Mumbai : The Red FM network has rolled out its second FM station in Mumbai with a soft launch of the smartly named and branded Redtro One-Oh-Six-point-Chaar FM – Phir Bajao. The name, which instantly draws from the considerable brand equity of Red FM and its popular Bajaate Raho baseline, presents a retro music station that mainlines on Hindi music from the nineties, and was test-playing for a few days before it was soft-launched on Wednesday afternoon with RJ Pritam’s 11 am to 2 pm post-morning-drive-prime show which played out some handpicked songs from the 90s.
Redtro 106.chaar FM, the network’s second in Mumbai, is the first of the eight Phase III licenses acquired by the company in Mumbai and seven other centres – Srinagar, Jammu, Jodhpur, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Patna, Surat, and Chennai. The Rd FM network already has a considerable national footprint of 48 cities.
Planned as a fun throwback to the times dominated by today’s superstars and 90s poster boys Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan and others, Redtro 106.4 FM has been planned and positioned as “an energetic and exciting radio station that will give a modern twist to the classic retro”, and with the Red FM brand personality and antecedents firmly on its sleeve, will retain the irreverence and boldness of Red FM. A company statement says “REDTRO 106.Chaar will appeal to the matured yet young-at-heart audiences. It, clearly, is not just best music of 90s being played again, it also continues to be the provocative entertainer and ‘station of expression’ that is ingrained in DNA and carries forward the legacy of RED FM network.”
On how Redtro 106.4 FM was born, Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM, says, “Experimenting with formats and genres and bringing relevant innovation to programming is core to our strategic line of thinking. We have been dabbling with the idea of a retro music station for quite some time now. While there’re so many new players making a foray in the market and we aim to grow the market with our newest offering, we were very clear in our minds that we’ve to create a marked differentiation in the way retro is perceived. And that’s how REDTRO 106.Chaar was born. “
On Redtro’s mission and brand personality, Narayanan says, “A format radio channel, REDTRO 106.Chaar aims to diversify retro space and focus on the music of the 90s. It is clearly, ‘Aaj ke zamaane ka retro station’. With RED FM being India’s favourite contemporary hits radio station, and REDTRO going retro, we believe we have a strong and powerful proposition for our listeners and our advertisers alike.”
On the content front, the station will differentiate itself on its most important content half by playing out superhit music of the 90s only. The presenters include RJ Saurabh “with whom you can enjoy your cutting chai every morning with equally cutting sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek, intelligent humor”. He is followed by RJ Pritam, the former big boss contestant, who, from 11 am to 2 pm, will drive and intersperse handpicked 90s songs with “the most sizzling gossip from an industry insider’s perspective”, along with advice on “how to woo the ladies”. The afternoon belongs to RJ Palak who, says the company statement, “ is your shot of inspiration – the epitome of adventure.”
Evening drive prime will be driven by RJ Sudarshan “who will tell you Mumbai’s pulse – what’s trending, every evening.” And RJ Rhicha, “the connoisseur of 90’s music”, is the presenter listeners can tune in to, to “have your heart-to-heart every night.”
So, as Narayanan puts it, “All that’s left to say is ‘Phir Bajao’!”
Half of Mumbai FM now a Retropolitan city?
With Redtro’s arrival, the space for retro music too is becoming more crowded or, well, more vibrant. We had Oye and then, recently Nasha arrived with its cool retro, and now we have Redtro vying for the same listeners, genres-wise. And at night, immediately after drive prime, every other station except Red FM too jumps into the same retro-boat. Plus, of course, throughout the day, Big FM is 100% retro. And there are the AIR FM stations too. Too crowded? Is half of the Mumbai FM Radio stations space becoming a retropolitan city? (And as an aside, this addition helps Radio One stand out even more distinctly as the only English-speaking and playing station.)
And speaking of content uniqueness, in a regulations-restricted space, without news which is the biggest driver of FM internationally, how will radio networks push the envelope beyond pure music play punctuated by the usual RJ-talk? In the constricted space, yet again, it will be the personality of the station and the way it draws and connects with its listeners, that will make all the difference. And from a listeners’ perspective, we’ve seen how Red FM, thanks to an excellent content, marketing and sales team, has excelled and grown on that front.
The glue that holds any FM Radio station is the choice and personality of the music it plays out, and the quality and personality of the RJ remains subservient to that musical glue, at least in the short, initial, launch phase. Of course when the RJs’ personality – and we’ve seen how the Malishkas, Jeeturaajs and Annu Kapoors of the world (and now perhaps even Satish Kaushik) have become the drivers, pushing the music into second place as they grew and drew the listeners in droves. So, in the initial phase, what will be crucial is what Redtro does to make the music of the 90s even more appealing to the younger audiences. After that, of course, it will be the personality and spirit of Redtro through its presenters and content team’s innovtions on interactivity that will determine how quickly it moves from red to black.
One doesn’t see any ATL marketing activity yet, and logically too, for it is early days. The station is just out, and like any new radio brand, it would likely need 3 to 4 weeks to gain considerable traction. Even without marketing, organic tuneins from fans and lovers of the music of the 90s, influencers, music writers, celebrities and WOM would grow. ATL, critical for inorganic tuneins, will likely begin some time end-July or early August. Till then, let’s wait and watch. The Redtro baseline says, “Phir Bajao!”. Let’s see how quickly the ever music-hungry listeners of FM Radio in Mumbai answer that call to action in growing numbers.