Truly, FM Radio has stepped up, and how. We were the first to report how many networks are not just working from, but broadcasting from Home, and all the staff of the entire RED FM network is WFH. We reached out to Nisha Narayanan – COO & Director – RED FM and Magic FM with some queries, and she graciously circled back at very short notice.
Let’s cut to the brief chase.
Tell us about the decision to work and broadcast from home.
So we took a conscious decision — to offer WFH to all our teams including all our RJs across India. Moreover, to ensure smooth operations across teams, we have ensured to upgrade our teams technologically while everybody will be working from home.
We initiated the WFH policy for Delhi and Mumbai but now many other cities have followed with major cities following shut downs and curfews.
A broadcast operation’s got to be tech-heavy — processes and equipment-wise. How much time and effort did it take to set up broadcasting from home in your RJs’ homes?
Today, technology has become well advanced and considering the current global health crisis, we have taken immediate measures to ensure seamless operations of our on-air programmes. For instance, while producing and scheduling on-air shows, we require certain in-built studio equipments. Keeping all such obstacles in mind, our technical team is installing special softwares on laptops and has arranged for equipments to ensure a hassle-free production process.
Our teams together are constantly working towards making work from home as efficient and convenient as possible.
Congratulations on setting this (WFH) up with the AROI’s help, and also for being part of the Radio4India initiative for genuine news. How does it feel, and how do these initiatives demonstrate the emotional investment your network has in the people who listen to it, who help it grow, and whom it serves?
During this critical era of lockdown and social distancing, Radio is bound to be used vastly for consumption of news, updates and entertainment.
At RED FM, we believe during such challenging times, it is imperative for a mass medium like Radio to spread authentic awareness and educate listeners across India. We all need to avoid any encouragement of fake news or panic on any platform.
With a vision and a firm belief of working together for the Nation, we are proud to be a part of the Radio4India initiative. Moreover, Radio has become more significant as there is no direct contact involved with any physical objects from outside. Now, with AROI’s help, all the private and government radio networks can work towards educating masses about COVID-19.
It is our social responsibility to manage authentic and credible information for all our listeners.
We know that advertising is now down, if not totally out, but how are ads — even if only PSAs — inserted into shows that are created and broadcast from homes?
Undoubtedly, Coronavirus has adversely impacted the media and advertising industry, making everyone to re-assess their business strategies. At RED FM, we are mutually creating campaigns with various brands to spread as much awareness as possible around the outbreak of Coronavirus.
While we have gone a notch higher technologically to ensure all our teams are working efficiently across locations and departments, the scheduling team has given certain technological amends, which allows them to operate from home. With a major lockdown across the city, it was obviously important to look for alternatives rather than put anyone’s life at risk.
We asked RED FM’s popular presenters Malishka and Raunaq on the Broadcasting From Home experience. Here’s what they said:
Radio as an industry has a responsibility to reach out to its listeners and we can’t get away from it. Our responsibility is also to lead by example and ask people to stay safe. WFH has some obvious impediments, as many of our processes were not designed to work with virtual teams. There are many systems and processes, which are set assuming that people come to work. The system is not natively designed to flip over in two weeks to a completely different operating model.
The best way possible was to figure out how technology can be of help and a make-shift set-up with certain level of coordination can help keep the regular work running. Our Morning No.1 is a popular show and people look forward every morning to get some updates. We did a Facebook live with the Health Minister to get more details on the situation and to inform all our listeners. He appreciated the idea of RED FM team working from home and following all necessary precautions during the time of pandemic.
It was unbelievable initially to think about working from home as the studio offered a certain set of technology that is required to keep a show running. With technological advancement and going the extra mile in terms of coordination with our entire team, we are making it possible each day to reach out to our audiences through live on air shows, Instagram and FB lives.
There is a certain limitation of being at home, as it’s new for my family to even adjust to this scenario. It’s not easy to juggle between chores and doing a show sitting at home as there are multiple things happening in the background — which is not the case when you are at the studio.
People are more interested to know about your personal lives while you interact with them from home. Although, one thing missing in this schedule, is the on-air calls and interactions that we used to do while at the studio.
Testing times like this call for extra precautions and as radio show hosts, we are working towards maximizing our efforts to keep our listeners informed about the situations. With reminders of washing hands, to interacting with medical experts, we are doing it all for our listeners. We are also not forgetting the fact that entertainment keeps going and keeps the moment alive and light, as we all are in this together.