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FM+ President Petar Pounchev: It Doesn't Take Witchcraft to Be Number One

October 19, 2004
FM+ President Petar Pounchev: It Doesn't Take Witchcraft to Be Number One

The pleasure to talk with Petar Punchev was all Tanya Avramova's of Pari Daily.


- Mr. Punchev, how did you celebrate the 12th Birthday of FM+?

- Radio FM+ is known for its great parties. This time we did something a bit different, since the slogan of our celebration was a bit different this time too: "12 golden hits" - after the name of our music feature of the same name. That presupposed that our celebration is a bit more classy and "snobbish". To that purpose we chose as our venue the Radisson SAS Casino. We brought together a great number of guests: representatives of Sofia social elite, music stars, politicians... We received an exceptionally beautiful present and a few very warm words from President Georgy Parvanov, as well as a greeting telegramme from Foreign Minister Solomon Passy.  We were honoured by MPs, representatives of the Electronic Media Council, and all that have been our partners throughout the years - the people that love us.
We prepared a funny joke for our guests: we had witches roaming among them,  making all sorts of tricks.  The Parade was also very impressive. We hired a platform where we placed the journalists, led by a team of cheerleaders and a brass band. Looking like this, we crossed the whole city.


- What are the tricks that Radio FM+ makes in order to be one of the most popular radio stations for the last 12 years?

- This is exactly what I said in my welcoming speech. There is no witchcraft whatsoever in leading the countdown of Bulgarian radio stations for 12 years. What there is, is a host of principles proved right by successful business all over the world. The fundamental thing is the team of people working and thinking in total sync. What comes next is never lagging behind world tendencies. Bulgaria is not isolated from the world. We keep training our people and ourselves all the time. World know-how is of exceptional importance to successful business. What comes third is to be leaders in the bright side of business. Radio FM+ is the only media in Bulgaria that is certified by ISO 9001:2000. We are the only Advertising Media that is a BBLF member, and BBLF is an organization whose main objective is to make Bulgarian business more responsible and introduce the world standards of business ethics in this country. We pay diligently all of our taxes and license fees in the framework of the world and European standards. We believe it is only when you follow these principles that you can succeed. We totally oppose the pettiness and corruption that is visible on all levels in Bulgaria. And we have a very stable team - people do not leave us.


 - Voices that are emblematic for Radio FM+ have already turned into TV stars. How to you feel about this tendency?

- It's true: Iva Doychinova has already established herself on the TV screen, and now Evelina Pavlova has joined the Big Brother as a co-host. This makes us very proud and I think this is the attitude we must have. These are all very renowned representatives of journalism in Bulgaria.
- What new projects are you working on at the moment?

- In 1992, we created a small city radio, and in mid-1995 we built a national radio network. At the end of the 90s, we acquired major shares in Radio Plus, which is currently known as the mega-successful Radio Fresh. Later on, we acquired two regional radio stations from the Mila Gold Chain, in Sofia and Plovdiv. We opened one of the first class state-of-the-art recording studios a couple of weeks ago: the Fresh Record Studio. Now, of course, the road is only up and ahead.
The most important thing is to make this system of four enterprises start work as one and lead to complete synergy.
I am convinced the process of consolidation of business will continue. We can say that its first stage ended with the establishment of some very large radio groups - ours, Darik Radio's, BG Radio's and Vitosha's. Apparently this tendency keeps breeding. We are still looking around to check on the formats that we are missing. We seem to have everything we need: the target audience of Radio Fresh is aged 15-29, that of FM+ is 18-45, of Mila - 35-55. This is hardly enough though. Even we don't know what will happen in the future. Maybe FM+ would decide to buy a chalga radio station, who knows. It is the market that sets the rules and we need to follow. So we are still looking to see what we are missing in the colourful picture that our group comprises.
- What kind of performers are you going to produce in your recording studio?

- We wish to be available to amateurs, professionals, and semi-professionals from all genres. This is the only recording studio in Sofia that has at its disposal a huge recording ground, where you can record live an orchestra or a band. We can also try looking for international performers that may want to record in Bulgaria. We are perfectly aware that the music market here is very limited and our hopes are not set on quick money. We try to be reasonable. We will not stop inviting famous performers.


- Is radio a profitable business?

- Yes, you can definitely make money in the media business. This year the taxes paid by Armada Bulgaria Broadcasting will amount to BGN 1 mln.


- Did you make a wish on your Radio's Birthday?

- I'm already entering the critical age and it is normal to have good health as my primal wish. After that I wish for sound reason, faith in people and in better life. But without good health, we are lost.


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