Interview: Radio is not limited to FM anymore shares Shivangini Jajoria, Ishq FM

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Ishq FM Shivangini

Shivangini Jajoria, National Head Operations – Ishq FM, sheds light on how Ishq FM works and the evolving radio industry.

With the evolution of the radio industry and the advent of digital radio platforms, Ishq FM does not restrict itself to a platform but attempts to go beyond with good content, explains Shivangini Jajoria, the National Head for Operations at the radio channel, launched during a crucial phase of transforming media. Ishq 104.7 FM focusses on relationships and seeks to tap into relevant insights and capture the sentiments of the masses.

Also, known as the romantic radio channel, Ishq FM comprises various shows and relatable content, which even depict some of the prominent Bollywood stars like Karan Johar and Kareena Kapoor Khan.

Also read: Interview: Raju Vanapala explains citizen journalism at play on Way2News

We speak to her to understand how the radio channel works with the changing times and the trends.

Excerpts:

How has the year 2019 been for radio as a medium in terms of revenue in lieu of the fact that it still occupies 3-4% of media share as per AdEx? Where does 104.8 Ishq stand by the next quarter?

Radio has been doing well and will only improve in terms of revenue going forward. The key reason is that the radio is not limited to FM anymore. 104.8 Ishq is a very young brand and that makes it more powerful in terms of understanding the current needs of the media.

Our focus has always been on creating maximum impact with innovative solutions, which are facilitated through the penetrative reach of radio and the power of digital enabling to address a much larger audience.

Since the roll-out of Phase III, what kind of changes have been seen in the radio sector? What kind of changes do you experience with Ishq?

104.8 Ishq was launched during a very crucial phase of the transforming media. The media space was changing rapidly and the industry was in a “Not only Radio” space. This worked out beautifully for us.

We did the first-ever radio and digital show with the versatile Karan Johar, “Calling Karan”, which has seen two successful seasons already. We broke the internet with another celebrity-led show, “What Women Want with Kareena Kapoor Khan”.

Ishq does not restrict itself to radio alone. Every idea is a concept taken across multiple mediums. Every client idea is a solution which is not limited to radio and is platform agnostic.

What kind of content consumption trends are seen – are there any shows or RJs that have proved to be an instant and consistent hit? What do you think works?

In the long run, the only thing that will work is good content. In the short span of time that 104.8 Ishq has been in the industry, it has treid to change the traditional ways of programming. Some of them being –

“The Gaydio Show” – India’s first-ever LGBTQIA+ show that celebrated all-inclusive love – brought a very important aspect of relationships across genders to the forefront.

“Calling Karan with Karan Johar” was a massive success. It was a show that addressed new-age relationship issues, which caught the eye of young listeners.

“What Women Want with Kareena Kapoor Khan” was a widely popular and much-appreciated show where Kareena brought guests onto the show to discuss relevant, current and imperative topics. The show is available both on radio and our YouTube channel, only made it easier to reach a wider audience as it made the content available for consumption 24X7, 365 days a year.

Ishq has been fortunate to have attracted the best of RJs on its network.

RJ Sarthak, who hosts the mornings in Delhi, is a hit with listeners. His iconic “Battle of the Sexes” segment is now seeing inroads into the celeb world as well. “Ishq Jam with Sarthak” is another show that he has created that brings the indie music scene to the forefront.

The iconic pair of Jaggu & Tarana host the mid-morning show in Mumbai and have been an instant hit with listeners.

IshqKhulKe with Sid K (Siddharth Kannan) is a highly entertaining show where his camaraderie with each and every Bollywood celebrity is refreshing to hear on the airwaves. It’s also available on the Ishq YouTube channel.

With “Do the Ishq, baby tagline, how does 104.8 Ishq plan to differentiate itself in the radio industry?

If you tune into the station once and listen, I am sure that you will always “Do the Ishq, baby!” The station is young and refreshing, the music is beautiful, the jocks are entertaining and informative without being over the top and the content is relatable! Anything and everything we do, bring the listeners back to “Do the Ishq, Baby!”

We have observed some interesting content mix on your YouTube channel like Battle of the sexes, what women want, He vs She and more. Is the content focussed on females or intricacies of relationships? Tell us the idea behind this? How does the Youtube presence and the original content help the radio station?

The content focus is on relationships. Battle of the Sexes, What Women Want, He Vs She, Ishq Quickies, IshqKhulKe – all shows touch upon various aspects of relationships.

Battle of the Sexes is a fun and entertaining show that brings out the nuances of a relationship.

What Women Want revolves around the issues that women face and/or address conversations that affect their relationship with people.

He Vs She is a movie review format on the network from the point of view of both men and women. We are content creators not limited to only the radio space.

Radio is a focus, but why restrict good content to only one medium. We believe that our YouTube presence and the original content enables us to cut across platforms and making ourselves available to the discerning audience at their convenience. The world is our playground!

With competitor brands launching their digital radio platforms, what are your views on the concept? How has this panned out for you?

We are in a time and space where we do not limit competition to other radio brands. Our mantra is “Have Content, Will Expose”. This is what has worked out well for us and there is a lot more than we are in the process of building.

It is said that Ad spots on Radio are not considered as the first option by the marketers or in other words they are not valued on priority. Do you agree with this? If yes, how do you plan to change that? If no, what are the changes you have observed? Do you see advertisers leveraging on 104.8 Ishq for campaigns?

Radio is not limited to just ad spots, so why should advertising be limited to the ad space. If advertisers give us content that the listeners should get exposed to beyond the ad space, we are happy to integrate the same in the programming space as well.

104.8 Ishq limits FCT to 10 minutes an hour, so the uncluttered space works beautifully for our advertisers.

Where the competitor brands localize their brands with regional language content, what do you plan to do in that context 104.8 Ishq being the number one channel for romance?

We are as local as any local media brand. We speak the language of the people in the city, which is not limited to the language of delivery. The content that we air is relatable, is in tune with the times and is relevant for our target audience. Romance is a pillar of Bollywood and yet Bollywood is not the niche. Similarly, 104.8 Ishq is India’s first and only romantic music station, but the content is not romantic alone. Those in love, talk about subjects beyond love and romance and so do we. We certainly have created our niche in the crowded media space with contemporary and relatable content, however, we are not a niche radio station.

What are the major trends you foresee for radio in 2019-2020?

  • Content that is “Not only Radio”
  • Solutions not limited to just one medium – audio
  • Great content available across platforms

In the absence of a credible measurement system in radio, how do you measure the new listeners/audiences on your platform?

We are closely related to our listeners. The anecdotal evidence gives us a lot of confidence in our offering, along with feedback that helps us improve the product. This comes while interacting with our audience on radio, through their messages on social media and the audiences we reach out to when we run highly engaging campaigns such as Ishq in England or even when listeners who wrote to us when Calling Karan went on air – all this is a measure, that helps.

Are we moving towards consolidations, Mergers, and Acquisitions in the radio sector? Do you think that’s the way forward? 

That is one way to look at it. However, the private radio industry is so young in India, there is definitely scope for many more stations to exist independently. If you look at the more radio developed countries, the number of radio stations in existence in the market is incredible and they cater to different music and content requirements and so on. So definitely, more stations do not hurt.

As per the RAM ratings, Big FM and Radio City continue to dominate in major metro cities, do you plan to establish yourself amongst the top 3 in the major cities? What is the road ahead for 104.8 Ishq?

As we are a very young brand, for us ratings are not the measure of success, especially diary method ratings.

Instead, we believe in creating great content, which engages our audience which is the way forward for us. Measurement will follow.

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Aishwarrya Chakraverty
A storyteller and a narrator by heart, vocalist by genes and a thesaurus-bee. Also, an explorer, traveler, and trekker, Aishwarrya has myriads of interests with love for music and movies. Writing is not just a hobby but her first love with a Facebook page on perspectives, channelizing the passion. Got her research paper published with IGI Global US on music. A maverick by nature and a feminist by choice, to challenge stereotypes.

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