It’s been about a year and a half when I first wrote about Meow FM. For the uninitiated Meow 104.8 FM is an Indian talk based radio station that’s aired across Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta.
I’ve been thinking of reviewing Meow FM again to understand and share how it has evolved since then but it was only after one of the hosts at Meow emailed me to know “what I feel about the station” that I finally got down to write .
It took me about a week or so to listen to Meow at different hours to see what exactly they are upto and here are a few things I managed to gather.
1) The “A-Stars” Migration: Ever since last year there has been quite a few A-Stars that have left Meow FM for various reasons. Those who’ve left include Hosts Jaishree(last year?) and Rochie(July 9th) and COO(and host) Anil Srivatsava(June 2nd). The roots of migration of A-Stars in this fashion can mostly be traced down to the boardroom (bad policies or management, or both) and I assume that’s the case with Meow too.
Given the fact that the business Meow is in, the loyalties are almost equally(if not more) associated with the Hosts and the station, the station would have definitely felt the heat.
2) Talks are making way for Music: While during its initial days Meow was as much about conversations as one could be but I feel things are changing. Possible the Host exodus is the reason behind it. With just a few quality Hosts (Ginnie, Divya ,Manisha and Ved?) to handle about 14 hours of airtime(7 am – 9 pm), playing more music is inevitable. I remember listening to non-stop music for about an hour yesterday around 12-1 pm.
As it turns out Meow is mostly about music on weekends, which isn’t particularly good for people like me.
If in case this music fever spreads to weekdays, Meow will lose out on a good differentiator and even if Meow has to play more music they can try to make the whole process of the music selection a bit more interactive. A simple thing could be to ask listeners to SMS songs they’d like to listen(not sure if they do it already)
3) Diluted Positioning: While I don’t have any official word on this but off late I’ve started to feel that Meow is no longer aimed at just women. Be it the fact that they now have a male host for their 7 AM show or the fact the hosts no longer re-iterate Meow is India’s first ‘Just for women’ radio station. Also, unlike previously where male callers were allowed on just a couple of show(Tu-Tu Meow Meow & Top Cat) and on weekends(?) you can hear them on practically every show now.
If there has been a change in their target audience I am afraid Meow will find it increasingly more different to survive the competition and if there isn’t such a change they should try to leverage their positioning a lot more to do more tie-ups and eventually attract more women to them.
4) Focus on Quality: While other radio stations are still busy doing silly spoofs of Sholay’s Gabar or Sunny’s Papa ji dialogue, meow continues to add value by talking about meaningful things. Meow 104.8 FM offers by far the most intelligent conversations across the radio frequencies. Not sure if most RJ’s(from radio mirchi to fever) are stupid or they pretend so to sell to the masses but I am quite happy to note that Meow has a better lot of Hosts which continue to talk sensible stuff.
It’s not surprising that Meow has Dr Kiran Bedi as a co-host on one of their shows and they can also boast of having a great weekly book club.
5) Community: Meow’s ning community started by Anil reflects its listeners loyalty. With about 10,000 members @ ning they have a wonderful community of their customers available for free. This goes on to show that people love the station and want to stay connected.
While I haven’t noticed extensive efforts aimed at making the most out of their community they can do a lot of things and make the most of it though I am not sure how it’ll work out with their ning community as it was created by Anil who is not associated with Meow anymore.
I’d like to conclude by saying that Meow has definitely not reached the place it should have given the strong grounds it started with and it’s a very crucial stage they are in and if they don’t do the right things game could swing either ways.
PS: Meow please get your site re-designed and if not at least update the content. It looks like the site hasn’t been touched for ages.
Update: This post is also available on radioandmusic.com (http://bit.ly/5eT7Z)