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Advertisers get more value with celebrity hosts: RBNL CEO Tarun Katial

Big FM has refreshed programming in major markets in terms of form, fashion, tone and personality but will continue with the core proposition of evergreen hits

Tarun Katial

Big FM recently launched 10 new stations in Maharashtra (Pune, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad), UP and Bihar (Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Gorakhpur and Muzzafarpur). Four stations in the North-East region (Agartala, Itanagar, Aizawl and Shillong) will be launched by June end.

Post the launch of the new stations, the radio network has extended its retro programming, a concept that it pioneered on radio, across newer stations such as Pune and Lucknow (both cities now have the first ever and only retro station), thus making it the largest radio network in terms of retro stations as well.


Under the refreshed programming, Big FM will boast of shows based on newer concepts of music, sports and folk music among others.

When asked about continuing with its retro style in other markets and whether the network is tweaking its programming a bit, Tarun Katial, CEO, RBNL, said, “Big FM will continue to be retro in major markets. We have seen some incredible success. We continue to refresh content in terms of form, fashion, tone and personality. But the core proposition of evergreen hits will be continued.”


“Refreshing content requires a certain amount of format thinking, concepts and creation. It’s not regular radio jockeying, it requires regular ideation. The programming continues to be developed on strong consumer insights. We continue to tweak music policy as well as content every three to six months. We keep refreshing our place in the consumer’s heads on the basis of the consumer likes and dislikes,” added Katial.

Indeed there is a substantial investment that the network will undergo. However, Katial couldn’t give us an exact figure.


The renewed strategy will be different for different stations. In Delhi, it is exciting, youthful and evergreen retro. In Mumbai it is pure retro. In Bangalore it is adult contemporary, Hindi and Kannada and in Hyderabad it is adult contemporary, Hindi and Telugu.

Radio is known for engagement and Big FM continues to focus on highly engaging content. The radio network continues to engage, be it with #Salim or Suhana Safar or newly launched show with Khurafati Nitin in Delhi.


On the innovations and value advertisers could expect with new programming, Katial said, “Advertisers get bigger associations and more celebrity voices on air. RJs like Salim Merchant and Nitin add to the power of radio – bring in more reach, engagement and attention for advertisers. They also bring in a lot more ingrained opportunities for brands to associate with. It is our endeavour to deliver good content with larger than life celebrity hosts.”

The new programming will ingrain brands within the content but it cannot be called branded content by nature, Katial says.

While content remains key, on-ground activations are a major source of revenue for FM stations and Big FM is not lagging behind. Big FM believes in doing things that interests consumers. “We do activations with content that really interests people. We did some interesting content on-ground with RJ Nitin when we launched in Delhi last week, which was a marathon towards women safety.”

Big FM has 61 stations, which cater to over 1,200 towns and 50,000 villages reaching over 50 million Indians every week. The network continues its legacy promise of ‘Suno Sunao Life Banao.’


Tags: Big FM
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