How Local should FM Channels be?

If you want to test your local/glocal strategy, Bangalore has to be your testing ground. The city presents a classic cosmopolitan face with a strong local culture. The booming IT/BPO industry has attracted people from all over the country and has made Bangalore what it is today – a city with mixed culture, preferences and of course, chaotic traffic .

Having said that, how much of local element should you add in your product? Do you want to cater to Kannadigas only or the entire audience set (utopian thought, probably!)

FM stations are having a difficult time answering that. Few FM stations are

trying out Kannada + Hindi mix, while few are trying to stay niche by playing selected set only (i.e. pure play, only one language).

Out of the 7 private stations and two of All India Radio in Bangalore, RAM (i.e. Radio Audience Measurement) data reveals that pure play Kannada FM stations comprise 71 % of the market share; and 84 % of Bangalore’s populace prefers Kannada (do you agree with this stat? what’s your preference?)

BigFM  has the biggest marketshare, as per RAM data. [source]. Does that mean pure play works?

Challenges with Niche


Few years back, one of the niche FM stations (was it ‘Go 92.5?’) in Mumbai switched format (from pure english to regular hindi/english mix, much to the agony of listeners) – citing lack of advertisers as the sole reason.

Niche challenge attract niche audience, but most of the advertisers are interested in mass audience.

What do you think? If you were starting a FM channel in Bangalore, what will be your strategy? Where do you see a gap in the current state of things?

Do you think that having a mass appeal music during peak hours (8-10 AM, 6-8PM) and then niche otherwise helps? Could “hindi-only” channel be a good differentiator?

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