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Discernment. Online


The new channel, which you can catch on 91 FM, brings high hopes for the underdog medium


Private FM comes to
the land of AIR 

Radio City, India's first 24-hour private FM radio channel, is launched in Bangalore

"There's something for everyone", said the jockey on Radio City, which began broadcasting on Tuesday, 3 July, in Bangalore.

The music played on the inaugural day included Mohammad Rafi, Led Zeppelin, Shaggy, Geri Halliwell, and Cyndie Lauper. Also heard were songs from films like Dil Se, Zubeidaa and Lagaan. Which does not really qualify for "something for everyone" -- there was no classical music, and no Kannada or regional language songs.

Radio City, owned by Music Broadcast Private Limited, is backed by Star TV, which is doing the marketing and content. MBPL has paid a licence fee of Rs 41.37 crore for six cities, the biggest being Bangalore. Nine firms have FM licences for 37 cities across India, and quite a few cities should start broadcasting before December, when the licences expire. Bangalore, already famous as a test market for any product coming into India, became the first city to tune in.

The new channel, which you can catch on 91 FM, brings high hopes for the underdog medium. Radio, under full government control till now and run staidly, is finally expected to take on other media, like TV and the Internet. These media had almost erased the medium from the urban Indian's life. In Europe and the US, FM radio thrives thanks to long drives between home and office.

In the US, radio gets 13 per cent of the total advertising revenue, while in India it gets just 1.5 per cent, which works out to Rs 120 crore of the total. In 1998, private broadcasters who had been given half-hour slots on All India Radio were sent away. Private FM radio now looks ready to strike back.

Companies like Times FM, BPL and Zee which had bid for licences, dropped out after getting into a row with the government. Radio covers 90 per cent of the country's area and 97 per cent of the country's population.

Radio City is also running a contest and will give away radio sets to people answering a couple of questions on their promo page.

TMM Desk

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