Established by IIT alumnus Lal Chand Bisu in 2018, Kuku FM is a first-of-its-kind audio podcast company that aims to redefine traditional radio by allowing listeners to discover new, diverse audio content in various Indian languages.
Augmenting the lives of millions of listeners through specially curated content, it includes audiobooks, audio stories, podcasts, and courses. Excerpts from an interview with Bisu:
What led to you starting Kuku FM? Has the company evolved from what you had initially wanted to do or is this exactly it?
Thanks to technology, we spend most of our time on screen either working or relaxing. The inspiration behind the idea of Kuku FM was simple ‐ to offer new, promising, and diverse audio content in Indian languages, while making lives better off-screen. Our digital lives come with an astonishing amount of time spent looking at the screen. We provide meaningful content, which not only reduces screen time but also creates space to become productive with your everyday activities. It isn’t always necessary that one has to look at their screen to learn something new or meaningful. We wanted our users to get away from their digital screens and just enjoy the perks of passive consumption of entertainment. When we started producing content, we weren’t exactly sure what ideas would work. After multiple experiments, we learned that people do look for meaningful and valuable content that is not merely entertainment.
What are the different verticals? Does the podcast have some common elements to radio channels?
We have the following verticals: audiobooks; stories; courses; talk shows; and news. In all the verticals mentioned above, we have content across multiple genres, more than 15. We are a one-stop platform for all things audio. Listeners can discover and consume content as per their needs and mood. They can enjoy everything from education to entertainment in various formats. We are like a radio service when it comes to audio consumption. While using a radio, users decide the frequency and listen in. There is very limited interaction on the radio for users. However, our personalisation doesn’t end here. We are an on-demand platform where users can choose what they want to listen to.
Which are the cities and regions that Kuku FM has seen the most traction in? What languages is it currently in?
Since we started with Hindi, our current traction is skewed towards Hindi speaking states. Our top cities are Lucknow, Bhopal, Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Pune. We currently provide content in Hindi, Marathi, English, Gujarati, and Bengali.
Did the pandemic lead to a surge in subscribers as everyone was confined indoors?
In terms of business and growth, the coronavirus pandemic has created new opportunities for us. With more people spending their time on their phones, we witnessed a surge in our organic users. We have also been noticing a shift in people’s listening choices. Our users are more interested in content regarding mediation and stress relief. We are trying to cater to these evolving needs by getting more creators on board.
What are the future plans for Kuku FM?
We are continuously working towards providing meaningful and engaging content in various regional languages. We currently provide content in Hindi, Marathi, English, Gujarati, and Bengali. We plan to launch four more languages this year and expand the user base in their respective states.