After becoming the youngest CEO in the Indian radio industry at the age of 22, Nishant runs the show at Radio Misty with a team of average age of 27 years.
By Neha Saraiya
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO & Founder, Facebook at the age of 25 is an inspiration for zillions. Undoubtedly, CEO’s across the world are getting younger. Nishant Mittal, CEO, Radio Misty, age 25 also dons the same hat. His FM channel that has stations at Siliguri (West Bengal) & Gangtok (Sikkim) is not only the first radio station of the region but has also partnered BBC and Radio Netherlands to air shows and music in five languages including Hindi, Bengali, English, Bhojpuri and Nepali. The channel has even recently raked in a record at Limca book of records 2011.
An alumnus of DonBosco School and a degree holder from Chirst College, Bangalore, Nishant brushed up his entrepreneurial skills from Manchester business school in the field of marketing. And little did he know that the opportunity was waiting to knock at his door. As soon after coming back to the country, he got to know that PCM Group was setting up FM stations in India. “I joined the Group and was trained in other group activities. Later I moved to see FM activities also. Thus starting with making studios and offices to music selection and Radio Jockey training, branding and all other activities were done by in house team that included me,” says Nishant.
After gaining a fair amount of exposure in functioning of radio channels, Nishant joined Radio Misty at the age of 22 and registered to the India Book of Records as the youngest Radio Chief Executive Officer. In fact, much to our surprise the average age of his team members is around 27 years only. “The team at Radio Misty a young one has a very fresh tone. We focus on local talents and we are happy that all most all our team members are the natives of that region only as we believe in local connect and innovations,” divulges Nishant.
Perhaps, it his fresh breed of work-force that has made Radio Misty top the popularity chart among the listeners of the region. “We experimented with playing music and shows in different languages Hindi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, English and Nepali. This innovation from our Siliguri station has been well received by listeners, and Radio Misty Siliguri is the only fm station in country to have done this. Similarly, Radio Misty Sikkim is the only station in the state which airs 24 hours a day, whereas other fm stations shut down at night. This has proved to be an added advantage for us,” he explains.
In fact, his team has always been at the helm of novelty and has implemented several new initiatives on the channel. Like they started hosting a live show till 1 am in the night, on the Siliguri station, that only became the most talked about show in 2010 in the region but also, fetched a total of 38168 letters and cards from listeners.
Another area where Nishant and his team have propelled a new-fangled strategy is on the music front. While Bollywood music is a mainstay with the channel, they have also focused on ghazals, local music and bands. To the extent, that they have almost promoted every band launch in that area.
And he explains the rationale behind it as he says, “Radio stations in India should come out of set formats and start to think about the talk- and other serious formats. Most big networks play pre-recorded shows with a metro touch, and this will not help the radio industry. The more local touch you give to your content, the stronger will be the emotional connect listeners will have to your station. This will give wide reach and help people understand radio better.”
And just like any other business, even radio stations depend a great deal on their marketing activities to generate buzz and local awareness and Nishant truly understands the knick-knacks of it. As his Siliguri and Gangtok stations have a host of on-air and on -ground activities throughout the year. In fact, they conducted a total of 310 ground activities last year wherein the natives could get on air on different issues through the OB van. “It truly helped us cement our local connect. We even hosted the BBC ‘Ek Mulaqat’ Live at Siliguri, where Dr. Kiran Bedi interacted with our listeners live,” gushes Nishant.
In fact, it’s his ability to connect at the right levels at all genres, that Nishant and his team has garnered a deep rooted bridge among his listeners. As he shares an episode “Speaking of connects, a truly memorable incident was when a patient needed a rare blood group. We aired an SOS appeal for him, and in a very short span of time, about 48 listeners went to the hospital to donate blood. This happening made us to help the patient, and also proved a strong trait of Radio. It has been developing an ever stronger mass connects over the years. Another moving moment was when a group of blind listeners came to our station with flowers and gifts to wish us on our anniversary. That was a touching moment, especially when they said our station was their “true friend”; it inspired us to move forward.”
Besides, the listenership, Radio Misty has even given a tough fight to its competitors on business front also. As the major advertisers in the region, promote their brands on his channel. And the reason being their aptitude of driving the brand to the consumer’s mind, through various on-air and on-ground programmes. “We had telecom and FMCG majors on board, for whom we did lot of activities. Our most memorable activity was with an automobile group for which we visited all apartments of the city for a day-long activity involving residents of the apartment complex. This activity was promoted by direct mailers and one-to-one contact. West Bengal is known for its para (locality) culture. Radio Misty, along with a telecom major, organized Para Utsav, where an entire locality was involved. Celebrity RJs hosted shows in 20 localities. The Grand Finale saw thousands of people participate. Besides, outdoor and ambient media was deployed, including bus back panels and hoardings, along with branding on auto rickshaws, in malls and in popular hangouts,” sighs Nishant.
Little wonder that the Radio station is doing very well in terms of revenue as major national and local brands are active on the channels. The company has even partnered major telecom, Steel, Tourism and FMCG companies for mega launches of their products in ground-breaking ways. Nishant explains, “We promoted major launches that integrated Radio in innovative ways for the respective products. We also helped launch Bengali movies with a great deal of buzz. Besides this, on-air and on-ground activities were tailor-made for local advertisers also. Local advertisers are very active on Radio Misty and this has boosted our national sales as well. Radio Misty is local station with local talents and local touch .This local connect has given us our success. Nishant says, “We always believe in training local talents for our station. As Phase 3 is coming up, there will be more and more employment opportunities created in the radio industry, which will help local talent.”
It’s just his unwavering hard-work and zeal to achieve more at every step that Radio Misty has been awarded with many awards including International Literary Award, Execellence Award by Mym and various other organizations. But Nishant is contended and restless at the same time as he says, “I am happy that the youth brigade of Radio Misty has shown path to others stations also. But we still have a long way to go.” Haven’t heard of the saying- “Winners don’t do different things, they just do things differently!” and that’s precisely what Nishant does, each and every single day of his life!