How do channels cope with the loss of their 'star' anchors?

Dileep Kumar

8 Jul 2013
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Rajdeep Sardesai, Karan Thapar and Sagarika Ghosh made news when they quit CNN-IBN recently. There are unconfirmed reports of other well-known anchors exiting channels. How does it affect the latter when 'star' anchors quit?
What is the first name that comes to your mind when we say Times Now? What is the first name that comes to your mind when we say CNN-IBN? That's an easy one. Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai, who can be categorised as 'star anchors', are more than just "news presenters".
While the TV news industry is full of anchors, there are just a handful that are popular enough to drive viewership to a channel and be called 'star anchors'. These include Ajay Kumar, Barkha Dutt, Deepak Chaurasia, Nidhi Razdan, Prannoy Roy, Punya Prasun Bajpai, Rajat Sharma, Shereen Bhan and Vikram Chandra.
After the recent exit of Karan Thapar (to Headlines Today), Sardesai and Sagarika Ghosh from CNN-IBN and news of other well-known anchors' imminent exit floating around, afaqs! looks at how the channels get affected when these 'star' anchors quit.
News presenters or newsmakers?
Star news anchors are the face of news channels. They carry the equity of the channel and endorse the brand. Their shows - 'Aap Ki Adaalat' in Sharma's case, 'News Hour' for Goswami and 'India@9' in the case of Sardesai -eventually became the shows through which the channels got recognition.
Sharma (chairman and editor-in chief, India TV) is of the view that, internationally, anchors have always been important for a news channel and have driven the entire channel, or network, with their credibility. "Of late, that trend has started gaining momentum in India too. An anchor's style of presentation or just sheer presence alone can create pull not only for their programmes but also get more viewers to the channel in the process," adds Sharma.
A good anchor must have presentation skills, be able to build up a certain traction among people, have a stance on a topic, be quick on his/her feet, have the ability to provoke people as well as keep them in check and be extra alert in case of panel discussions (in order to keep track of who is saying what), be research-oriented and be able to come up with multiple questions. A great deal of intellectual acumen is called for to become a good anchor.
The star news anchors, mentioned earlier, have all of that in abundance. Apart from the technicalities, star anchors have a decisive say in the choice of guests, topics, the various angles of a topic, the content, its flow, its angle. "Star anchors have become synonymous to channel image and the channel also pushes them in their promotional and marketing strategies," explains Rahul Dev, veteran journalist and former editor-in-chief, CNEB.
The credibility of such anchors also drives experts and popular commentators on to the channels. For instance, Rahul Gandhi chose to give an interview to Goswami, while Narendra Modi selected both Goswami and Sharma to give his "important" pre- and post-election interviews. Read More:
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