Dial Up Radio Streams

Indian effort brings radio brand to mobile telephones
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Mobility is a major fact of life for many people in India. Economic opportunities draw internal people from villages to cities and from state to state.

Given the many different languages and cultures of India, even national radio brands can be quite different from city to city. To help give people a “taste of home,” Radio Mirchi teamed up with telecom company Bharti Airtel to launch Mirchi Mobile on Airtel.

“The service is aimed at people who are ‘living away from home’ and may well be willing to pay to access radio and content from their ‘home towns’.

If you hail from Chennai and live in Mumbai, you really have no ‘radio’ experience available to you,” stated Nandan Srinath, Head of mobility initiatives for the Times Group, which owns Radio Mirchi, in an interview with MediaNama.

The service is also expected to attract listeners in areas where private radio has yet to launch or where Radio Mirchi does not have a local outlet. By dialing a subscription number, listeners can tune to any of 12 Radio Mirchi stations from across India for a fee of 10 rupees for 100 minutes of audio per week. The connections are via the Airtel cellular network, so it works on any phone, even those without FM receivers.

The service launched in late April in Delhi and Mumbai with plans to expand nationwide. Spice Digital is providing the music-on-demand technology used to power Mirchi Mobile on Airtel.

Mirchi Mobile is not a direct stream of the radio channels; instead, Spice Digital and Airtel license and program the music programming, while Radio Mirchi provides voicetracking from its presenters, idents and other branding elements, as well as advertising.

A similar effort, dubbed BIG Mobile Radio, was announced by Big FM and OnMobile in March.

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Dan Halyburton is senior vice president/general manager, group operations at Susquehanna Radio Corp. in Dallas. He began his radio career in 1970, as a production director and air personality at Mission Broadcasting’s WWOK(AM) in Miami.