The Radio Story: Making Waves On Air!

Seelan Paul

( – At 40-something, he sits at the helm of a growing network of radio stations that have won their fair share of listeners. Seelan himself began his career as an “announcer” – a term that has been resurrected of late – no longer do you have DJs – Why? Because there are no discs to be played, and the individual has taken a back seat, it’s the audience who determines the type of music to be aired. A far cry from the days of old.

“Where does creativity and individuality come in?” – was the pertinent question.
“It’s there, but perhaps not in the same sense that one takes complete charge of everything, like the song to be played, the particular artist and the version – these are all pre-determined.”

That answer came from Seelan Paul (picture), the Chief Executive Officer of Media Prima Radio Networks (MPRN).

But he is quick to point out that success has come about because he has a team of talented and dedicated professionals.

Having gone through a selection process himself to land the job as an announcer, Seelan’s rise has been remarkable, but a testimony to the foresight of his employers and his own abilities.

It began with Fly FM, then Hot FM and later One FM. Now there is Kool FM to compete the picture. With this, Media Prima Radio Network is poised to take on all challengers and hog the airwaves with their kind of entertainment.

Radio has certainly evolved over the years, and is no longer the poor cousin to television. It has always been the people’s favourite, as background music or particular genre were perpetual guests in homes.

While once the “house-wives favourites” – the many radio stations provide a wide range of entertainment, information and perhaps even more – the “inter-active” aspect.

Listeners are now more involved and willing to express their views.

This has naturally meant a change in the attitude of radio stations as well.
This evolution has meant more people are listening, and if you follow the statistics, the four stations could have almost 3 million listeners…although right now there are no figures for the newest edition, Kool FM. With this latest addition, the entire spectrum of listeners has been covered.

As Seelan put it, radio has always been immediate and thus more able to respond to needs of the audience. For this reason, the announcers too have to be alert, creative, innovative and pleasant.

Content, as in every medium, is prime and in the case of MPRN this is engaging and entertaining as well. But this “entertaining” is designed to bring about changes, to inform, educate as well.

Radio’s greatest listening community are found in cars or vehicles. In Car Entertainment (ICE) ensures that drivers have the kind of music that they want at different times of the day.

And depending on the driving conditions, music too is geared to suit conditions.

Traffic updates are most useful and welcome. So is the latest news items, but few can give 100% attention, so it has to be “bite-size” and in a manner for the listeners to understand and comprehend.

Much of the training is done in-house for the newer staff. It’s always great to have more seasoned staff provide tips and even instructions to the younger members.
But each individual is allowed to develop his or her own style and personality.

The biggest mistake is to try and “copy” someone who has established a name already.

Gone are the days when “scripts” were the order of the day.

Again this seems to be the line adopted by Seelan and his team, namely Anida Mohd Tahrim, the Group General Manager and Elaine Lee, the General Manager, Sales & Marketing, who all whom play pivotal roles in ensuring that everything works.

Reaching the target audience and providing them with what they want is always the hardest task. Added to that, a host of rival and established radio stations hog the airwaves.

No station can survive – save government funded and owned – without funding or revenue. Chasing the big bucks is an art form in itself.

That explains the reason why a repositioning has taken place, taking into consideration the many new avenues that have come on stream recently.

The “Radio Plus” is an enhancement via three key pillars: Radio Plus Talent, Radio Plus Activation and Radio Plus Digital.

It is obvious that Radio Plus Talent leverages on the talents found in the stations, who are big in both radio and digital and can make stronger brand campaigns for clients.

It is also possible to utilise talents for clients below the line (BTL) campaigns while maintaining a strong radio promotion.

On the other hand, Radio Plus Activation is an avenue for clients to utilise the in-house activation team and their expertise for launches, sales driven campaigns and creative on ground engagements with the talents.

MPRN (Media Prima Radio Networks) is also going a big way into digital content where Radio Plus Digital comes into play. They are now committed to dedicating all their resources in developing more Digital Branded Video Content their clients.

It will filter down into the Digital Lifestyle Video Content and thus be played on the networks social media and video platforms. This will ensure that awareness is not merely on air, also translated into the digital platform as well.

Tourism Malaysia has launched a campaign titled “Dekat Je” to showcase the proximity of Malaysia’s tourism sights and attractions.

This campaign’s objective is in line with Hot FM’s 10th year anniversary whereby the announcers would like to show their gratitude by being closer to the listeners nationwide.

With the strong association of “Dekat Je” to Tourism Malaysia, Hot FM would like to tap on to the idea by merging its anniversary tour with Tourism Malaysia’s campaign and come out with an idea, #DekatJeTour.

The tour is an example of Radio+ Activation, Talents and Digital where we put together all resources to meet the campaign objective by integrating ground engagement, talents association and also digital views to amplify the campaign reach.

With 6 locations, namely, Penang, Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu, Melaka and Kuantan, the #DekatJeTour managed to attract an audience of nearly 5,000 to the showcases.

The videos and photos shared throughout the digital platform created talkability among the social community that led to 100,000 views.

It is a good start for Radio+ to convince advertisers in making their future campaigns successful.

MPRN has repositioned the trade identity with “Radio Plus”. Radio Plus is an enhancement of their extension via three key pillars: Radio Plus Talent, Radio Plus Activation and Radio Plus Digital.

Radio Plus Talent leverages on the stations’ talents who are big on both radio and digital to help create stronger brand campaigns for clients.

This enables MPRN to utilise talents for clients below the line (BTL) campaigns while running a strong radio promotion.

Radio Plus Activation is an avenue for clients to utilise its activation team and expertise for launches, sales driven campaigns and creative on ground engagements together with the talents.

Lastly, MPRM its upgrading foray into digital video content
where Radio Plus Digital comes alive. The digital team will dedicate all the resources in developing more Digital Branded Video Content for client which we will include brand integrations and also Digital Lifestyle Video Content for the stations.

These will be played out on the social media and video platforms so the awareness will not only be on air, it will also translate into digital platform as well…

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