Renuka Arora Bhagat: A Multitasking Leader Striking The Perfect Harmony Between Professional & Entrepreneurial Roles
Renuka Arora Bhagat
Masti Media Network, Singapore's first and only LIVE Hindi or Bollywood media outlet, was first established in 2009 as Radio Masti 96.3 and re-branded as Masti Media Network in 2016. Broadcasting Hindi (Bollywood) shows 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Masti Media Network provides a wide range of services for the Indian and South-east Asian community, including the Masti RJ Academy and the Masti AVI. Renuka Arora Bhagat, the brains behind Singapore's sole Hindi radio station, started her career as a consultant before launching Masti Media Network in tandem with it.
Renuka is a national and, to some degree, the worldwide record holder for hosting a 36-hour live radio broadcast. Also, she received the 2012 Indian Woman Entrepreneur Award. In an exclusive interaction with the Women Entrepreneur magazine, Renuka spoke about her professional and entrepreneurial journey so far.
What motivated you to establish Masti Media Network? Tell us about the underlying idea behind the company and some of its most unique features.
I'm an Indian business school graduate. After that, I moved to Singapore to work for a multinational management consulting business. In reality, I've never worked in entertainment. My passion for music was always there, and I was an enthusiastic radio listener. This is how I got in touch with the media authority to find out why they don't have any Bollywood radio for the Indian community, who makes up a sizable portion of the population here. As a result, I was connected to someone else who was also trying to start a radio station and already had the necessary expertise. It transpired after a year, when the Indian-origin radio station Big FM, which had arrived for an initial period of nine months, closed its doors and departed. Because of this, MediaCorp contacted me back in 2009, and we built up the radio station independently, I brought in the language and cultural skills as well as the content understanding. In conjunction with the other partner's knowledge of how to operate a radio station, we continued the radio engagement for a decade.
Marketing, sales, software development, and other aspects of the business were always under my purview. As far as my professional life was concerned, I didn't stop working at the radio station since it was a hobby of mine that I pursued on the side. Moreover, in 2016, when we parted ties with MediaCorp and I re-launched it as Masti Media Networks, the station discontinued its three-hour programming and we launched the 24- hour channel. In addition, we built the 24/7 platform and audio-visual components in 2020. The government designated us as the exclusive partner to reach out to the people in Southeast Asia, particularly the migrant laborers.
What are some of the most pressing business challenges that you encounter as a business leader? How do you successfully mitigate these challenges?
On the programming front, it is very certainly the case in my opinion. It's a problem that many media platforms confront, but it's much more difficult for us since we're operating in a foreign nation. It's difficult to track down experienced Hindi-speaking jocks. While it is possible that some individuals are interested in becoming jocks and are fluent in Hindi, connecting with the community is essential. And that's what we're trying to cultivate at the RJ Academy.
On the other hand, from the get-go, we're in direct competition with the major media. During our first three hours of operation, we received three National Radio Awards, beating 24-hour stations in the categories of best newbie jock, and most creative radio station. Our quality has been recognized from the beginning, and we must retain it. As a result, in addition to the talent itself, we face competition from more traditional forms of media.
What has been the driving force behind your success as a business leader?
No two days in entrepreneurship are the same. Today you may feel like a huge achiever, but tomorrow you may wonder why you started this firm. On the corporate side, I have self-esteem; my parents always wanted me to be a part of it. My father was a technocrat at the top of the hill, working hard from a junior level. Therefore, what we've learned is enormous, and when I started the corporate adventure, it was living by the standards set for us. On the entrepreneurial front, I'm the only one in the family to do so. It also offers me a new type of appreciation for myself and my team's efforts throughout the years. Thus, I think both of them play a significant role in shaping who I am now.
“The government designated us as the exclusive partner to reach out to the people in southeast asia, particularly the migrant laborers”
What advice would you give young women and girls who want to be business leaders and entrepreneurs?
Financial independence is essential at every stage of your life. It doesn't imply that I've become accustomed to working hard and taking on more tasks because I'm ‘financially independent'. That's not a solid enough case, in my opinion. At all stages
of life, I believe you must be able to look up and say 'Yeah, this is how I contribute'. This is who I am now, and even if my circumstances alter in the future, I will be able to cope. Women indeed have different issues, but how long are we going to keep harping on about how difficult it is to be born a woman and everything that comes with it? Similarly, men have their issues, but what's crucial is to choose a life partner who is also fairly supportive, so that together you may realize your ambitions while being as financially independent as you can.
Renuka Arora Bhagat, Founder, Masti Media Network
Indian-origin Renuka Arora Bhagat completed her MBA from Delhi University before moving to Singapore to work for Ernst & Young. Renuka specializes in human resource systems and processes, & with the founding of Masti Media Network, she ventured into the media and entertainment industry