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Future of Radio in India? Growth, Advertising, Community Radio
future of radio in India

With the arrival of new technology, we usually tend to forget the old one. When India shut its telegram service, the response showed that the rural population still used the facility for their benefits. But there’s one more medium that still has an unexpectedly huge role in India’s communications industry and that radio. It is a shock to know that there are 100 million radio listeners present in India compared with 176 million internet users.

Radio is a very powerful medium that can easily help you to connect with local masses. It is not only interactive in its own sense but is also very local in its nature and is free of costs, unlike cable and satellite television. There are a wide variety of technologies we need to experiment with to realize the vision of radio in India while remaining true to radio’s fundamental character as an interactive, free-of-cost, local medium. This platform often portrays a supporting part in advertising plans in India, an add-on to the television and print sector.

“This platform is still about 4 percent of all the advertising industry, compared with the UK where it is 7 or 8 percent on its whole,” said Jehil Thakkar, head of KPMG India’s media and entertainment business.

“Most of the advertisers are still learning how to use the medium and there are teething troubles such as they are not aware of the true measurement but  IRAM (Indian Radio Audience Measurement) can only solve their all problems as it provides radio industry with a unified radio audience measurement system” Second, there is a lot of growth still needs to come as India is successfully catching up on new channels for media and entertainment industry. “For years, radio has been a listening habit in India,” Thakkar says.

What will really push the growth of radio in India?

One particularly important sector in India is community radio, grassroots stations made by local communities and often funded by different types of NGOs and educational institutions. They provide content tailored to community issues, be it a transgender community station discussing their problems to do with employment, or a whole village radio station broadcasting interviews with local leaders.

A researcher working on technologies for growing markets at Bell Labs in Bangalore told people that community radios are a vital form of communication and entertainment for low-income communities, where the internet is less useful. These radios are still at a boom in small rural areas where people can’t afford internet facility.

It is observed that radio is growing at a steady speed. While digital is growing exponentially day by day, private FM radio present in India is growing at a formidable 14.5%, and that is primarily because of the whole radio expansion in tier 2 and 3 cities although the ad pie continues to be only 4%. This is not quite impressive as internationally, in countries like the US, the radio Advertisement pie is about 14%. However, we hope to see it increase to 7% in the whole of India by 2020.

Check out four trends of Radio Technology: 

Easily accessible local radio: The term local radio will extinct nowadays. Right now, our radio access is purely limited to the area, where we usually live. In the next decade, this geographical restriction will vanish. Wi-Fi enabled cars and the internet will portray the most important role in this shift. This highly means that you can enjoy your favorite type of radio anytime without any specific restriction. The radio stations that still adhere to a traditional rigid single-format transmission will die if they don’t match up with this transformation.

Mobiles with FM Chips: Presently, smartphones are fully built with FM chips that permit people to enjoy their radio time. In the year 2015, it was reported that these chips were not working in almost 2/3rd of smartphones. The whole radio industry is working day and night to promote the acceptance of these chips through easy-to-use mobile apps. So that buyers are optimistic that these chips will retain relevancy of radio in the coming era.

FM Translators Will enhance HD Radio: Most of the listeners had great hope from HD radio. There are many who have to believe that HD radio is yet to deliver. Industry experts think that FM translators will highly help to improve HD radio technology. FM translator is engineered to transform HD audio signal into an analog signal on a very low frequency. This will surely increase the audio clarity of HD signals, which was lacking somewhere.

“So, contrary to what you might expect, radio isn’t an innovation that will become obsolete in the country like India as new media emerge – it’s still got quite a way to go. To make this industry further and boost their listenership one can easily rely on IRAM as it replaces biased in-house surveys and offers true figures of the radio station without fear so station management can make decisions about programming and advertisements can make informed choices.” Said one of the officials.

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