Wednesday 4 April 2012

15 Minutes of Fame…

We didn’t get 15 but few minutes of fame on 30th March 2012, @ 03:50 PM. My better half was on-air on a local FM radio station RadioOne 94.3 FM. She SMSed the right answer to the question on a Bollywood film song asked by RJ Anjaan. What she won, well the way I look at it...she won two things: first, couple passes to a movie of her choice and second, which I personally value more than the tangible gratification was the chance to be on-air while the RJ spoke to her...nothing can beat the joy of being on-air and the hedonic value one derives when people call you up to confirm..."hey, was it you we just heard on-air!"
How many of us mango people (aam janta, common people or as Shakespeare would have called...plebeians) get a chance to be on-air in their life time…I’ll say very rare (since we are not business leaders, politicians, prominent social workers or an authority on some subject etc.), and when you are on-air, you try to preserve that fleeting moment, your moment of glory to flaunt it to people you know. It’s not un-common to see people preserve cuttings/edition of newspapers/magazine in which their name appeared. One can even get the recording of the TV channel in which they were on-air (refer my earlier post Record Labels and Media Monitoring), so definitely there should have been a way in which I could have got to keep the radio equivalent of the Kodak moment when my wife was on air. While I still try to get hold of that moment in a tangible form, what crossed my mind was that I may not be the only one who craves for that recording when my near and dear one is on air…does this craving on my part lends itself to an opportunity for the radio stations? Let’s see!
What if the Radio Station Gave Me a Recording of the Moment I was on Air with the Radio Jockey?
First I’ll flaunt it on my digital presence on the web (my 15 minutes of fame!), second, I’ll continue to interact with the station, vide SMSes in the hope to get lucky again, third, this behavior on my part ensures that  in the process I become a loyal listener of this station or program segment. Well the third part is questionable in the event if every other station starts to offer the recording of the moment when the listener was on-airJ. Last but not the least, there are segments on a station wherein there is no tangible gratification but listeners are prompted to share their slice of life…making available the recording of the moment the listener was speaking to the RJ will be a motivation for those who otherwise wouldn’t have dialed in.
What Are the Costs Involved?
There are no free lunches and if the listeners do not demonstrate their loyalty even after being offered the tangible rewards of being on-air, this can well become a millstone around the neck of the broadcaster. Though certain conditions of the FM radio license stipulate that permission holders preserve recordings of broadcast material for a period of three months from the date of broadcast…the real cost will be in terms of the personnel cost to extract parts of the broadcast during which the RJ interacted with the listener, and to record it to a physical media such as a compact disk (another cost head!).
Some of these costs can be mitigated if the interaction is available as a streamed/downloadable link on the website of the radio station, with an option to share the same on social profile of the listener. The interaction can also include the mention of the segment sponsor, thus sweetening the deal of the radio station to the advertisers!
Do the numbers justify all this effort?
FM penetration in Bangalore: 87%
No. of people who tune to FM: 80,00,000 X 87% = 69,60,000
Audience Share of RadioOne: 5% (assumed for a specific day part)
Number of listeners exposed to Call for Action from the Radio Jockey of RadioOne: 69,60,000 X 5% = 3,48,000
Assuming the listener response to be in line with digital media @ 0.25% - 1.5%, the number of listeners who’ll respond to the call for action by the Radio Jockey: 3,48,000 X 0.15% = 522
I have taken the response percentage figure as 0.15% to account for the number of people who do not own a mobile phone, who own a mobile phone but low pre-paid balance, unattractive gratification etc.
Well the above numbers are for a specific day part. Factoring all the day parts, let’s say the total responses on a given day are 1,500.
Is it a good number or a bad number? It’s hard to say unless we have the right context. Will all the respondents want a recording of their interaction with the RJ…maybe not! But the silver lining is, it’s not a big number that it cannot be serviced for making available the recordings of their interaction with station jockeyJ.
Also, not all markets where the station has a presence call for such a provision, a lot will depend upon the programme mix, the station TG, size of the market, number of competing stations in the market, degree of experimentation a station is willing to do etc.
To gauge the increase in user response (on-air and web), the station might invest in a limited pilot in specific city/cities, with those program segments which do not provide for tangible gratification. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
With Phase III rollout of FM, an additional number of 839 radio stations will be available in 227 cities, this may well differentiate some of the stations from others and I hope many more listeners will crave for and cherish their 15 minutes of fame.
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  1. I am impressed with your analysis and enthusiasm about the Radio Industry.

    You have well captured the happiness of an Aam Admi. The morale of the story which I have extracted is small small things can also give you immense happiness and we should cherish every moment.

  2. Hey.
    First off Congrats to your wifey on having won film tickets and a chance to be on radio.

    Your post is really long and its going to take a while to comment on everything you have detailed out here. But as a jist i'll let you know that there are points in your post that are very right and then there are things which are absolutely far from the truth. (Starting with the wrong figure of audience share) *grin*

    Perhaps someday we will find the energy, time and space to discuss this and explain our world to you! :) But from an "non radio professional" (aam aadmi in your words) point of you this is a very insightful blogpost for us radio professionals to further understand our listener aspirations and behaviour! Keep posting and keep giving us your opinions.

    Once again congrats to your wife and It was good reading a well thought of post!

    Anjaan | Programming Head | 94.3 Radio One

    1. Nice Post Himanshu
      Also, great to see Anjaan commenting on this. I think it might be great if Anjaan or someone from his world, blog about their issues and give us Aam admi some inside into what their thinking is, in terms of audience interaction.
      The more knowledge there is in open, the better chances of innovative thoughts and applications coming out. It could be a win-win for all.


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