is a tremendous creative compromise. An
advertiser whose product depends on demonstration or visual impact is at a loss when it
comes to radio. And like its radio message creates a fleeting impression that is often gone
in an instant. Many advertisers think that without strong visual brand identification the
medium can play little or no role in their advertising plans.
Increase in listenership numbers but no increase in ad revenue. This is the situation that
every radio channel is facing.
Getting copyright licenses from the government for running mega events which are aired
on the AIR radio station and have been restricted to be aired on other private stations.
Launching a radio station with 24-hour news channel
Tie-ups with BEST or railway authority for playing the FM in train and in bus.
The launch of Private Radio FM has managed to create a set of ‗New Listeners‘ for the
The new radio stations which will come in future they can have venture with the college
or university campuses. And can play their station which will exclusively provide with
the information relating to that university/college campus.
With the coming of the many more new players in the radio industry each channels can
position themselves quite different from others, like, if some station is targeting the
health conscious people then their programming strategy will vary accordingly. And then
it is easier for the advertisers also to decide on which channel to advertise.
Allowing private FM players to start news and current affairs programs.
One has to constantly innovate, and that is the challenge. Brand building is thus much
more difficult. At the same time, we are very bullish, and gung-ho about this whole
Leaves huge scope for innovation in local market
The biggest threat to private radio industry players is ALL INDIA RADIO. AIR is the
biggest player in India because of its reach, low charges, government channel etc…
Because of the new government policies there will be more number of stations and then
competition will also increase. This is one of the biggest threats it faces. With no
particular differentiation in the music. So, there is a fear of losing its brand loyalty.
INDIAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY FOCUS 2010
Radio is a mass medium and therefore ideally suited for India - leveraging its twin advantages of
wide coverage and cost effectiveness. It is dominated by the state owned All India Radio (AIR),
which covers 91 percent7 of India's area and reaches 99 percent of the population, through a wide
network of broadcasting centers and transmitters. Apart from AIR, there are 21 privately-owned
FM stations in 12 major cities, all of whom have been granted licenses over the past 3-4 years.
Advertising is the sole source of revenue for radio in India. Currently, the sector generates
annual revenues of INR 2.2 billion and is growing at around 20 percent annually. This implies a
marginal rise in radio's share in the advertising pie to around 1.9 percent. Given that
commercialization of radio is still in a nascent stage in India, this growth rate is far from
As a result of unsustainably high license fees, the sector has been reeling under heavy losses. A
few FM stations have been forced to shut down, as they could not afford to pay the annual
license fees, set at levels significantly above their earning capacity. If one considers the private
sector FM market in Mumbai, four players cumulatively generate annual revenues around INR
250-300 million, against total operating costs of around INR 550-600 million. Given that a
significant portion of the operating costs is the license fee, which is set to increase at 15 percent
per annum, revenues would need to grow at over 40 percent annually to break even in the next
Today's busy teenagers love radio because it complements a faster-paced lifestyle - they can
listen to music and get information on the move. Younger audiences, particularly those below the
age of 25, also have access to new technology like mobile phones. They have taken very quickly
to interacting with their favorite radio stations and RJs via email and SMS for song requests and
Graph 2: Graph showing FM listeners across age groups
The Indian potential
India has an estimated 180 million radio sets, reaching over 99 percent of its one billion
inhabitants - a clear indication of the vast commercial potential in India for this medium. Plainly,
the radio sector cannot and should not be satisfied with a growth rate in the low 20s. In India too,
it is the younger generation that is the key target audience vis-à-vis radio. While consumption in
India is still largely at home, 'the radio on the move' trend is catching on in urban and semi-urban
areas. The easy availability of FM radio sets at affordable price points (ranging from INR 40-
INR 150) is fuelling its mass penetration.
According to market research, in Mumbai and Delhi, FM penetration is the highest in the SEC A
segment and least in SEC D. Further, 70 percent of radio listeners in these cities listen to FM
radio all seven days of the week. However, this sector has not been able to monetize its hold on
the listener‘s eardrums. In spite of such attractive statistics, in terms of its advertising spend,
radio remains a laggard. It has less than 2 percent share of the total advertising pie in India,
compared to a global average of 8 percent. In the US, radio has a 13 percent share, in Spain 9
percent and closer to home, in Sri Lanka; radio has a 21 percent share of the advertising spend.
We estimate that if its real potential is unlocked in India, commercial radio could account for
approximately 8 percent of media spends in the short to medium term and up to 10-12 percent in
the long term.
Bridging the gap
Due to the public-broadcaster nature of AIR and its socio-economic rather than a commercial
focus, its ad revenues are expected to grow at a moderate pace. Since the private FM channels
need to survive in a commercial and competitive environment, they have focused on mass
entertainment to gather listeners. Hence, it is expected that the private FM channels will drive the
future growth of the sector. To exploit the true potential of this sector, FM radio needs to grow
from the current 21 stations in 12 cities to at least 300 stations in 100 cities. At an investment of
INR 40 million per radio station frequency, the total additional investment required will be INR
11 billion. In its current form and structure, the radio industry will not be able to attract the
TRAI, the designated regulatory body for radio, has proposed a transition from the existing
license fee regime to a revenue sharing one, to help the radio industry curb it losses. It is hoped
that clarity on revenue-sharing emerges, soon. The industry, on its part, needs to develop
strategies to expand across the country and enhance business performance, thereby turning
India's promise into reality. In other words, the challenge confronting radio is to bridge the gap
between the current growth trend and potential growth expectations.
The sales and marketing efforts of the major FM radio stations have focused on the large
advertising clients. This may be partly attributed to the FMCG-marketing background of some of
the managers and partly due to the sales strategy of the multi-media groups that own most radio
stations. However, radio is a unique medium and the focus on large advertisers seems to be at the
cost of its largest potential benefactor - the local retailer. The retail segment globally constitutes
a large part of radio's clients and sales, but currently in India accounts for a small portion of the
radio revenue pie. For example, in USA, 70 percent of all radio revenues come from local
retailers, and only 30 percent comes from either national or international advertisers or from the
network of advertisers. In contrast, in India, retail comprises only 8 percent of radio advertising.
Graph 3: Pie diagram showing the profile of advertisers
Radio, by its very nature, is a localized medium, due to its ability to transmit a particular
message over a small geographical area. The retailer, with city/ locality specific target groups,
can be a major beneficiary of radio advertising. Clearly, there is a need to unlock the advertising
potential in the retail segment. Radio stations offer high frequency ‗opportunity to hear‘ for the
advertiser. International research indicates that radio has 60 percent of television‘s effectiveness
at increasing campaign awareness amongst an audience of 16-44 year old radio listeners.
However, advertising on radio costs just 15 percent that of television. While the price relativity
for other audiences will vary, the achievement of 60 percent of the result at 15 percent of the cost
makes radio significantly more cost effective than television.
The price differential between radio and television will vary depending on the area and the
audience. In India, where the cost of television advertising is more than seven times that of radio
advertising, the cost effectiveness of radio advertising will be even more acute, which can be a
great proposition for local retailers. A high frequency combined with a moderate card rate
(effective rates average between INR 500 to INR 900 per 10 seconds) provides an opportunity
for retail players to promote their products and services cost effectively without fragmentation as
in the case of national or even regional media.
Graph 4: Graph showing the revenue composition of radio
Presently, the advertiser base of FM radio is highly skewed, with around 11 percent of
advertisers contributing 60 percent of their revenues. This should not be the case in a localized,
mass-medium like radio. Ideally, the advertiser base should be broad-based with a large number
of local advertisers promoting their products. While some radio stations are waking up to this
reality, this potential is largely untapped. It is important for the radio stations to highlight the
effectiveness of using radio for local level promotions and region-specific ad campaigns.
Moreover, since many FM players are associated with larger, vertically integrated media
corporations, cross media promotions could be an added incentive for the potential advertiser.
Creation of value packs
Most of the programming currently being aired, whether music or not, has little or no library
value. Very little programming is developed to create any strategic intellectual property. Creating
specific IP whether in the form of RJs, programmed formats or around content areas could have
the dual advantage of being re-usable in the future and being syndicated across other channels.
Interactivity is a major content driver within the radio programming strategy. However, if the
topics discussed are not affected by the 'regency' factor, there is enough potential to create a
library of recordings that can be used beyond a single show. Such content, when re-broadcast,
saves the cost of producing new content and generates newer revenues by offering brand
association with such a property at reasonably low rates. Besides, such content can be exported
for broadcast in other countries where the demand for Indian content is considerable. Creation of
a good software library can become a source of competitive advantage for a radio player.
Internationally, content specialization has been a distinct trend in the evolution of radio,
especially FM radio. Radio stations have traditionally grown by attracting specialized audiences.
These stations address specific audiences based on geographic, socio-economic or ethnic or
combination of factors, like a radio station that caters to the African-American population of
New York or a Malayalam channel with Indian content for expatriate Indians in the Middle-East.
Being localized, these channels also meet the demands of local advertisers. Initially, most radio
stations in India started off with a defined niche as well. Between them, they provided the
listener with a choice of English, Hindi and mixed content. However, the pressure to sell airtime
forced them to resort to the lowest common denominator - Hindi film music. Very few have held
on to the English format or even non-film content.
Channels that started out with English programming as a key differentiator have drastically
reduced the total airtime dedicated to it. Since there is very little to differentiate between the
various channels, the resultant effect is constant channel swapping by listeners. Radio stations
have not been able to generate any significant channel loyalty. In fact, a closer look reveals that
even programmed loyalty does not exist, with listeners simply switching from song to song. This
me-too approach towards content has a direct implication on the marketing of the radio channels
as any message or campaign carried by it runs the risk of being lost in the clutter. Hence, there is
an urgent need to evolve programming towards differentiated content. It may also require a shift
from mass marketing of the radio channels to marketing programs targeted at specific market
segments. Validation of niche audiences would enable differentiated client targeting with unique
value propositions. With limited sponsored market research done in this area, radio stations find
it difficult to market their USP. However, these radio stations need not look beyond their walls to
get valuable listener data. The innumerable contests and interactive sessions on air bring in close
to 30,000 callers every day for a single channel in a city like Mumbai - a valuable database that
is currently under leveraged. Radio stations will need to start finding their own niche. Channels
that address specialist listener groups need to emerge.
The most conspicuous item on the expense list is 'salaries'. The salary structure in radio is
comparable to that of other larger media units. This is driven by the fact that radio stations hire
people from high wage industries like television, FMCG marketing or advertising. This has led
to the creation of a people-cost structure that is incompatible with the current size and revenue
earning capacity of the radio industry. While it is necessary to incur reasonable manpower costs
in order to stay competitive and attract the best talent, innovative cost management solutions
such as the right mix between live and recorded music could reduce production and salary costs.
Branding plays an important role in establishing a strong channel and program association
amongst listeners. The key word is 'association'. What the listener associates with is the quality
of content. Brands that have spent more on marketing have a higher recall, but that does not
necessarily translate into higher listenership, particularly in a market where lack of niche
programming has resulted in constant surfing for songs of choice. Some private FM stations have
incurred large costs on building merely 'Top of Mind Recall' for all listeners, irrespective of their
preference or affinity to the station. But as the market matures and niche channels develop with
defined target groups and unique value propositions, branding exercises will become more
meaningful. Channel brands and programs will be associated with niche content and specific
listener profiles that can be sold to potential advertisers.
There is no doubt about the effectiveness of radio when it comes to building brands for its
clients. For example, brands like Binaca / Cibaca and Bournvita were built on radio. These
programs rode on extremely successful content formats. Branding is expensive and therefore,
radio stations with limited budgets need to make a choice between channel branding and
program branding. What could work better for them would be a combination of two. Programs
that are aligned to channel positioning can ride on the channel branding, while other programs
should develop their individual brands, without diluting the channel positioning.
India's radio industry has a strong growth potential if mechanisms and policies are put in place to
provide it with appropriate support. India, with its diverse regional influences, is in a prime
position to take advantage of the growth potential of this segment. With privatization gathering
momentum, the increased number of private radio channels across the country is likely to
transform commercial radio from an urban phenomenon to a national one, as has been the case
with satellite television.
Advertising in India:
India has been among the fastest growing economies in the world, with a nominal GDP
CAGR8 of 9.94% over the last 10 years (1995-2005). The nominal GDP for fiscal 2005 was Rs.
30,636 billion. According to CSO estimates nominal GDP growth for fiscal 2006 is estimated at
10.9%. There is a correlation between the economic growth rates of a country i.e. the nominal
GDP growth rate, and growth rates of the advertising industry
The Indian advertising spends, as a percentage of GDP, is 0.34%, which lags behind other
developed and developing countries
Graph 5: Graph showing the ad spend across countries (Source: www.sebi.gov.in)
During fiscal 2005, the gross advertising spend in India is estimated at Rs 111 billion, and is
expected to grow at 14.2% to reach Rs. 127 billion by fiscal 2006
Segmentation in advertising
The five key industry segments comprise print, television, radio, cinema, and outdoor. These
different segments within the industry are at varying stages of growth and corporatization
Media Spends as % of Total Ad Spend
Year Print TV Radio Cinema Outdoor Internet
2000 49.0% 39.3% 2.5% 0.5% 8.4% 0.3%
2001 48.4% 40.6% 2.7% 0.4% 7.5% 0.4%
2002 47.2% 41.9% 2.9% 0.7% 7.0% 0.4%
2003 46.6% 43.0% 2.9% 0.7% 6.5% 0.4%
2004 46.3% 43.7% 2.9% 0.6% 6.0% 0.3%
Table 1: Table showing media spends in the total ad spend (Source: www.sebi.gov.in)
The Indian television industry has grown rapidly, especially since 1991, which saw the
beginning of satellite broadcasting in India. This growth was also aided by the economic
liberalization program of the Government. The growth of the satellite television audience saw
proliferation of a number of satellite television channels offering more choices to media buyers
and consumers of entertainment. Thus, the television broadcasting business, which started off as
a single government controlled television channel, now has over 300 channels covering the
Indian footprint, resulting in growing ad spends on this medium. Reforms and proliferation of
private players were the key reasons for this rapid growth of the share of television in the
RADIO TRENDS IN INDIA & ABROAD: A MADISON INDIA STUDY
It is ironical that while India has the second highest9 penetration of C&S homes in the world,
radio has suffered from shunted growth. This can be attributed to misdirected policies by
government, which did not give enough prominence to radio as a rich medium for entertainment
and also for community development.
Going by the International benchmark, even 150 stations across India is a sustainable
proposition. There are more than 6000 radio stations in US and even a developing country like
Nigeria has 18 FM stations. In most markets, radio manages to garner around 4-5% of the mass
media spend. In some countries like Sri Lanka, radio accounts for 20% of ad spend. It is
estimated that in 2001, American radio commanded US$3.2 Billion out of US$60 Billion spent
on mass media. In India, currently radio is able to garner less than 1% of the total ad pie of Rs.8,
600 crore. Madison media estimates that by 2004, advertisers will spend around Rs. 500 crore on
radio. This will constitute around 4 % of the enlarged ad pie.
While growth of the radio broadcast industry looks exciting, there are numerous issues facing the
radio broadcasters. However, the industry feels that these are mere start-up issues; radio should
feature in the media planner's radar as a serious medium.
Today, media planners are quite at loss as there is inadequate information on this medium.
International experiences show two distinct trends in evolution of radio business
Consolidation - Typically, there is a surge of activity when the media is liberalized but over a
horizon of five to six years, consolidation is inevitable and stations groups are formed that
controls most of the revenues. For instance, in UK four media groups control nearly 60% of ad
revenue. We expect similar consolidation exercise in India. Radio stations that are part of
established media houses would do well. Publications having strong city edition will do have an
advantage as they already have infrastructure to marshal local advertisers and also keep a tab on
the pulse of the city citizens.
Specialization - Internationally, radio stations have grown by attracting niche audiences (like a
Hispanic channel in US or a Malayalam channel in gulf) and local advertisers. As of today, if
one goes by Mumbai experience, the concept of niche programming has not yet caught the
imagination of the broadcaster and audiences find it almost impossible to distinguish one from
another. Madison Media expects that the evolutionary pressures will prevail in India and radio
stations will increasingly find their own niche. For instance, we expect that by year 2004,
emergence of stations that address only specialist audience groups - like a special radio station
dedicated to south Indians residing in Mumbai or a station that caters exclusively to college
going population. Such specialist channels will be ideal medium for advertisers, as they will have
access to well defined captive audience.
Radio Audience Measurement
The question haunting most advertisers and media planners is regarding the audience
measurement that will be adopted for Radio. As it is early days in India, station owners and
advertising agencies on ad hoc basis are conducting research. We expect the trend to continue for
some more time till significant advertising monies are committed on radio.
Even internationally, radio audience research has not matured to the extent of television audience
measurement. The popular rating system for radio that is used in US is the Arbitron's RADAR
(Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) audience report. It measures National radio
audiences and the audience size of radio commercials aired on 31 radio networks operated by
large radio networks. Till recently, RADAR report was based on a 12,000-person telephone
survey. However, the next round of RADAR plans to shift reliance from telephone survey to
diary-based panel for data collection. There has been some academic discussion on use of
"meters" in radio sets to determine listenership. However, these are many years away from being
put to commercial use. The prime reason for inadequate advancement in radio audience
measurement technique has been the small share of ad pie that radio commands and also the vast
We expect that over a period of time, audience measurement technique for radio will improve
and a currency will be established for buying commercial time and selection of alternatives. In
the mean time, we suggest that advertisers should not ignore the media owing to non-availability
of any established audience measurement data. Indicative surveys are being conducted and
published periodically by research agencies. Advertising agencies also conduct periodic dipstick
surveys. Madison Media routinely undertakes studies on radio usage.
Key Findings from Madison Media Research -
Radio has a reach of 56% and there is a distinct skew towards males.
Radio Mirchi is the most popular station and is tuned by people in SEC A and B.
People listen to FM at home (70%), while driving (32%), at public places (9%) and at the
Almost 51% of the people listen to FM for an average time of one hour and another 39%
listen to FM for a longer period of 1-3 hours.
Sunday listenership is dramatically low with only 10% of the people tuning in to FM vs.
weekdays where the number of tune-ins is as high as 94%.
Majority of the people listen to Hindi film songs (63%), followed by Hindi pop (40%),
remixes (37%) and English pop (33%).
Best Practices that have evolved in using the medium:
While the audience measurement is still in infancy, users of radio as an advertising medium can
benefit from extensive work carried out in area of media effectiveness. Most of these studies
have been conducted in developed markets like UK and USA. The most impressive in this genre
of research has been the Radio Recall Research (RRR), which tested 1200 commercials with 200
respondents per commercial.
This exhaustive study was conducted in early 1980s and subsequent research added to the body
of available knowledge. It will be incorrect to directly transplant those learning are in Indian
context. However, they are invaluable in providing directions and we at Madison Media have
distilled these findings, adapted to Indian context and arrived at set of best practices for radio
Create Unique Properties - studies clearly demonstrate that properties created on radio are cost
effective and have advantage of high recall. International experience suggests that music oriented
properties targeted at youth last long and provide immense benefit to advertisers. Closer home,
"Binaca Geet Mala" on radio was as one of the best media properties. To create such high
decibel properties, advertisers should be willing to enter early and commit long term investment.
It might take some time before the properties start to reward the advertisers and advertisers
should be willing to fork out the extra premium now before the medium gets established.
Exploit Drive Time Audiences - the traditional bastion of radio has been the "In car" listening.
However, given the low penetration of ownership of personal cars in India, we do not expect car
owners to be the largest audience for radio. It is not important whether in-car listeners will form
the bulk of listenership base. It is more important to understand that radio will be the best
medium to target upwardly mobile high spending executives and businessmen. Studies have
demonstrated that in-car listeners are light consumers of other media like television, making
radio a very effective medium. A study by Voice of British Advertisers shows that radio is the
most effective medium to target businessmen. There are mixed reports with regard to station
switching behavior among in car listeners. A research by Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), UK
indicates, contrary to popular myth, that nearly 85% of in-car audiences do not shift stations
frequently. However, other studies indicate there is extremely low loyalty among in car listeners.
In any case, it is undeniable that for brands that target at affluent section of the society need to be
actively associated with radio. In other markets, many successful service brands especially those
in office supplies and financial services have benefited tremendously by judicious use of radio.
Exploit Imagery Transfer - A study by Statistical research Inc. shows that three out of four
consumers who watch a television spot will "replay" the visual image mentally when they hear a
radio commercial for the same brand. This is called Imagery Transfer. Another series of studies
called "distraction study" tried to simulate the fact that radio listening is always secondary
activity. These tests also indicated that listeners were able to create and keep images fresh and
top-of-mind even when engaged in other task. It is through imagery transfer that radio creates a
synergy with television. Recent studies have shown that Sonic branding, where aural brand
elements are used is very effective in sustaining brand's recall (tring tring of Britannia). Creation
of sonic branding reduces long term cost of advertising, as one need not air the complete
commercial to register recall. As can be fathomed, radio can be advantageously used in creating
sonic elements of a brand.
Effective Radio Copy Management - studies have clearly established that length of the
commercial had a positive impact on the advertisement. In general, spots of 45 seconds or more
were effective. RRR studies also indicate that more brand mentions in the commercial were good
for ad recall and was more effective when the brand was mentioned early in the advertisement.
Moreover, fatigue factor is high with radio commercials. The ads that were repeated too often
were disliked. Copy variation can offset this fatigue and it is suggested to have three variants of
the same theme. Though airing multiple variants is recommended, there is evidence, which state
that simultaneous airing of more than 5 executions leads to decay in effectiveness. As in any
other media, ads that were liked had higher impact.
Radio Multiplier Effect - apart from RRR, another monumental study is the Millward Brown
study on radio multiplier effect. Millward Brown conducted the study across October 1999 to
April to find out how effective radio advertising can be relative to television. This study involved
nearly 5500 interviews in continuous research to track awareness and attitudes to 17 brands. The
media tested were Commercial Radio and television in the Central Region of UK. The broad
findings of the study proved that radio was, on an average, three-fifths as efficient as television at
driving advertising awareness amongst radio listeners; used in conjunction with a television
campaign, it proved to be an effective medium; and in general, if 10% of a given television
budget is re-deployed onto radio, the efficiency of the campaign in building awareness increases
on average by 15% as shown in table below: (Source: rab.co.uk)
The study highlighted that radio effectiveness result was achieved at one-seventh of the cost. Of
course, this cannot be taken as a thumb rule as there will be wide variance between rates in U.K
and other markets. However, the study makes a strong case for advertisers to divert a small
portion of their TV budget to radio.
Radio offers tremendous opportunities for advertisers and media planners need to explore
various options by which they can effectively use radio in their media mix. Conversely,
broadcasters need to develop the market by being more responsive to the advertiser's needs. This
will provide an opportunity for the market to arrive at the final verdict on the effectiveness of the
FM RADIO INDUSTRY: RISK FACTORS
The FM radio industry derives almost all its revenues from advertisement. The radio stations are
free to air and do not garner any subscription revenues, thus making them totally dependent on
advertisement revenues. Advertising is a discretionary expenditure and is the first one to be
pruned in case of an economic slowdown. Thus, the major marketers advertising on radio may
cut their ad budgets in case of an economic downturn. This would adversely affect the radio
Little differentiation between different FM radio stations
The content played on different FM radio stations is very similar in nature. Most of them play
popular film and pop music and very few cater to the niche audience such as English rock music
lovers or Indian classical music lovers. This is happening because one player is allowed to own
only one station in every city. Thus the FM radio operators are not willing to take a risk by not
catering to the mass segment. This is hurting the growth of the FM radio industry as people who
prefer niche music genres are not tuning into FM radio. Besides this, people frequently switch
between stations leading to listenership fragmentation.
Competition from satellite radio
Many of the restrictions that apply to FM radio broadcasters do not apply to satellite radio
broadcasters. At present, multiple channel ownership by a FM broadcaster in the same city is not
permitted; however, the current satellite broadcaster in India is offering multiple channels. FM
broadcasters cannot broadcast news and current affairs 24 hrs a day whereas satellite
broadcasters can do so through a dedicated station. FM radio is limited to a small range around
the transmission site while the satellite signals cover the entire country. Satellite radio
broadcasters do not have to pay any license fee whereas FM radio broadcasters have to pay 4%
of their gross revenues as license fees. This favorable treatment meted out to satellite
broadcasters may adversely affect the growth of the FM radio industry. However, the satellite
radio broadcaster WorldSpace operating in India has not been able to meet with much success. In
fact, in India, WorldSpace lost 8,713 net subscribers during 3QFY07, ending the period with
164,902 subscribers. Besides this, satellite radio has high subscription charges whereas FM radio
is free to air.
High music royalties
FM radio broadcasters have to pay high royalties to the music companies for the music content
procured from them. However the broadcasters can enter into a voluntary agreement with
Phonographic Performance Limited and The Indian Performance Right Society Limited at high
rates or under the rates determined by the courts of law to minimize their expenses.
Threat from digital technologies
Digital broadcasting technologies like Satellite/Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) using the FM
band and Digital Radio Mondial (DRM) using the AM band are becoming popular worldwide.
There is efficient utilization of spectrum in case of digital broadcasting, enabling the broadcast of
multiple radio stations. The quality of digital broadcast is better than analog transmission.
However, digital receivers are more expensive than analog receivers. In Western Europe, a few
countries are looking at a total switch off of analog broadcasting (FM/AM) by 2020 or so.
Norway is the only country that has formally announced a cutoff date. But with analog TV likely
to be switched off in India in the next 5-7 years, radio‘s turn could come in the next 10-15 years.
There is intense competition between the FM radio operators operating in the same city. All of
them are clamoring for the same advertisers, listeners and need to procure similar content. The
number of FM radio stations has increased dramatically leading to a proportionate increase in the
demand for trained personnel. Due to this attrition and poaching have become wide spread.
Thus, there are many risks that could derail the growth of the FM radio industry. We feel that the
major risks are a potential slowdown in the economy, little differentiation between the FM radio
stations and intense competition.
Radio industry: Growth drivers
Fastest growing segment of the media and entertainment industry
The radio industry recorded a growth of nearly 58% in 2006. The share of radio in the total
advertising industry increased from 2.4% to 3.1% during the same year. This is further expected
to increase to 5.5% by 2011 as per the FICCI-PwC report on the Indian entertainment and media
industry. The size of the radio industry is projected to increase at a CAGR of 28% from Rs 5 bn
in 2006 to Rs 17 bn by 2011.
Robust growth of the Indian economy
The Indian economy has grown at a robust rate of 9% and 9.2% in FY06 and FY07 respectively.
The advertisement industry is a proxy to India‘s high economic growth. It grows at a faster rate
in such buoyant times. As per a study conducted by ZenithOptimedia, the media planning and
buying arm of advertising group Publicis, the advertising spend is expected to increase to Rs 367
bn by 2010 from Rs 227 bn in 2007.
Beneficiary of the buoyant growth of major advertisers
The major advertisers on radio are the entertainment channels, real estate firms and retailers. All
these industries are expected to witness robust growth in the years to come. More than 90
channels across various languages and genres are being launched this year. The real estate
industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 25% in the next five years. Organized retail industry
is projected to grow at a CAGR of 40% in the next five years. Radio industry should be a major
beneficiary of the high growth in these sectors.
The target listeners for the radio industry are the youth. 55% of the India population is below 25
years leading to an increase in the audience of the radio industry. The content on radio primarily
comprises of film music. The Indian film industry is getting more organized and receiving more
institutional funding. The quality of music produced is improving which augurs well for the
growth of the radio industry.
Reduction in license fees
The Phase I policy for the privatization of FM radio had a very high fixed license fee structure
with an annual escalation of 15%. In the phase II policy, a revenue sharing formula was
introduced whereby radio companies had to pay a fixed annual license fee of 4% of gross
revenues or 10% of the reserve OTEF (One Time Entry Fee) whichever is higher. The reserve
OTEF was 25% of the highest valid bid for that city.
Availability of listenership data
Leading TV viewership research company, TAM, has recently ventured into radio audience
measurement through a study called RAM (Radio Audience Measurement). The study is
currently restricted to the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Research may cover larger
number of cities in the years to come. Availability of listenership reports is bound to support and
attract larger spends from marketers. Marketers generally wait for adequate research data to
emerge before committing large spends to any medium.
Globally, the local retail segment constitutes a large part of radio's advertising income. As per
the CII-KPMG report, while local advertising contributes 70% of radio revenues in the United
States of America, in India, the share of local advertising is only about 8% of radio revenues.
Ideally, a localized medium like radio can be effectively used for local-level promotions apart
from being bundled as part of cross-media promotion strategies. Thus there is huge potential for
the radio industry to benefit from an expected increase in the share of local advertisements.
Phase III policy
It is expected that after the completion of Phase II Policy, the Government will open up as many
as 700 channels in the Phase III as per some media reports. This phase will witness licenses
being awarded in smaller towns. This could result in radio getting a larger share of the
Though the radio industry has many growth drivers, there are various risk factors also that could
derail the growth of the radio industry. In the next article, we shall outline the risks to the growth
of the radio industry.
Radio as an Advertising medium:
Radio advertising is one of the earliest and most popular forms of advertising in today's world of
mass media. Although television has shifted much of the audience away from radio it is
undisputable that radio is always there. Radio is broadcasted everywhere twenty-four hours a day
and always has the breaking news. Walter Cronkite11, a famous broadcast journalist, started his
career in radio and concluded, "Radio has its own special strengths and contributions. While TV
pulls the big audience, it's still radio that's there virtually every place, all day, all night. It's radio
that's there when disaster strikes. Radio is that medium of the single sense and frees the
Nearly 98 percent of people listen to the radio primarily for news, talk, entertainment, and sports.
Unlike many other mass mediums radio is much more personal and friendly which attracts large
audiences. Radio audiences have concluded that they listen to the radio, much like television,
because they are either bored or lonely. Although radio did take a severe hit when the television
was introduced into average households they still managed to make a comeback. Radio reaches
77 percent of consumers, and 80 percent of the younger audiences daily, which is remarkably
comparing with the competition. Radio is now the third largest mass advertising media trailing
newspapers and of course television.
Radio advertising became increasingly difficult with the dawn of the television era which
prompted the need for new ideas to reach the audience. Instead of working against television
which was virtually impossible radio companies began working with them. In the early to mid
90s Fox was having trouble obtaining the younger audience that they wanted so they looked to
the radio. During this time the younger audience was one of the radio's highest audience
Advantage of radio: The most important advantage radio offers is its ability to reach specific
audiences through specialized programming. In addition, radio can be adapted for different parts
of the country and can reach people at different times of the day. For example, radio is the ideal
means of reaching people driving to and from work.
Known as drive time, these radio time slots provides the best audience for many advertisers.
Pizza hut12, for instance, reached out to its target audience of women making dinner choices by
using radio during 4 to 5 pm time slot.
Radio offers advertisers flexibility. Of all media, radio has the shortest closing period. Copy can
be submitted up to airtime. This flexibility allows advertisers to adjust to local market conditions,
current news events, and even weather. For example, a local hardware store can quickly
implement a snow shovel promotion the morning after a snowstorm. Radio's flexibility is also
evident in its willingness to participate in promotional tie-ins such as store openings races, and so
Radio may be the least expensive of all media. And because airtime costs are low, extensive
repetition is possible. In addition, the costs of producing a radio commercial can be low,
particularly if local station announcers read the message. Radio's low cost and high reach of
selected target groups make it an excellent supporting medium. In fact, the most appropriate role
for most radio advertising in a supportive one.
A universal medium. Can be enjoyed at home, at work, and while driving. Most people
listen to the radio at one time or another during the day.
Permits you to target your advertising dollars to the market most likely to respond to your
Permits you to create a personality for your business using only sounds and voices.
Free creative help is usually available.
Rates can generally be negotiated.
Least inflated medium. During the past ten years, radio rates have gone up less than other
Because radio listeners are spread over many stations, to totally saturate your market you
have to advertise simultaneously on many stations.
Listeners cannot refer back to your ads to go over important points.
Ads are an interruption to the entertainment. Because of this, radio ads must be repeated
to break through the listener's "tune out" factor.
Radio is a background medium. Most listeners are doing something else while listening,
which means your ad has to work hard to be listened to and understood.
Advertising costs are based on ratings which are approximations based on diaries kept in
a relatively small fraction of a region's homes.
Not as fast as using a phone; could take a little bit
The line could get fuzzy, or not clear
Basically in any educational communication, for making it more persuasive and effective visual
aids are very important. In the case of radio, if an educational program is broadcast then the
people who do not have good listening skills cannot understand it. There are a lot of people who
want visual aids like whiteboards, multimedia presentations or hard copies to better understand
the discussion. Lack of visual aids is the major disadvantage of radio in educational
communication. Moreover, body language also plays a very significant role in understanding the
point of view of the other person and it is not viewable in radio communication.
Another thing which is very important in educational communication is to get feedback and
analyze the interest of audience which is also not possible in radio. Therefore, radio is having a
lot of disadvantages for any educational communication.
Strategic Roles of Radio
As Commercial Radio developed in the early days, its key strengths were seen as primarily
tactical - fast turnaround, low capital cost and local flexibility. These days however, while the
traditional strengths still apply, radio is increasingly being used for strategic roles.
Dominant share of mind
Share of mind can be described as the extent to which a brand makes itself salient within the
consumer's mind - this is often the most challenging task in sectors where there are several top-
parity brands, and/or high levels of competitive activity.
The ability of radio to create dominant share of mind is a product of its intrusiveness and the
high frequency with which ads are broadcast.
Brands like the Carphone Warehouse13 have used this unique characteristic of radio to develop
an unassailable lead within their category.
Support to other media
Young people are of course consumers of several media, and campaigns which use only one
medium can miss out on the "media multiplier effect". Because of its inherent characteristics,
radio can work in a complementary way to other media.
With TV it is traditionally used to add to the length of a campaign or to fill weeks where there is
no TV activity - it can also be used to explain products or services in more depth, or to include
additional information. Brands in fast-changing areas like retail or financial services often use
radio for its ability to put over several different messages as an overlay to a core TV campaign
(multiple executions in radio are very inexpensive compared to TV).
Radio also works exceptionally well with TV if there is creative synergy, most conspicuously in
the form of a Sonic Brand Trigger.
To press, radio above all adds intrusiveness, because levels of ad avoidance with print are so
high. Radio can also, like TV, bring things to life - for services or corporate advertising this can
be very valuable in adding personality and tone of voice.
Young people, because of their inexperience, often need the benefits of products or services
explained to them before they can make a decision to purchase - for example, a bank account, or
a promotional offer.
Radio is particularly useful for this as it uses the human voice in real-time. This means that the
young people do not have to wade their way through extensive reading material before they even
know what the proposition is.
Speaking from inside youth culture
As the qualitative research illustrates, young people begin to move away from their parents'
world of choices and preferences, and to set up their own world independently. Inevitably this
means that some media are seen as outside that independent world - newspapers for example.
Radio, as a personal "me-medium", allows the advertiser to speak from inside the so-called
As the respondents said in the research, they feel as though the people on the radio treat them
like adults - leaving their parents out of the equation. Tone of voice is a key issue with
advertising strategies in this territory.
The evidence from the qualitative research is that young people feel their local FM station is
aimed at people like them, but the advertising is not - they feel, probably quite correctly, that
most advertising is aimed at adults.
However, because radio is a real-time intrusive medium, they have to sit through the full length
of any ads which are for irrelevant products.
There was evidence of three sorts of advertising memories:
Relevant: Ads which mentioned areas or names of specific interest, e.g. films, outlets selling
favored brands, concerts
Vague/ not relevant: Memories of ads for local garages, cars and insurance companies - little or
no specific detail remembered
Sonic Brand Triggers: Much evidence of children's ability to pick up on musical SBTs and sing
them out loud
It seems clear from this analysis that children are very selective in their attention, and are
strongly influenced by relevance of the brand or product advertised.
It would follow that, since they expect most ads to be irrelevant to them, care must be taken in
the creative work to overcome this expectation - through linking to the relevant topic,
involvement, surprise, tone of voice etc.
Tone of voice is a key area with radio: young people can tell when they are being addressed as
equals, and when they are not.
Young people pick up very strongly on musical Sonic Brand Triggers, even for seemingly
RADIO STATIONS ACROSS BANGALORE:
Red FM: Red FM is an Indian FM14 radio brand, with
stations broadcasting at 93.5 megahertz in the cities of
Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Pune in addition to Bhopal,
Gwalior, Jabalpur, Indore, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur,
Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Gulbarga, Kochi, Trivandrum, Trissur, Kannur, Kozhikode,
Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Vizag, Warangal, Rajahmundry, Tirupathi, Ahmedabad, Rajkot,
Vadodara, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Asansol, Siliguri,
Gangtok, Guwahati, Jamshedpur, Shillong and Aizwal. It was launched in 2002, playing a mix of
Hindi and English songs. However, the programming is now 100% exclusively Hindi.
The channel is owned by Kalanidhi Maran, with a 48.9% stake, as well as minority holdings of
Hyderabad-based IT company Value Labs, NDTV, Astro. It was acquired from India Today
promoter Living Media in January 2006. Their punchline is 'Baja ate Raho' (Keep Playing). The
most widely broadcast shows include "Morning No.1", "Dilse", "Mumbai Local", "One Two ka
Four", "Mera Wala Gana", "Superhits Music Show", "RDX", "Indore Beats" and "Nomoshkar
Kolkata". In one of the recent developments at Super Hits Red FM 93.5 Virag Mishra joined the
team as a National Creative Head. Virag the recipient of the esteemed Stardust Award for
standout performance as a lyricist is from advertising background. Starting August 14, 2009, S
FM or Suryan FM was re-branded into RED FM across 38 cities in INDIA. S FM took over Red
FM in August, 2009 and re-branded all its stations to Red FM except for the ones in Tamil Nadu.
Radio Indigo: Radio Indigo 91.9FM15 - The color of music,
Soul of Bangalore is the country's first and only international hit
station. This is a Jupiter Capital venture. Radio Indigo is the only
radio station in the country that plays contemporary international
music. Playing all the hits all the time, Radio Indigo caters to Bangalore and Goa's long-standing
tradition and a vibrant community of music aficionados. The station plays a vibrant array of
genres like pop, classic rock, hip-hop, jazz, world music and much more.
Having headquarters in Bengaluru, Radio Indigo 91.9 has now emerged as the hottest radio
station connecting to the most happening International music from around the world. And they
are so exclusive that they are broadcasting only to Bengaluru and Goa. It‘s International with an
Indian soul. The listeners are exposed to a prescribed dose of music or whatever gets their
The station is talking to all those who reflect the Youth and love music. Of course the audience
hears favorites like Rohit Barker, Saggy, Melodee Austin, Ryan Seacrest, Michelle and Allen
Kepler, but the new cowboys on the bandwagon are Kenny Jones, Christabel, Sriram, Suraj and
Shweta taking their shows to the extreme and rocking the studios literally.
The station has today become a house-hold name and those who have grown to love the station
are sneaking it in their homes, cars and office. But like all good things in this world, Radio
Indigo 91-9 has evolved to brilliance through bigger promotions & prizes.
AIR FM Rainbow: AIR FM Rainbow, run by All India Radio16
is a national radio station, heard all across India. This
government owned enterprise, features Hindi and regional
language songs and occasional English songs along with hourly
news bulletins in English, regional language and also in Hindi. In Bhopal, it operates on 102.1
megahertz in Hindi cum. English language covering more than 12 districts of Madhya Pradesh
and 21 Suburbs in Bhopal City. In MP, it is also known as "Rainbow FM". In Delhi, it operates
on 102.6 megahertz and AIR FM Rainbow Delhi is the only FM Channel to be aired in as many
as ten cities. In Mumbai, it operates on 107.1 megahertz. In Lucknow, it uses the 100.7 MHz
slot. In vizag, it operates on 102 megahertz. In Hyderabad, it operates on 101.9 megahertz and in
Vijayawada it operates on 102.2 megahertz. It operates in Bangalore as well with a frequency of
101.3. It was earlier called FM Metro; the name was changed to FM Rainbow in 2002. The
signals of this station are very strong and it catches till the far villages. The channel plays various
genres of music unlike private channels; it does not stick to music of just one language. It plays
ghazals, soundtracks as well as English songs, a rare occurrence in Indian radio channels.
Rainbow is one of very few Indian radio channels which air Western Music and the western
music slots are really popular with listeners. It has many western music programs like Time Out,
Take off, Matchless music hours, Live wire Plus, Wicked Hour, Footloose, You asked for it, Just
for you, Radio pet house, not only this it also has classical music shows. Almost all the radio
jockeys on private FM channels once started with FM Rainbow. National Radio Station in
Trichy, AIR FM Rainbow operates on 102.1 megahertz in Tamil language covering more than 12
districts of Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, this radio channel is also known as "Rainbow FM". In
Delhi, AIR FM Rainbow operates on 102.6 megahertz and AIR FM Rainbow Delhi is the only
FM Channel to be aired in around ten cities. In Mumbai, it operates on 107.1 megahertz, while in
Lucknow, it uses the 100.7 MHz slot. In vizag, AIR FM Rainbow is heard on 102 megahertz.
The popular slot for English music called Radio Raptures on AIR FM Rainbow is aired everyday
from 7am to10am and from 10pm to 1am and it has earned a very good audience with the
passing years. Some of the radios Jockeys of AIR FM Rainbow are Altaf, Raunak, Sunny,
Wasim, Aditi and Sohail.
FEVER 104 FM: In 2006, FEVER 104 FM17, India's youngest,
hippest and most happening Radio Station that plays more music
than any other was launched. Fever 104 FM, owned by HT
Media Limited, was formed in technical collaboration with the
Virgin group. The company entered the private FM radio market in the four main cities of Delhi,
Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata with the brand Fever 104 FM. Fever 104 FM is a contemporary
hits music station that plays a mix of regional, national and international hits. It plays the latest
hits, all day, all the time across the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, with its
signature property of 40 minutes non-stop music. Fever 104 FM with its tagline ‗It's all about the
music!‘ entered the FM radio market in key Indian cities. It is available in Delhi (since October‘
06), Mumbai (since January ‘07), Bangalore (since March ‗07) and Kolkata (January ‗08). In a
short span of three years, the channel's rise has been meteoric. It has gained the No. 1 position in
Mumbai and Bangalore leaving behind all the other FM channels in these cities. In terms of TSL,
Fever 104 FM has surged ahead with a total time spent listening of 386 minutes. It is No.2 FM
station in Delhi on the popularity charts.
Radio One: Radio One18 is a radio station in India. It was
launched on June 8, 2006 in Mumbai before going national in 6
more cities. It is a joint venture between Mid-day Multimedia and
BBC Worldwide and operates in 7 metros namely Mumbai, Delhi,
Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Ahmadabad. Soon the service of Radio One will also be
started in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Jaipur. The station broadcasts at 94.3 MHz in all cities