Money FM 89.3, Singapore's first and only business and personal finance English radio station, turns one today, celebrating a year marked with challenges as well as proud moments for the team.
From successfully covering Singapore Budget 2018 just weeks after its launch on Jan 29, 2018, to achieving 60 per cent listenership growth within the second half of last year, the SPH Radio station has proved its sceptics wrong and showed it is here to stay.
"A lot of people doubted our ability to do a station like that, because we have always been an entertainment company," SPH Radio's general manager Sim Hong Huat said.
A subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, SPH Radio operates two other English stations, One FM 91.3 and Kiss92, and Mandarin stations 96.3 Hao FM and UFM 100.3.
With the biggest event on Singapore's financial calendar as its first major project, there was a lot on the line for Money FM.
"We managed to pull it off and did a very good panel discussion and other programming around the Budget," said Mr Sim. "That's something we're all very proud of."
SPH Radio had identified the need for a business radio station as early as 2010. However, it was awarded the frequency only in March 2017 and given just nine months to form its team of presenters, conceptualise the new programming format and build the needed infrastructure.
Unlike music stations which broadcast existing content, talk stations require large amounts of fresh content every day, and Money FM works closely with The Business Times and The Straits Times to achieve this.
Presenters must also have broad-based knowledge of financial topics to facilitate interviews with chief executive officers, analysts, thought leaders and politicians.
"We have been successful in reaching out, particularly to our core listeners - the PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen) - and the feedback we get is that the market likes what we're putting out there," Money FM's executive editor Ven Sreenivasan said.
"We hope to keep improving on this in the year to come," he added.
Mr Sim said listenership has more than doubled from about 50,000 in the first half of 2018, and is expected to grow at least 30 per cent year on year for the next three to five years.