With almost everything going online, Radio stations have also upped their game on the digital platform, and in a very short time have adapted to a new normal. Radio Stations have also gone into a WFH mode and providing quality entertainment and news.
None of us had expected the lockdown to last for over 3 months; the fight against Covid-19 has only united us and in a way has prepped us all to adapt to the many ‘new normals’ that it brought with itself.The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown, keeping a note of some of the new buzz words such as ‘social distancing’, ‘work from home’ and the latest one; ‘atmanirbhar’.
Medianews4u brings to you, yet another perspective, this time not only from a particular sector but from various sectors, and especially from the ones that were terribly hit by Covid-19.
Well Covid-19 is not over yet, but it’s definitely the start of good. It’s time for Back to Business…
In this story of Medianews4u’s new brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to, B. Surendar, COO & Director, Red FM Network.
How did you cope up with the impact of Covid-19 on your organization?
The core of our business is to provide audio plus digital content and from that perspective we have never had it better than now. This crisis has brought the best out of our creative teams in particular. I am proud of the content both in terms of quality and impact that we at Red FM network have managed to provide so far in this extraordinary period. Whether it is creating awareness about the Corona virus by talking to experts and authorities or allaying fears in the minds of people speaking to COVID patients or facilitating service to people who require food, masks, transport, etc., Radio as a medium and Red FM as a radio player stood out. This apart from playing our primary role of providing entertainment (with respect to music, movies, celebrities, etc.) to the common man who is mostly stuck in his house like never before.
How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
Media and Radio being an essential service in times of crisis like these, we at Red FM had put the superior technology available today to great use and ensured quality transmission though our RJ’s and other key employees were operating from their home most of the time. Our RJ’s figured prominently in the televised show with the PM on the COVID crisis. All the extra effort put in by our industry resulted in Radio, along with Digital media and certain genres of TV, actually registering superior reach during the lockdown period as per multiple research surveys. Working from home productively is an art and science people in our organisation across all functions have learnt properly during this phase and that should help our business going forward.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models … What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand/industry/category?
The way we have gone ahead and innovatively improved our strength on digital platforms in general and social media in particular during the lockdown period is incredible. The initiatives include live digital concerts with eminent artistes clubbed with social causes, innumerable programs and lives with top celebrity singers, actors in multiple languages and across platforms viz Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. has created tremendous impact. On Facebook for example our Red FM Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Telugu and Suryan FM Tamil pages are figuring in the Top 10 list of International radio players in terms of engagement and reach over the past few weeks consistently. Since Audio along with Video is going to dominate the world you will find content specialists like us playing an active digital role when it comes to social media, podcasting, etc. in the immediate future.
What will be your communication strategy post the opening of the lockdown? Understandably bringing listeners back to your station would be difficult as most of the listeners tune in to radio only while commuting. And thanks to Covid-19 commuting is not a regular activity for most of us. What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
It is a myth that people listen to radio only while commuting. In fact, at home listening emerges as the biggest chunk of radio listening in all surveys always while the dominant mode of listening is through a mobile phone. As explained earlier, Radio reach and impact had actually increased as per the media research done specifically during the lockdown period. This is because radio is a free-to –air and popular infotainment medium which people access when at home and whenever they are traveling as well.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
Media work is by nature an interesting form of work that gives you a high on most days. Since most of us were working from home, constant communication at all levels and multiple initiatives aimed at our customers and employees is all that was required each one of us fully charged up. At a personal level, I also felt that it was a good time to introspect and inspire myself to do better in both professional and personal life.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business (advertising revenues) back on track or at least get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself among advertisers and listeners?
As far as listenership is concerned it only went up and so as the lockdown is being lifted in phases across the country it is time to encash on the extra audience we have gained compared to earlier. As far as advertisers are concerned, most of our key advertisers are either considering or running a campaign in many parts of the country where the lockdown relaxation has already happened. This would only improve further as most cities come out of tighter lockdown guidelines. Whether it is listeners or advertisers the main message we at Red FM network have conveyed is that we are completely with them and shall make all efforts to help them overcome this unprecedented crisis.