On the occassion of World Radio Day, we interacted with Mr. Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City and asked him about the future of radio and how they are unleashing innovation and new ideas into this exciting industry.
Here are the interview highlight:
1) According to you, has digital broadcasting helped mainstream radio flourish alongside tech-enabled entertainment?
Radio is a significant communication platform owing to its unique ability to reach a large set of listeners and leverage human interactions even in the digital age. The Indian audience is undergoing a transformation in their media consumption habits, making it an opportune time for the radio industry to delve into the world of digital while maintaining radio as the core business function. The widespread adoption of digital technologies has contributed to the growth of the broadcasting industry. Radio stations are now able to reach a broader set of audience and produce more diversified content that can be broadcasted across multiple platforms. New-age technologies such as artificial intelligence can aid in identifying relevant and trending content pegs, music preferences to improve efficiency, target a wider audience, and interact with listeners in exciting new ways.
Furthermore, digital broadcasting has made it possible for RJs to communicate with their listeners beyond on-air hours via social media platforms, which has contributed in augmenting the audience base. Digital technologies are also allowing radio stations to automate routine tasks such as pre-recorded shows, advertisements, and music in order to emphasize producing original and unique campaigns as well as IPs. Overall, I believe that tech-enabled entertainment has aided to upkeep of mainstream radio, invigorating it with further growth and diversification.
2) The most anticipated Hitlist OTT Awards have always sought to continue the legacy of honouring the game-changers in the OTT entertainment space. What are your expectations about the upcoming Season 4?
The OTT industry has been thriving and witnessing astounding growth as consumers have become accustomed to consuming content using online platforms for entertainment. Radio City along with Mid-Day launched Hitlist OTT awards in 2020 with the objective of rewarding the stalwarts of the OTT industry. The past three seasons of Hitlist OTT Awards have been spectacularly successful owing to the overwhelmingly positive response from the audience who showered millions of votes to choose their favorite talent. The shows and movies awarded on these platforms have earned the respect and admiration of fans across the country. We have recently launched season 4 of the most credible people’s choice Hitlist OTT awards to acclaim and recognize the game changers for their innate talent and content innovation. Within one week of launching season 4, Hitlist OTT awards received a whopping 3.8 million votes from the audience. We are confident that this year, Hitlist OTT awards will be more electrifying and majestic, continuing to maintain its stance as the most sought-after awards for the OTT industry in India.
3) Radio City Freedom Awards is the most prudent endeavour to promote ‘indie’ music. What was the reaction to this spectacular display?
While indie artists have always been part of India’s rich musical heritage, digital platforms what has driven their recent rise, giving them a welcome alternative. Throughout its existence, Radio City has made great strides to recognize new talent through thought-provoking IPs. In 2013, Radio City established Freedom Awards to celebrate the work of independent artists and other creative professionals. Through Radio City Freedom, we aspire to provide a medium to the indie artists for exhibiting culture through music by recognizing their determination and celebrating the history and nuances of folklore. With our twofold mission to provide artists a platform to share their musical journey, and to enlighten listeners with the highest quality music in a variety of genres, we have been promoting the indie culture across on-air and online platforms. With the theme ‘Sounds of the Soil’, the previous season of Radio City Freedom Awards played a pivotal role in recognizing and augmenting the rise of Indie artists in India. Radio City is gearing up to launch Season 7 of Freedom Awards with this year’s theme ‘Bridging Boundaries’.
4) How does Radio City maintain its competitive edge in the present day?
Radio City has continually adapted to new-age formats to maintain relevancy and credibility among its listeners. Currently, an average consumer spends around six hours per day consuming content across multimedia platforms. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop a stronger connection with our audience, as it allows us to interact with them via radio as well as social media channels. Radio City is on a digital transformation journey where we integrate radio plus digital solutions namely ‘Radigitalization’. This integration is the gradual way forward strategy for the growth of our business as it offers boundless opportunities for us to reach our audience across the length and breadth of the country. We have adapted and enhanced our offerings to tap into the new age audiences by utilizing the power of radio plus digital. We are effectively optimising our new offerings by designing engaging podcasts in regional languages, conducting video interviews with celebrities & well-known artists, amplifying our radio IPs on digital platforms as well as launching creative campaigns. Radio City is focused on building a robust entity across radio and digital platforms to establish a more meaningful relationship with the listeners and advertisers.
5) What is the strategic plan of Radio City for FY23-24?
The core business focus for FY23-24 for Radio City is to offer a fine blend of radio plus digital solutions to the brands allowing them to optimize traditional radio advantages along with new-age offerings. Radio City has implemented its Radigitalization strategy by developing radio & digital combined IPs allowing it to build a strong revenue stream. As influencer marketing has been gaining momentum, it provides us a chance to amplify our RJs for brand collaborations as marketers harping on influencer engagement strategy. From our content strategy perspective, we will continue to develop hyperlocal yet personalized content to reach our audience spread across cities as well as smaller towns. Radio City has a long history of providing its listeners with credible information while also serving as a source of entertainment and inspiration. This year we will also focus on tie-ups with live concerts, online events and campaigns, advertiser-funded activities, on-the-ground activation, movie promotions through our IP Cineverve, and other similar initiatives to drive revenue in our business.