The original avatar of Radio Mirchi was Times FM. Radio Mirchi began operation in 1993 in Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh . Until 1993, All India Radio or AIR, a government undertaking, was the only radio broadcaster in India. The government then took the initiative to privatize the radio broadcasting sector. It sold airtime blocks on its FM channels in Indore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata ,Vizag and Goa to private operators, who developed their own program content. The Times Group operated its brand, Times FM, till June 1998. After that, the government decided not to renew contracts given to private operators.
In 2000, when the Government formally announced auction of 108 FM frequencies across 40 cities, Entertainment Network (India) Limited (Radio Mirchi) won the largest number of licenses, thereby acquiring a national footprint, and becoming the only commercial FM broadcaster present in all 4 Metros, with an exclusive presence in 7 cities.
In January 2006, Radio Mirchi bagged 25 frequencies in the second wave of licences that were issued by the Government of India. This pushes the Radio Mirchi presence in 32 centers. In the first wave of launches, Indore was the first city in india having grade of first private radio channel.Times decided to start radio channel to address the mass audience as advertisers can be attracted by showing a low cost per thousand.
Radio Mirchi was earlier available in the seven cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Indore and Ahmedabad, now it is also available in key markets of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Patna & Jalandhar therby taking the tally to 12 stations across India. It’s the largest private FM Radio operator in the country in terms of number of operational stations and revenue.
Though Radio Mirchi FM radio stations are located in diverse regions in India it’s been successful in attracting local audiences in each of these markets. This is largely due to a superior understanding of audience preferences, which enables it to provide content customized to the taste, language and culture of the local audience.
A track record of developing creative and innovative content or programming formats has helped Radio Mirchi expand and retain its audience and advertisers. For example, it has exclusively released the music for Hindi films such as ‘Hum Tum’, ‘Salaam Namaste’, ‘Mangal Pandey’ where it enjoyed exclusive rights for FM broadcasting of the music of these films for around two weeks.
“Our wide and national footprint enables our advertisers to reach the largest number of listeners among private operators in high income cities and adjoining areas. Not only did it win millions of listeners through its innovative programming and marketing initiatives, Radio Mirchi also won awards for its successful brand building,” A. P. Parigi , Managing Director and CEO , Radio Mirchi said.
The 1983 – Kismat Khol De’ Contest won the Gold medal for Best Activity generating Brand Loyalty at the Promotion Marketing Awards of Asia – 2004, and the Bronze medal for Best Activity generating Brand Awareness and Trial recruitment at the Promotion Marketing Awards of Asia – 2004.
Future plans also include exploring opportunities to become FM radio broadcasters or content providers in international markets at an appropriate time, either directly or through strategic partnerships or inorganic initiatives.